MELODRAMA The Shaughraun
Edinburgh: Royal Lyceum Theatre, until Sat 1 Apr 1: 1k i it
Crossing the cultural divide Katherine Igoe and Hugh lee
There was some initial unease from the first night audience of Dion Boucicault’s 19th century comedy, but as the evening progressed, there was a general warming to the sheer campery of the playing. Boucicault's harmlessly nonsensical plot has the dispossessed Claire Ffolliot (Katherine Igoe) living in a crumbling cottage on her former estate with Arte (Caroline Devlin), the fiance of her brother Robert (Tom McGovern). He’s been transported to Australia as a Fenian rebel as a result of
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NEW PLAY The Angels' Share
Touring it it amt In Chris Dolan's latest play, an anonymous Scottish island is the setting for a straightforward love story. But beneath the apparent simplicity, The Ange/5’ Share examines the fallibility of memory and our conflicting accounts of the past. Rosie (Lynn Edmonstone) is preparing to leave her father Edward (Lewis Howden) in search of a new life on the mainland. But before she goes, there are secrets about her background that must be revealed. To do so, Dolan makes clever use of flashback, so carefully crafted that, despite the temporal dislocation, past and present slip effortlessly together, highlighting the inter-connectedness of the two.
On Suzanne Field's entrancing copper
82 THE LIST 16—30 Mar 2000
Eilidh Fraser and Ross Dunsmore give fine performances in a subtle production
the trickery of Kinchela (Michael Mackenzie), the villainous rogue who now possesses the estate. Robert's return provokes a stir throughout the play’s County Sligo location, as Captain Molyneux (Hugh Lee) and the local Shaughraun, or poacher (Aidan Kelly), become involved in the project of righting past wrongs.
If the 19th century Liberalism of the play’s political ethics might stand little close observation, and its position on sexual politics is more than a tad shaky, no matter. Even the fact that far too much of the action is trapped downstage for the average modern audience should not stand in the way, for there’s a good deal of fun to be had, once you've leaped the barriers set by the play’s historical context.
Mackenzie acts the complete hiss-taker as the outrageous cur of a villain, revelling in the good natured jeering of the audience as one misdeed tops another. He may though, have been shaded on the night by some elaborate set pieces between lgoe and Lee as the culture-crossed lovers, creating a kind of music hall parody of Ryan’s Daughter in the delicate hilarity of their hesitant erotic minuet. Lee, in particular, times his double-takes to perfection, as he reprises the upper-class English twit seen in such previous Lyceum
productions as The Deep Blue Sea and Three Sisters, but to yet greater effect. Add to this an athletic and rather knowing performance by Kelly in the title role, and you've got yourself a night of good, green fun.
and blue set, wrth amber lighting and clear water cascading over a constantly changing backdrop, the narrative skips back nineteen years to when Edward, a mainland marketing manager, arrives on the island intent on modernising the local whisky distillery. In his quest for 'progress' he encounters ambivalence from the quirky traditionalist distillery owner (Jon Croft), a warm welcome from his future wife Mhairi (Eilidh Fraser) and open hostility from her lifelong friend Paraig (Ross Dunsmore). In the ensurng love triangle, R05ie eagerly looks on, desperate to find out the ‘real' truth of past events, the disclosurc of Much Will change things forever
Subtly directed by Leslie Finlay and with fine performances from Croft, Fraser and Howden, The Angels’ Share is not going to change the world, but is compelling throughout its 100- minute running time. (Davie Archibald)
Edinburgh: St Bride's Centre, Sat 18 Mar * it it
Tabula Rasa's debut performance, a multi-themed triple bill, is an example of the sensitivity that can be achieved without the benefit of elaborate production values and a large cast. Claire Pencak, with only two other dancers, succeeds in evoking an ambience that larger-scale productions often struggle to achieve.
As a sensory piece, combined with atmospheric scores (notably Kit Watson’s 'garden’-themed piece) and mood lighting that perfectly complements Pencak's aquatic, cycéic choreography, this is about as effective and memorable a debut as one could expect. Inspiration ranges from the curves and spirals of a wrought-iron gate, to Ted Hughes’ poetry, with obvious recurring themes throughout each composition.
It's a pity, then, that more effort couldn’t have been put into expanding upon these ideas. While Tabula Rasa‘s triple bill is a highly competent production, it is also conceptually hollow Pencak's style, perhaps unintentionally, is descriptive, with hand gestures and dancer interaction playing an important part in the performance, but the themes being explored are never clearly communicated to the audience. The result is a production at once impressive and alienating, but most importantly, one that establishes Tabula Rasa's potential as a force in modern dance. (Olly Lassrnan)
Claire Pentak puts Ted Hughes in motion
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Between The Lines
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Wed 24 Mar.
Under t e collective title Between The Lines, two controversial plays -- Kiss by Phyllis Nagy and Saved by Edward Bond - are to be performed by final year students of Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Butterfly Kiss, a play exploring the tortured psyche of a young woiiraii who shoots her mother, will be directed by Wendy Seaqer. Although COllllO'ilel‘g destructive urges indicative of a more general cultural malaise this play, as rinuch as it’s companion piece, Saved, is also about love and optiiiirsrrr Award-Winning writer and director Zrnny Harris will direct Edward Bond's shocking play ieiiownecl for its scene depicting a baby being stoned to death by a gang of young men Hugh Hodgart, the head of acting at the RSAMD, says that while Saved, originain performed in 1965, is as 'dark and honest as it’s ever been', what shocks us these days may be more complicated.
Although described as readings, the performances Will be relatively well developed. ‘We expect these plays to be fully and powerfully evoked,’ says Hodgart, adding that the challenging scripts provide an excellent opportunity tor students embarking on their professional careers (Catherine Broinley\
DEVISED PLAY Blackout
Stirling: MacRobert Arts Centre, Fri 17 Mmeee
There are grounds for complaint that there’s now too much of the self- conscrously meta-theatrical, naive dream-state storytelling which seemed so new a few years ago If such a complaint may be Justified, you can still appreCiate the quality of a good production along these lines. Blackout sets us off down a well-established genie path by telling us at the outset of this story of a yourg boy, born .n a HUI]- speCific war-torn country, who seeks out his parents, even to the extent of ,ornrrrg them in their grave.
We're told, ineVitany, that if another actor played the boy, the story would be different, but once the standard post-modern patter is out of the way, we’re treated to some nicely realised peri ..-airces and well created physical theatre lhe child S-peiapcti-vc 'tu‘c; t . -. .t ucrdrILL. .r‘. 't'l‘» from their graves, Is Deatitituiiy naircllett, wiiiie lite satirical representation at the two police officers who discover the body of the father adds an unusual political dimension to the performance If magic realism has these days lost some of its magic, and if Gridiron does this sort of thing with" tiette' 'l‘is wizwsw‘ts a worthwhile night of theatre. (Steve Crarneri
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