PUNK MUSICAL Sheena Is A Punk
Glasgow: Pavilion Theatre, until Sat 7 Nov 4: e if
Bad piercings, an acre of peroxide and day-glo wigs — must we fling this filth at our pop kids? Judging by the reaction this production received on its opening night, yes.
It wasn't just members of the ’l was there in 78' brigade who were getting into it either — although there was a fair number of balding fathers mouthing along to 'God Save The Queen’. The show's plot is irrelevant; suffice to say the eponymous heroine does the chrysalis thing, transforming from dowdy shopgirl to grotty vixen in three queasy steps, finding true love and snakebite along the way.
But the dialogue is good, the performances are above par particularly from Barbara Rafferty as Sheena’s mum, and Gary MacCormack as a Johnny Rotten lookalike — and the songs are good enough to make you realise what all the fuss was about in the first place; even if, like most of the audience, you were barely born when pogo-ing was at its peak. As adrenaline shots go, this one is sharp and has enough muck on the needle to inject some punky scuzz into the placid pre- millennial era. (David MacNally)
Squealin' Like A Pig Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, until Sat 14 Nov e e var
Thirty-odd yo-yo-ing teenagers, some under the stipulated minimum age of fourteen, the audience for which this play was specifically written. Would it hit the spot?
Despite the youngest audience members' nervous giggles at references to sex and Violence, the Wide-eyed gum-chewers warmed instantaneously to cheery slag Shannon, her terminally fed-up, sixteen-year-old pal Chelsea and her long-suffering mum. The threesome end up in a tug of war between conscience and loyalty, guilt and responsibility, when a drunk Asian lad accidentally pukes on Chelsea’s boyfriend's Rockports and ends up in hospital with a coma and SO head-stitches.
Designer Alison lrwrn's imaginative use of multimedia perfectly complements this admirany performed tale of everyday Paki-bashing, in dialogue, verse and rap by Debbie lsnt.
Robert Rae's brave direction hasn't a whiff of worthiness about it. There is no comforting, clear-cut demarcation between good and bad guys Everyone is implicated, with the entire subject challengineg left open to debate.
(Gabe Stewart) % This show is accompanied by a small book of short stories cal/ed Written Without Prejudice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Glas(low: Theatre Royal, Tue 17—351 31 NOV iii" iv
Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is a colourful affair, to which John Retallack — in his last show as artistic director of Oxford Stage Company — adds a few fresh hues. Played on Niki Turner's bare white set wrth luscious costumes and accessories, Retallack's interpretation treats the play's heart literally as a dream -- a restorative sleep in which the tribulations of love can be unravelled
This central portion s dominated by Christopher Beck's magnificently athletic Puck and Nicholas Beveney's loveably ingenuous Bottom -- casts a frothy and entertaining spell, though playing the grand tiff between the four young lovers as knockabout farce robs it of some more searching undercurrents. The amiable mechanicals double as soothing fairies and as the band: their playing and the whole cast’s singing add a delightful dimension to the show.
But the framing structure, Wlih its courtly rituals and endless epilogues, is too mannered to draw the audience in. The verse is well spoken and the staging has some glorious moments, but there's a shortage of cohesion between its elements (Andrew Burnet)
Wannabe anarchy: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Admirable: Nicola Rowan and Lee Sulleyman in Squealin' Like A Pig
Athletic: Christopher Beck as Puck
68 THE llS‘l’ 5 -l<J Nov 1998
CONTEMPORARY DANCE . . . and nothing but the truth . ..
Touring is is e at
It sometimes seems that Mark Murphy wants it all: dance, theatre, film . . . But when the artistic director of V-TOL Dance Company gets it right, you're grateful for his greed, It creates a powerful, provocative performance and achieves two small miracles: it brings a new audience to dance and it makes them think.
Sure, there are times in the first ten minutes of this latest V-TOL show when it feels a bit like a bad nightclub trip, a haze of live and projected images In a wall of noise. Once it settles down, Murphy’s ability to create a compelling atmOSphere out of the most banal situations comes to the fore, and the skill of timing film with live action fixes you to your seat, It’s been suggested that this performance needs a 15 certificate, yet what is most disturbing about it is perhaps how ordinary it all feels as if any of us really could drift across the line into drastic dishonesty and Violence.
For all its exuberant physicality, Murphy's choreographic style can seem limited, but when it forms part of a vrsual feast such as this, it's effective in its minimalism. All thrashing arms and contorted peIVises one minute, it can suddenly shift into as sexy and seductive a duet as you'll see in contemporary dance
Glasgow's Christine Devaney as the wrfe is as always -- excellent, while
ROCK 'N' ROLL MUSICAL
The New Rocky Horror Show
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, until Sat 7 Richard O'Brien’s schlock musical is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and it shows The fanbase may start at ZO- ish, but it also includes nostalgic SO- year-olds Only a few audit-Mite- members turn out in fishnets and leather, but at least half of them are male Everyone who's splashed out on good seats can do the Time Warp With the best of them, they know when to call Brad an 'asshole' and Janet a ’sIut', when to leap to their feet and bizarrely exactly when to sit down Which is just as well, because you can't hear the cues I complained recently that a lot of Les .A/fiserab/es was unintelligible In Rocky Horror, that goes for almost every word Of course most people here already know the words; but if you don't you‘ll lose the plot about halfway
On the subject of losing the plot, Jason Donovan plays the central role of Frank N Etir'tei like a frisky tolt With a nosebagful of pharmaceuticals, throwing himself into its pi‘iapit excesses with abandon that suggests he no longer cares what people think about his sexuality In fact, he's a lot more in control than he looks, though he's not much of a team player, and his one-fingered put-down to hecklers gets a bit wearing
Karl Sullivan exudes a brooding uncertainty as the husband. Kieron Jecchinis as the narrating compere reels off the witty text with panache, involving the audience just enough to make them feel slightly uncomfortable. And the murder story? Oh, it's there all right, and so bewilderineg near the bone as to discourage you from giving it away to anyone who hasn’t seen the show. (Don Morris) at For tour dates, see page 74.
In for a long stretch: James Hewison
The supporting cast sing and dance well, even if you can't make out a dicky bird, and there are particularly good performances from Simona Morecroft as Janet and understudy Bekki Carpenter as Columbia; while Michael Cashman delights in campy nonsense as the Narrator, dining out on the abuse he traditionally receives from the audience.
What he can’t do is hold the story together, but no one much cares Ultimately, this performance is a ritual
and you doo’t go to church for the plot, do you? (Andrew Burnet)
Horny pony: Jason Donovan as Frank N. Furter
STAR RATINGS -- 2‘s Unmissable
-‘ - s“ Very good
a Worth a shot
Below average You've been warned