NEW DANCE TOUR
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Fri 29 & Sat 30 Oct, then touring *‘k‘k
Time Signatures is the title Scottish Dance Theatre has given to its latest tour, with a chance to see works created in three decades. The earliest piece is from Artistic Director Janet Smith’s first solo show back in 1974, a tiny morsel of intensity called Cranes In Their Nest, giving Suzannah West the chance to show her concentration and balancing skill. Interlock couldn't be more different, for this 19805 piece by Darshan Singh-Bhuller is fifteen minutes of sexy tangling by a man and woman to shimmering live sitar music. Ella Clarke and Errol White really get to grips with each other, combining their bodies into quirky limb poses with a soft yet erotic touch.
Sonata before time: Time Signatures
Janet Smith's Playfall, one of her best recent works, is back on this tour, with its gymnasium style set and children’s games. As in much of Smith’s work, there’s an undercurrent of something a little deeper here, as the title aptly contrasts the playfulness and the recurring theme of falling. There are moments of anguish and ambiguity amid the beauty of the Beethoven sonata, and the work manages to leave you thinking without it feeling heavy. Smith's new work Still also has elements of childlike play in it, but is a darker work with a less obvious message about the passage of time and family histories. While it’s good, to see Smith stretching her dancers with varied works in the repertoire, this one
,perhaps needs time to settle down into
a really memorable effort, and will surely benefit from time on tour. (Don Morris)
The Cosmonaut’s Last Message To The Woman He Once Loved In The
Former Soviet Union
Glasgow: Tron Theatre, until Sat 6 Nov ****
Worth a last message: Georgina Sowerby
The orbiting space traveller’s last signal of the title is one which seems to encapsulate the dilemma faced by all the characters of David Greig’s new play, for it is ultimately no signal at all, but rather an indication of our inability to make public, through the
impractical tool of words, our inner selves.
lrina Brown's production posits the ’when a butterfly flaps its wings in Selkirk there’s earthquakes in China’ scenario which we've all heard theorised by someone down the pub, but is no less credible for that. Through a complex and oblique succession of causal links, connections are made between two forgotten and woebegone space technicians and a group of people as diverse as a sexually obsessive Norwegian World Bank official, an Alzheimer's-ridden geriatric, and a crackerbarrel philosopher of a cafe owner, most of whom face crises of selfhood, and pursue world- explaining philosophies to compensate.
The strongest link to Greig himself is through Nastassia (Georgina Sowerby) the daughter of one of the cosmonauts, who speaks of an audition for Uncle Vanya. It is to the articulate, but existentially doomed characters of Chekov that Greig owes much of his strong elegiac comedy- drama. Here are characters who feel, and signal, but their messages, like those of the cosmonauts, are seldom heard, and then too often misunderstood. The performances are strong, particularly those of Sowerby and Alison Peebles, and although Greig’s dualising of roles for women into, quite literally in the former case, ‘damned whores and God’s police’, might lead to the accusation of sexism from a harsh judge, the play works beautifully, forgiving even its most monstrous characters. (Steve Cramer)
NEW PLAY PREVIEW Atomic City
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Wed 27 & Thu 28 Oct.
Written by Thurso playwright George Gunn for the Caithness-based Grey Coast Theatre company, Atomic City tackles a subject very close to home. Gunn explains his motivation for writing about a small northern town living in the shadow of a massive nuclear complex, saying: ’I wrote it from the heart because I am of that atomic generation that grew up in Atomic City, and this is our story.’
Set in the fictional Highland town of Bunillidh, the play explores the impact ‘ of living next door to a secretive and New deaf days: Siewaﬂ 90"" in threatening neighbour through the Ammk (“V hopes and fears of its residents. A school teacher, a nature warden, a local journalist, a spin doctor for the atomic authority and a woman grieving the death of her husband from leukaemia are characters struggling to cope with cultural, social and economic change. Conscious of not wanting to write an anti-Dounreay rant, as this would be ’far too easy’, Gunn instead has produced what he calls a 'lyrical, chronological ballad charting the history of the plant from the 505 right through to the present’.
A powerful new perspective on living in the north, Atomic City features a strong Scottish cast and live music performed and composed by north-east percussionist Davy Cattanach. (Catherine Bromley)
MODERN CLASSIC Waiting For Godot
Glasgow: Ramshorn Theatre, Tue 2-Sat 6 Nov. ,
A rendering of the plot of Samuel Beckett’s 20th century classic is redundant — and in any case impossible. The two main protagonists seem intent simply to wait for the enigmatic (and of course ultimately non-showing) figure of the title, although the entropic wasteland they inhabit is briefly invaded by a master and his abruptly vociferous slave. But what do we make of the encounter and the play? Like Vladimir and Estragon, audiences might have to wait until the grave for an answer.
‘It seems that Mr Beckett is simply trying to give us all the hump,‘ remarked one critic at its first British production, and perhaps he’s right. However, the play has returned to tease and vex the theatre-goer’s conscience ever since as regularly as any Shakespeare work. Often admired for its self-conscious theatricality and bleak humour, Waiting For Godot seems to offer any number of interpretations, but all are rendered contingent and unreliable by Beckett’s poetic language. Maybe it’s simply about our need to analyse and interpret art, mocking our paranoic pursuit of solutions. Claire Collins‘ new production looks set to continue the mystery. (Steve Cramer)
SOCIAL DRAMA The Scaldie Hoose
Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, until Sat 23 Oct ***
This engaging drama is narrated by Ezzy (Melanie Bradley), a teenage girl whose traveller family has found itself unable to endure the persecutions of life in a Scaldie (non-traveller) home, and fled their estate in favour of a return to their gypsy culture. Ezzy is followed by Charlie (Karen Kirk), a disaffected former neighbour who’s running away from home. Reluctantly accommodated for the night by Ezzy’s parents (John Paul Hurley and Sheree Miller), Charlie inadvertently brings more woe to a much put-upon family.
Robert Rae's adaptation of teenage traveller Evelyn Gilhaney’s story boasts Gordon Davidson’s gorgeous recreation of a traveller site, which surrounds the audience, seated appropriately on tree stumps, on three sides. There’s also some generally entertaining drama, song and storytelling. Audiences might well learn from the play’s accounts of gypsy culture and the repression it frequently faces. On the debit side, even given a necessarily didactic approach, there is a tendency to preachiness and repetition in the play’s delivery. However, strong performances from the four central actors, particularly Bradley and Kirk - each of whom sparkle with the warm blood of youth - make this a good night out. (Steve Cramer)
Traveling light: Melanie Bradley and Karen Kiri:
21 Oct—4 Nov 1999 THE "8185