REVIVAL Lovers Edinburgh: Royal Lyceum, i7 Sep—Z Oct.
The course of true love, we all know, never runs smooth, but when we get beyond this bardic cliche, everyone who has been in love knows the facts. Things don’t happen in our emotional lives when we want them to, and the world outside of the bond of love often demands so much that the pure emotion is tainted, and our feelings altered by the world around us. This stone cold fact is not lost upon Brian Friel, whose work has returned frequently to the idea of the transitary fragility of love. Nor has the power of his message been lost upon audiences at the Lyceum, who are, one senses, about to flock in numbers to another Friel drama.
’We’ve done two Friel plays in recent seasons, Dancing At Lughnasa and Translations,’ explains director Kenny Ireland. ’This isn't as complex a play as Translations, it's more like an early version of Dancing At Lughnasa. He used the same narration device in Lovers and developed it in Dancing.’ The story of this latest production centres on the nature of love through
Ireland's Ireland: Una Maclean and Russell Hunter in Lovers
shifting perspectives. There are, in effect, two one-act plays here. located in the troubled milieu of Northern Ireland, shortly before the outbreak of the current strife. In the first, Winners. a teenage couple are in love for the first time, with the prospect of marriage and a multitude of possible transitions before them. In the latter, Losers, a middle-aged couple reflect upon the risks, disappointments and compromises of love in later life. In effect, each play makes simultaneous commentary on the other.
Kenny Ireland stresses the need to create emotional authenticity: ’Friel said he didn't want the barriers of naturalism in the play. He emphasised the need to make a connection with the audience through the characters, who must be absolutely believable. We’ve created this postcard from Ireland as the set, with narrators commenting on and creating the action in black and white down one side. I think it’s quite stunning.‘ Adding to the sense of credibility is the choice of Russell Hunter and Una MacLean, one of Scotland’s premier showbiz couples, to play the older pair. Be prepared for a touching and thoughtful evening of theatre. (Steve Cramer)
Barker mad: Lorna MacDevitt in Books Of Blood
who will also direct, rejects the label ‘horror' as inappropriate to these stories. 'It‘s called fantasy,’ Pope specifies. ’People turn to it as a different way of expressing themselves. In many ways, though, Barker is a realist. The stories have to be told very carefully, if people are going to be taken on a journey to where they‘ve never been.’
The two journeys involved sound like they're of the one-way variety. ‘Jacqueline S, Her Will And Testament' tells of a woman who gains telekinetic powers after a near-death experience, while ’The Body Politic' gives an account of a man whose hands begin to take on a life of their own. Given the nature of Barker’s work, can we expect an unwelcome return of our tea at the performance? Well, this is very moral work, but it does examine individuals who have some pretty unpleasant things happening to them,’ says Pope. 'Gore does make an
Books Of Blood
Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre, 16 Sep—9 Oct,
The 'cultish following that Clive Barker’s work attracts seems to auger a
50 THE US! 9-23 Sep 1999
guaranteed audience for Jon Pope's new adaptation of two short stories from the series of gore-drenched narratives of the title. From these books, such films as Candyman and Rawhead Rex were adapted, but Pope,
appearance, but it’s not really like a Splatter movie. All the same, some people will find it healthily repulsive.’ Be sure you don't eat a kebab on the way to the theatre. You surely won't want one going home. (Steve Cramer)
REVISED CLASSIC Doctor Faustus
Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre, until Sat 11 Sep drink
For Enlightenment philosophers, the marriage of science and rational thought would inevitably usher in an unimaginable world of boundless possibilities. However, the progressive status of scientific enquiry has been increasingly problematised by countless horror stories throughout the 20th century.
In this radically updated version of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Anthrax, Thalidomide and the Neutron bomb are three of the 'seven deadly things' that writer Edwin Morgan invokes to remind the audience that the movement towards ’progress’ has been a far from one-sided affair. By drawing attention to the cost of such changes, Morgan shifts the emphasis in his central character from sensualism to intellectualism.
The play does contain Marlowe’s original story of deals with the devil, underpinned by the doctor's unquenchable thirst for knowledge. But Morgan’s contemporary language, alongside televisual images and the use of anachronism, forms a bridge between the 17th century and the present. Thus contemporary scientific and ethical questions, although never specifically mentioned, are placed firmly on the agenda.
Madeleine Miller's silver and gold, geometrically shaped set captures the scientific themes explored. And, as ever, Paul Sorely’s lighting design adds to the feel of the piece; at once, beautiful and atmospheric, yet seemingly so simple.
The original version has suffered, over the last hundred years, from a rather implausible and flat comic subplot which parallels the main narrative. While more could be made of the new comic scenes that Morgan has included, the cast of five ably act out this modern version of the myth. In particular, Ali de Souza's closing monologue - the condemned man clutching at the last possibility of breath as he awaits the inevitable arrival of Mephistopheles - completely pulls the audience into the perilous nature of his plight. Thoughtful stuff indeed. (Davie Archibald)
Vorspung durch sceptic: Dr Faustus