Scottish theatre’s ’report card’ for I999 isn’t far off the one you’d give the new Parliament: the situation is better, but there’s still scope for improvement. The Edinburgh Festival set the tone on the ’international’ side: there was solid fare from that old reliable from Dublin, the Abbey, with The Wake, and a much improved production, /ndia Song, from Holland’s lvo Van Hove. The Fringe also produced a slightly higher yield of surprises than usual, with Nixon ’s Nixon, Howie The Rookie and Laodamia most splendid among them. The local year has been solid but unspectacular, with David Greig producing some good work, and Harry Gibson’s recent production of Irvine Welsh’s Filth at the Citizens’ a highlight. But all of these productions are by writers and companies already familiar to local audiences. It’s perhaps tragically symbolic that a spectacular, erratic new talent, Sarah Kane, should have been extinguished so suddenly early on in the year. The List Play of the Year: Nixon’s Nixon (Edinburgh Festival Fringe.)
In the running Gumboots (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), The Cosmonaut’s Last Message To The Woman He Once Loved /n The Former Soviet Union (Tron, Glasgow), Culberg Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty (Edinburgh International Festival)
Euro trance took over our clubs, our compilations and our nightmares; Ibiza took over our magazines, our TVs and our radios. We waited with baited breath for releases from Leftfield, Chemicals Brothers and Richie Hawtin - and were relieved when they were even better than we’d hoped for. In the Slam tent at T in the Park, we danced so hard the grass disappeared from beneath our feet. Later, homelands sent us back to Ingliston, where we worshipped Danny Tenaglia (and wondered where the hell Sasha had got to). Everyone in Edinburgh was gutted at the lack of decent venues, but the kids in Glasgow went mental at Bugged Out! without having to head south of the border. We laughed at people wearing Stetsons, we clutched Basement Jaxx to out bosom, and we didn’t really care where we would be for Hogmanay — because we’ll never be able to remember anyway.
In the running Surrender by Chemical Brothers, Play by Moby, Remedy by Basement Jaxx
In the running The Cuban Brothers, Richie Hawtin, Chemical Brothers
In the running Slam & Bugged Out! Present at QMU, Tribal Funktion at The Venue, Luver at Wilkie House
22 THE lIST l8 Nov—2 Dec 1999
These days, you’re not a comedian unless you have your own TV series. Whether it’s prime time Channel 4 or the graveyard slot on Paramount, stand-ups on the box can be counted by the dozen. Outwith the laughter overload that is Edinburgh in August, big-time stage comedy is somewhat harder to come by. One of the most positive aspects of 1999 is that the local scenes in Glasgow and Edinburgh are still providing punters with regular gigglefests; in fact The Stand now gives hecklers a chance to do their thing every night of the week. Al Murray’s moment finally came this year, as he scooped the Perrier at the fourth time of asking. Ross Noble, Ben ’n’ Arn’s Big Top, Ed Byrne, League Against Tedium, Johnny Vegas, Terry Alderton, Supergirly World and Omid Djalili all made strong impressions. And probably made the TV execs sit up and take notice.
The List Comedian of the Year Ed Byrne
In the running AI Murray, Johnny Vegas, Phil Kay