Glasgow: Clyde Auditorium, Sat 4 Dec * ** it k

The Pet Shop Boys' place in British pop history is a unique one: despite their massive mainstream success throughout the 805 and 905, they are also revered as expert purveyors of electronic pop with class. Vengaboys, Five, Steps? Notebooks out. Here begineth the lesson.

This is, by all accounts, a fairly sedate outing for the Pet Shop Boys; as close to a ‘proper gig' as they could get after the vivid, outlandish melodramas they have amazed and bemused audiences with in the past.

Taking the stage to the opening pulses of ’West End Girls’, Neil Tennant is resplendent in a Johnny Rotten frightwig and a full-length black mac, which is swiftly discarded to reveal a voluminous black and white striped ankle- length skirt, giving him the schizoid look of a punk rock Sunday School teacher

After a few songs, the excited mob overcome the formality of the airless venue, rising from their seats to crowd round the front of the stage. At one point, Tennant gets hauled off his feet after a feverish handshake from an overzealous

fan. Calm and demure as ever, he smiles apologetically at the audience, regains his composure and continues. Keyboards are bolstered by the addition of live percussion, a female backing vocalist and four burly backing vocalist-cum-dancers (one of whom is the spitting image of boxer Evander Holyfield). Iron sheeting, shaped not unlike a map of Scotland, provides the backdrop while a huge ramp sits across the length of the stage which Tennant and his singers march, skip and stride up and down at various points. Chris Lowe remains static and expressionless, breaking into a smile only once after persistent if friendly audience heckling. This is a gig, quite literally, of two halves. The first includes a reading of ‘What Have I Done To Deserve This?’ complete with projections of Dusty Springfield,

Let‘s play master and servant: Paul Whelan and Rebecca Caine in The Marriage 0f Figaro


The Marriage Of Figaro Glasguxsz Theatre Royal, Fri to Dec *‘k i it

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Animal magic: Pet Shop Boys

and ‘New York City Boy‘ replete with four sprightly sailor boys quite possibly straight from a Broadway musical. The second half welcomes the obligatory costume changes, more favourites and a slight change of pace. An acoustic guitar is an instrument rarely associated with these electro-boffins, but Tennant perches jauntily, a spangly Andy Williams if you will, and strums his way through a solo rendition of the spectacularly polysyllabic ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk' and the Latin-edged ‘Se A Vide F (That's The Way Life ls)’.

The show culminates in a rousing chorus of 'Go West' a suitably bombastic finish to a show which proves that the Pet Shop Boys are, most importantly, songs over spectacle. (Mark Robertson)

through the r'ec:tati.e dialogue

The pace is set before the ciiitaiii rises, as conductor Rayrrtorid leppurd takes the orchestra throth a light and punchy overture On stage, the rust also SliO.‘.’ trert‘ier‘.tlo:is confidence The leads gHQ the characters rounded human traits, their darker moii‘ierits of Jealousy balancing with the liorrrore- fue'led humour, ‘.-.hzle the supporting roles are coloixf'ui ,r pla,ed Ill rep theatre style Alice Coote, as horny page'oo,’ Cheru'uino, has a '.'.’()lr(lt:.’ltll '.oice and a clear talent for comic acting, g..eri the way she races laughs hen the plot calls for gill-{Jldy’lflg-l}()," to-dress-as-r‘irl

It's this emphasis on character, cozipled with some delightful singing and superb diction, that lifts this production abo:e its rather staid set Scottish Opera have added an extra bioble to the fizz of this special TQSII‘.‘€ season rAIan Morrison) Further performances at Theatre Royal, G/asg on Thu i6 8/ Sat 78 Dec and Thu 6 3 Sat 8 Jan, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh on Tue 27 8! Thu 23 Dec and Fri 14 a Sat 75 Jan.

reviews MUSIC


The Fairer Six

Edinburgh: Reid Concert Hall, Iiie 7 Dec.

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Baflboy Edinburgh: Cas Rock, Thu 9 Dec.

'lurirglit litilllrti,‘ lit.‘;2’.lllltC ltluil/tlrttl‘i indie label Bl'm’ irristtrgis putt"; V/llll lestt.e gills tn! tle tiiiriters and all ir..’til.'e.i at the ldl)cl ((lllgldl'llcllllig tl‘ or; a stir t essfn! set (ind ,ear, the t".t.‘lti.'l'j is a merry affair

itilrrirx,’ have only released one L.“ on SI so far (Hill ll.1.t‘ yet to dexeiop an tdeittt,’ ‘.'.l:i< ll is eiitirel‘; their O.‘.’II Although the; More < lever irrelodic tunes, they are still stror'rgl; influence-'1' by both Aral) Strap and Belle 8. Sebastian Ilo'.‘.'e;er, :t's their Aral) Strap-c-svtrie irrorinerits .‘xliich l)e'.t writes, the liuriil's 3;.in charm 'I Hate Scotfarid', .' its tape lint), ll‘l(_‘l01j;’ am; rrz'itter2i.r), is the ltlgltltgl‘it (at d 's‘ttui'irj‘, If sliglttl, familiar set.

In time, Bdlll;k.‘l'bll.1‘llddC.(_‘lUl)d sound which ones more to their own inventiveness than to the existing Scottish indie band template.

(Tim Abraharns)

STAR RATINGS l «but a at Unrnissable l i i it * it Very ood

t * i t Wort a shot I i t t Below average l I * You've b‘fiifififlfli‘ij

16 Dec 1999- 6 Jan ZOCOTHE “ST 51