Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, until Sat 25 Mar H: it With children, childbirth and childlessness recurring again and again in Liz Lochhead’s work, we might say that she's big on the issue issue. This programme, comprising a revival of her 1991 one-act play set in its own time and a second, shorter piece located in the aftermath of the Great War turns and turns-about childbirth once more. The first piece sees a woman slipping into an isolated middle age, left alone for long periods by her oil worker husband, and compensating with jealous gossip about her friends, neighbours and particularly, her abundantly fecund wee sister, who's up five-nil on the childbearing front, with another on the way as the play progresses. Her other crutch is her affluence, and the sad compulsive consumerism of the middling middle classes is satirised to good effect here. Her monologues are intercut with her husband's, as we see him on the intercity, en route to his Glasgow home, moving from clumsy drunken
Lager than life: Stewart Porter
flirtations to sullen confessions with the passengers opposite. A succession of subtly deployed symbols are used to denote the journey taken by both of them, as the narrative moves, much like a Mike Leigh comedy, from observant satire to something much darker.
The second play moves from consumerism to consumption, as the death by T8 of young Agnes’s man leaves her alone with a child to bring up. Her former lover, Rab, the brother of the boy's father, returns from the war having been given up for dead, and the play explores the possibilities of a delicate reconciliation between the two.
There are nice performances from Gayanne Potter and Stewart Porter as the troubled couples of each play, and Lochhead’s scripts juxtapose the symbolism invested in everyday objects with real craft. Though there are some longueurs in the first play, which one suspects led inevitably to a slight lack of development in the second, this amounts to a thoughtful and often moving night of theatre.
CLASSIC REVIVAL All My Sons
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Smouldering issues: John Buick
Dundee Rep’s production of Arthur Miller’s award-Winning melodrama is, in a word, flawless. From the outset, everything about this play oozes quality. From the beautifully intricate set design and costumes, recreating perfectly a picket-fenced middle- American suburbia, to the intensely emotional performances, it’s hard to imagine a more skilful adaptation.
Generally considered, along with the Pulitzer prize-winning Death of A Salesman, to be one of Miller’s most accomplished works, All My Sons is a cynical examination of the fragility of post-war family values and the dilemma of familial responsibility. The plot centres on wise-cracking businessman Joe Keller (John Buick), an aircraft manufacturer who is involved in an error of judgement with tragic consequences. The impact this has upon his family and neighbours and the repressive instincts of the close-knit community create a complex web of emotion which demands a combination of subtle interaction and energetic execution from the performers. This is a play about betrayal and guilt, in which an apparently wholesome family environment masks a plethora of secrets and frustrations.
The acting IS first rate, becoming increasingly dynamic as the play progresses, thanks to the versatility of Richard Baron's experienced and talented all-round cast. In particular, Burck's soulful portrayal of a despair- driven Joe must represent one of the finest performances of the year. This kind of production does, admittedly, have an advantage in the high quality of the original text, but even viewed purely as an exercise in theatre, this really is as good as it gets.
98 Ingram Street, Glasgow
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Show me the way to
the next whisky bar
Italy at the Ramshornl
24 & 25 March ad IL MAESTRO
The Italian Cultural Institute presents the Sabba Association of Pescara. A rare opportunity to see Luigi Antonelli's Italian Theatre of the Grotesque homage to the actor & theatre. Performed in Italian.
April 6 - 15 Pirandello's
Six Characters in Search of an Author A great and neglected classic of the 20th century. Performed in English
Tickets Mon/Tue £5/1.50 Wed/Sat 27/3 Book Brecht Cabaret & II Maestro direct from Ramshorn Theatre 0l4l - 552 3489
Advance Booking 6 Characters Ticket Centre 0141 - 287 5511
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i n by Dion Boucicault
10 March - 1 April (Tuesday — Saturday)
Tickets: £7 - £16 0131 248 4848
16—30 Mar 2000 THE UST 63