Anne Lannan and Vicki Lidelle give controlled performances in a mechanistic piece


Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, until Sat IO Jun, then touring * it For so public a medium as theatre, the location of indiVidual experience is always difficult. This is the main obstacle to the success of Gravity which, through the script of Zinnie Harris and music of Marina Adamia, seeks to convey the experience of assooating music with an emotional event. Now, you might connect an Oasis number with bereavement, or a Cole Porter piece with an old lover, but whatever the experience, the link you make is unique. Being unique, it is unlikely to be evocative, or even interesting to other people, and it is other people to whom you must appeal in the theatre.

Harris’ script documents a succession of experiences among three characters, a young girl (Vicki Lidelle) and her


Glasgow: Theatre Royal until Sat IO Jun v: * t

Adam Cooper: 'Effortless Dreamboat'

A production's shortcomings are always more tolerable if the leading players deliver the goods. Robert North's Romeo And Juliet for Scottish Ballet benefits from smart casting. Adam Cooper’s Romeo is good box office. He’s a dreamboat whose danCing is deft and seemingly effortless. As a partner, he’s attentive , and ardent. But only a complete narcissistic plank would fail to be tender when handling Mia Johansson’s Juliet. The evening belongs to her, dancing as if she’s absorbed Shakespeare’s text into her body.

Johansson is small and deceptively

parents (Anne Lannan and Benno Plassman), ranging from the loss of a parent, through the loss of a job to the experience of love. Each vignette is mechanically followed by a piece of Adamia’s composition for strings, performed live by a trio of musicians. There’s a touch of the Janaceks about the admirable score, but whether we really link the mu5ic With the emotional states, or even care to, is a moot point. We’re left, though, With a splendid performance by Lidelle, who improves With each role she takes on, and some nice, controlled playing by the other two actors. In the end, there are several moments, both musically and textually, to admire, but Whether the whole amounts to the sum of its parts remains debatable. At the very least, some questions might be asked about the rather clockwork structure of the piece and, at most, the wisdom of the whole enterprise. (Steve Cramer)

soft, but at her core there’s a beautifully pliable strength. Her interpretation of North’s choreography (for ballet slippers, not toe shoes) renders Juliet’s transformation from privileged, carefree adolescent to mature adult eminently readable. Love- struck when she first claps eyes on Romeo, at their second encounter she exults in the condition. This is a girl capable of the most melting surrender.

North shows a solid understanding of the heady flights of young love. In the balcony scene, swooping runs lead to flings, swings and a walking on air. Brief, dizzy spins decelerate into a lingering revolving kiss. You can practically hear Johansson’s heart beating. She lends this accessible but hardly groundbreaking production a dramatic weight it otherwise lacks. It's not unwatchable, but it has a prosaic, hollow, middle-of-the-road quality that sometimes smacks of play-acting. The atmosphere of this middle-class, storybook Verona is too dirt-free and airless. Andrew Storer’s attractive, brightly-hued designs are based on the flattened perspective of Renaissance paintings. Unfortunately, the pastels and saturated colours wax monotonous.

North’s robust, lyrical modern-dance style is more serviceable than inspired, and often dwarfed by the score. Still, he rings in some inventive changes on a familiar story: a broadly merry travelling players scene, and a potion- induced nightmare for Juliet that slides neatly into one for Romeo.

(Donald Hutera)



Ricochet 4. f (at. Stirling: MacRobert, Fri 16 Jun then ‘V I!“- touring * it it

Founded a decade ago, this dancer-led company has persevered minus a resident choreographer. Instead, 5“"! Ricochet commissions new work. Its latest programme puts indiVidual k company members to the test Via five .t solos, each by a different

choreographer and all related to self-

exposure. Due to injury, only four were

presented for this performance at A5

London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in April. 3 ,

Making an unexpected foray into

dance, Improbable Theatre’s Phelim McDermott has Ben Wright anxiously Mind-bending, body-bending

ducking and diving to a clever cartoon soundtrack. Kooky, Spanish-born La Ribot literally objectifies Anna Williams, whose long, lean frame becomes the magnet for a collection of everyday items. Gary Carter’s Death Found David Waring explores the gender diVide With only a glittery dance belt and two stripper plumes for cover.

Only American Neil Greenberg’s Verbatim, cued to the urgent romanticism of the score for Hitchcock’s Vertigo, draws a blank. Here, Kate Gowar plays a self- mesmerised seductress locked in an impenetrable memory or dream state.

The evening concluded with Cut, the fourth piece Russell Maliphant has made for Ricochet. He’s rewarded With a beautiful ensemble performance of his finely- woven vocabulary of multi-level bends, folds, angular steps and twists.

(Donald Hutera)


Dundee Rep

Dundee: Dundee Rep, from Mon I9 Jun.

Dundee Summer Rep Season is ’probably the biggest repertory season outside of the RSC in the country’ according to artistic director Hamish Glen. The season incorporates the six pieces performed at Dundee Since September 1999, and illustrates, Glen says, the advantages of a permanent acting company. 'It’s the dynamic of actOrs working together over a prolonged‘ period,' he says. ’All the work we make we can now keep and show again.’

Glen is confident that Dundee Rep’s extensive programme of acting, musical and even acrobatic training Will prevent the CIaSSIC repertory problems of mis and type-casting. ’If you start to extend the skills and release the actor then you won’t get into stagnation,’ he says.

Nor is he concerned that the chorce of plays, including Cabaret and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, might pander too much to established popular taste. ’Contemporary work has done much better at the box office,’ he says. Lottery funding has allowed Dundee Rep to produce spectacular theatre as well as support new Scottish writing. John Byrne’s Co/quhoun And MacBryde was substantially rewritten especially for the Rep, and other commissions will appear in the coming year. Dundee’s cultural reVivaI looks set to continue. (Joe Millum)


Surf Aliens

Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Fri I6 Jun.

After years spent working behind the scenes, Dougie Wilson makes the transition from stage manager to playwright when the Traverse presents

a rehearsed reading of his first play

Surf Aliens. Like many struggling writers, Wilson has a few unfinished _ , is} rte-33'- drafts under his belt, but on this :.~- «e,- ' ‘1 ‘* arr»...

occasion it all ran smoothly. ’It started as l was driving along the coast road out of Aberdeen listening to the Beach Boys,’ he says. ’It was ironic because it was shitty weather, but something clicked and I had my first scene. It all flowed from there.’

Set on a beach in the North East coast of Scotland, Surf Aliens is a surrealist black comedy that focuses on a frustrated policeman’s investigation into a

’Foul language, nudity, surfing and golf'

bodiless murder. Part murder mystery, part romantic comedy, Wilson is currently E

whittling down the text, but he’s keen to maintain the essence of the original. ’It’s got foul language, nudity, surfing and golf. There’s a mysterious Jakey and there’s violence.’

With a title to match, it sounds more like a Hollywood action thriller than a one- act Scottish play, but Wilson is at pains to put our minds at rest. ’Don’t worry, it all becomes clear.’ (Davie Archibald)

8»—22 Jun 2000 "IE UST 71