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Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre until Sat 2 7 Feb a? W 73?

’They fuck you up your mum and dad, poet Philip Larkin once said. Although it’s a View generally endorsed during a remarkable evening of theatre at the Traverse, these three plays also offer more complex theories of relativity.

First up is Acts, written by Riccardo Galgani and directed by Yvette lvcheVitt Initially, the spirit of early Pinter is evoked, until it becomes apparent that the pauses, repetitions and failures in communication are not stylistic deVices, but actual representations of lives being lead. Russell Hunter and Una McLean manage to be both heartbreaking and unsympathetic as Jack and Marie, two people held together by duty, mutual dependency and (possibly) love. That much of this is conveyed by a reaction to a burnt piece of toast is a tribute to the economy of the writing and the skill of the actors. Liam Brennan IS equally impressive as the son returning home not to a fatted calf but to unwanted tea and blSCUIIS,

Linda McLean presents an even more uncomfortable Vision of parental gUidance in One Good Beating. Here, Hunter is the monstrous Robert, locked

Family misfortunes: Russell Hunter

in the garden shed by his vengeful offspring as punishment for the abuse he heaped upon them as children, It's a gripping scenario from which the cast and director Philip Howard wring every last drop of tensron. Brennan is again very good as the son crippled by inherent decency, while Jennifer Black's Elaine comes to realise that she is very much her father’s daughter

After the emotional intensity which goes before it, lain Crichton Smith's The Visitor seems an odd chOice as final play of the trilogy. Once more, performances and staging are fine, but the supernatural undercurrents of the piece sit ill at ease \‘Jlifl the domestic disputes we've Witnessed earlier Good as the play is, it lessens the psychological impact of the evening as a whole, (Rob Fraser)

BRECHTIAN COMEDY Mr Puntila and His Man Matti

Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre Wed 3—Sat 13 Mar -‘

A dilemma faces those who translate

for the Scottish stage, use Standard English or work With a Scots idiorn. Both options have pitfalls; further marginalise a 'minority' language or risk incomprehensibility. Peter Arnott's Scots version of Bertolt Brecht's 1941 comedy Mr Puntila And His Man Matti valiantly struggles With the latter, but it’s hard to fault the rhythm of the translation which develops the descnptive poetic richness inherent in

l Scots that lends itself to comedy

The idea itself is simple enough. Puntila (Kern Falconer) is a landlord who, when bevvied, is the most affable aristocrat y0u'll ever meet But when suffering his occaSional 'fits of sobriety' his chauffeur, Matti (Alexander West), can do nothing right Like all extremes, it makes for great comedy, Sober, Puntila laments low productiVity levels a result of over-copulation on the

Drunk nd his orderly: Puntilla at the Citizens

part of his staff lnebriated 'he's near g en0ugh a Commie' intent on sharing 3

out his wealth and marrying Matti off to his daughter Eva (Meg Fraser) Falconer develops the dual nature of Puntila’s character with an outstanding comic performance He is ably supported by an additional cast of

nine, not to mention the live piano '

accompaniment of Robert Pettigrew.

While Arnott may have been better

advrsed to pare down the original there’s not enough to sustain its two and a half-hours - there are occasiOns that are hilariously funny. it's a mark of

the strength of the production that by I the c0ncluding scenes the strangeness f

of the language subsides overcoming some of the initial barriers Dundee Rep's Director Hamish Glen and Arnoll

shOuld be congratulated for the 3

boldness of their effort (DaVid Archibald)

STAR RATINGS ,e e a s a: Unmissable e 1hr a # Very good e. it 2 Worth a shot 9 * Below average * You’ve been warned

reviews THEATRE

22 f'cbt‘uary - 2f) march 1999


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18 Feb-4 Mar 1999 TIIE UST 57