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Techno prisoners: The wired sisters from Macbeth
Stirling: MacRobert Arts Centre, Fri 12 & Sat 13 lvlay, then touring Described as ’Macbeth meets The Matrix', this production brings the Bard bang up-to-date, mirroring the increasingly popular yoof—culture approach taken in the massively successful cinematic adaptation of Romeo And Juliet. That, however, is where the comparison ends, because, despite some good performances from Scottish Youth Theatre’s undeniably promising cast, Macbeth fails to live up to its potential.
The main problem is that director Mary McCluskey has taken the Kevin and Perry approach in the most superficial way possible. Whereas Romeo And Juliet used a modern street gang environment to replace the originals classical context, McCluskey and gang seem to have used Top Shop. And that's about it. Fans of The Matrix please leave quietly.
There’s no attempt, ingenious or
otherwise, to adapt the play’s setting to any modern or even futuristic situation. Working from an edited- down version of the original play, SYT has preserved the essential text admirably, but has also opted to keep the historical context of the play unchanged, which makes the hardcore soundtrack and the small matter of the entire cast being kitted-out in clubbing gear seem bizarre.
Outside of the clobber, there's no hint of any substantial contemporary adaptation; even the battles are standard sword and wooden shield affairs, and the fact that the costumes for each character appear to have been chosen arbitrarily makes for confusing viewing. McCluskey’s production team seems to think that making Shakespeare more accessible to young people is a simple matter of combat trousers and techno music. There's more to youth culture than that, there’s more to Shakespeare, and there's certainly more to the talented young actors at SYT. (Olly Lassman)
NEW BALLET Scottish Ballet Shorts
Dancing through the music of time:
Robert North's Miniatures In choosing a triple-bill of shorts, Scottish Ballet has struck upon an access:bie format greatly suited to
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arrangenments for piano, ' , a bold new work of ti .phy from .zie company‘s artss' uxector, Robert North. Preiiiiererl during the Ballet’s spring season, the piece
70 THE LIST 11—25 May 2000
correspondingly evokes the fresh vitality of springtime in both the coloured costumes and the playful movement of the dancers. Unfortunately the juxtaposition of modern slapstick and more traditional steps succeeds too well in creating a childlike innocence, coming across more like Playaway meets Popeye The Sailor Man.
In sharp contrast, the world premiere of Turkish choreographer, Mehmet Balkan’s new ballet is full of delicate expression in the classical style. Where the previous short relied on the immediacy of colour and the impact of bold gestures, Frederick insists that the focus be on graceful, elegant movement. The dancers wear plain blue against the subtle turquoise backdrop and move to the strains of some of Frederick Chopin‘s most ravishing piano mu5ic.
After another short interval, the audience returns for a contemporary take on traditional Celtic folk motifs in Robert North’s Light Fandango. Two extracts from Mark O’Connor's traditional arrangements of American folk music and the lively Celtic rhythms of the popular Scottish band, Old Blind Dogs provrde the musical backdrop but, again the costumes have all the subtlety of a butch transvestite. In a barnstoririing pei'foririai’ice, akin to a Scotti Y 'rlinrie, this final short is a testamc .rersatilitv of the dancers and a dazzlhg and energetic finale to an evening of diverse entertainment. (Catherine Bromley)
"urge for Maltesers, she decides to
Sex And Chocolate
Perth: Perth Theatre, Wed 24 May. Cumbernauld: Cumbernauld Theatre, Thu 25 May.
it's the night before Jan's 50th birthday. She’s single and home alone as the kids have already flown the nest. To make matters worse it's only the Friday of the bank holiday weekend, the highlight of which will be defrosting the fridge. Following the
Biker Babe: bypass the local chippy and instead 58" and ChOCOMe- drive to Falkirk for her chocolate. This is the beginning of her life~changing adventure.
Written by award-winning writer Rona Munro and performed by Fiona Knowles, the duo have been working together under their production company title, The Msfits, for fifteen years. Describing their new play as Shirley Valentine meets The Girl From Uncle, this only goes some way to suggesting the wild exploits Jan is set to encounter on what she thought would be a quiet weekend. Liaisons with strange men on motorways, motorbike riding, casino gambling and all this before she leaves Scotland on a private jet bound for Spain.
Making wry observations on life above a certain age, Sex And Chocolate aims to make you realise that a little bit of what you fancy never did anyone any harm. (Catherine Bromley)
NEW WRITING The Monday Lizard
The Traverse Theatre's reputation for introducing audiences to new and interesting work reaches far beyond these shores. But the behind-the-scenes encouragement they show budding writers is less apparent. Workshops, playwrighting courses and a script-reading service form just part of their literary package. Most prominent of all however, is the long-running and consistently popular Monday Lizard. A monthly fixture in the Traverse Bar, the Lizard is free to attend and open to anyone wishing to contribute. May’s Lizard saw nine five—ten minute pieces performed by six talented and versatile actors who, despite the hindrance of scripts, microphones and limited rehearsal time, managed to do the new work justice. With the odd exception, the writing was all of a relatively high standard and despite all working to the same theme, (this month’s was ’Vibrations’) extremely diverse.
But quite apart from giving writers some much needed exposure, the Lizard is simply a really nice way to spend a Monday evening. Sandwiched between live music or DJs, each piece is well received by a friendly and supportive audience, and the informality of the setting gives the Lizard a relaxed quality not found inside a theatre. (Kelly Apter)
The next Monday Lizard takes place on Mon 5 Jun at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Phone Kate Nelson on 0737 228 3223 if you would like to contribute.
In Camera/The Shawl Glasgow: The Arches, until Sat 13 May.
Theatre Fusion’s double bill of short plays revolves around human relationships, and how we negotiate them through interpreting the people around us. Sartre’s In Camera places three diverse people in a room which appears to represent hell. Their conversation, says director Tom Gemmill, is a kind of torture. ‘All they've got to do, in the absence of any action, is talk to each other,’ he says. ’They’re trying to work out what’s going on in other people’s heads as well as their own but reality, as they see it, keeps shifting, so they suffer from not being able to draw any conclusions ’
This dilemma is reprised in David Mamet’s The Shawl, where a woman who has suffered a bereavement goes to see a medium to contact the departed. Is this man genuine? What of his shadowy assistant? Once again, we’re left in a world of unverifiable assertion. These are both plays which throw the implications of their action back at the audience. Expect to be challenged. (Steve Cramer)