THEATRE review

CLASSIC Romeo And Juliet

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 18 Nov it Hayden Griffin’s spectacular reproduction of a bombed modern city, which might be the Lebanon, Sarajevo or Belgrade, is truly a sight to behold. Some of the performers get in its way. For Kenny Ireland's production never quite comes to terms with its location, making rather a forced link with Griffin's war-ravaged apartment blocks. There are also some uneven performances which undermine the physical spectacle of much of the production’s well-realised movement. Opening with a nicely choreographed war between rival youths, a kind of West Bank Story, the strong sense of dramatic tension is dissipated as we proceed. Gary Collins’ Romeo seems, in truth, a little out of his depth. He grins his way through like an

; adolescent Tony Blair, and is a little too

friendly for the fiery youth of the text. Thus when we see him slay Matthew Pigeon's bigger, more passionate

Gary Collins is ticked-off by Andy Gray

Tybalt, the fight looks a fix, a Don King promotion in the middle of a war zone. The young actor has potential though, and there are no doubt better performances ahead.

Kananu Kirimi's Juliet is stronger, conveying both emotional confusion and juvenile determination to her conflict with her family. As warm- blooded sexuality overcomes filial obligation, we see the character develop from child to near adult as the tragic denouement nears.

The supporting cast is also uneven. Andy Gray brings a gravity and realism to his Friar Lawrence, which captures a character doing his desperate best to keep the peace where common sense makes little impression in a situation of elevated hysteria. Carol Ann Crawford’s Nurse creates some astute comedy with nice timing, but there are unrestrained moments where engaging eccentricity veers into clinical insanity. In all, there are some fascinating ideas in this production, but too many uneven moments to fully realise them. (Steve Cramer)

CLASSIC Dance Of Death

Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 18 Nov at at it fir

We live in an age where marital disharmony is reported ubiquitously. Newspapers, telly, the news and movies are part of the show; we can't really escape other people's problems. At the turn of the century, though, this sort of thing was not so exposed. We might,

i on this basis, believe that some of the

power of Strindberg's original would be lost. Not a bit of it. Stewart Laing’s

production Simmers with a grim wit we

don't associate with the crazy old Swedish misogynist.

Part of its success is that it is egalitarian in its condemnation. It is generally misanthropic, rather than targeting only half the human race. Edgar (Tam Dean Burn) is a quintessential misery guts of an artillery officer, stationed on an island fortress, and stewmg over a lack of promotion. The only thing he resents more than his military standing is his wife Alice (Anne Marie Timoney), an equally appalling specimen. The two are understandably isolated by the rest of their community and amuse themselves by taking pot shots at each other of an evening. They seem happy with their disharmony until a relative, Kurt (Tristam Wymark) arrives to stay on the island. This affable sap of a divorcee soon becomes embroiled in their affairs, being used by Edgar and

70 THE lIST 2—16 Nov 2000


Would you marry him? Tam Dean Burn

Alice alternately to further increasingly nasty schemes against each other. Latterly, Strindberg introduces the younger generation, products of two unhappy marriages, and proves the old naturalist adage that nasty people produce a nasty gene pool.

The nasty humour is very much to the fore, with Burn and Timoney in particular excelling in malicious humour. The starkness of Laing's period set adds to the macabre atmosphere, while there’s some splendid supporting performances. Estelle Morgan is thoroughly believable as the young and blithely heartless daughter of Edgar and Alice, while Wymark's confused and eminently corruptible divorcee plays a wonderful shuttlecock between the warring parties. Albee's dysfunctional marriages are Sonny and Cher next to this one. (Steve Cramer)

; Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat

: Pinter, but it’s the unadvertised side- show Rough For Theatre 7 that grabs


inspires the ghoulish urge to recreate

j Following on from last season's Blood

. murderer Christie that'll put you off

DRAMA The Old Tune/Rough For Theatre 1

I8 Nov *tt .

No sooner is Cryptic Productions' Beckett Time festival over than the Citz steps in with a double helping of Samuel Beckett esoterica. The main attraction (The Old Tune) might make the missing link between Beckett and

Cruelty, dependency and comedy

the attention. The former is a slight 40-minute sketch in which two old-timers run into each

other. As the traffic roars around them, they get talking about their youth. The ;

point, made early on and merely reiterated, is that their memories conflict, the

past they long to hang onto is fragile, and they are neither comfortable in the i

present nor secure in the past.

In painting a class-conscious world of male vulnerability, it anticipates Pinter, but ' without that playwright's menace and drive. The certainty of rhythm that actors Patrick Hannaway and Derwent Watson find in Rough For Theatre 7 - absent in A the first piece suggests they feel the same way. Like a draft for Endgame, it’s a ? twenty-minute exchange between a blind man and a cripple, as much poetry as drama, occupying that distinctively apocalyptic Beckettian landscape of cruelty, ' dependency and comedy. And Giles Havergal's production is far richer than its brevity would suggest. (Mark Fisher)

Ten Rillington Place

Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 18 Nov * a: 1k sir

What is it about the Citz team that old murders and grisly true crimes? On The Thistle, this piece adapts

Ludovic Kennedy's account of the grim misdeeds of the necrophiliac

Christie In Love?

your tucker for some hours afterwards. Rupert Farley creates a character who, disturbingly, combines banality with evil,

5 while Steven Scott’s Evans, a man hanged for the murder of his wife and child, in

fact victims of Christie, plays up the pathos of his character while avoiding

sentimentality, a tough trick well brought off. A set which recreates the seedy . rooms and garden, complete with a carpet-wrapped corpse under the . f floorboards, adds still further to the queasy atmosphere. I Kenny Miller’s production deviates little from the 705 film, but there’s an added creepiness in the proximity of the actors and the ritualised, incantatory

performance style. Such is the paranoia created, that you can't help but wonder

what violent deviancies are concealed beneath the bland exteriors of fellow audience members. After the show, a colleague asked about a woman I'd '

recently been seen with and, getting the reply that she'd left town, gave me a look suggesting that the rozzers would have my floorboards up tomorrow. Strong

E stuff, but be warned, it’s all very icky. (Steve Cramer)

The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 10 & Sat 11

; another world. In Faultline Theatre Company’s new play, Clara, a lonely

too deep into a world she constructs out of a set of letters sent to a

NEW PLAY Dead Letters


Sealed letters are so tempting. Open them and you teeter voyeuristically on the edge of another relationship,

Post Office shift worker, gets herself

fictitious address.

Simultaneously set in a dead letter department of a Post Office and a cell in an unnamed institution, Dead Letters is more about inner sanctum than actual surroundings. While Clara begins to believe that the 'lost' letters are meant for

her, the letter-sender is corresponding with an imaginary friend of her own. In

, this way, the play is the collision of two separate fantasies.

Faultline's Megan Barker, who wrote Dead Letters, says the young company aims to bring new writing together with 'heightened sensual perception’. Dead Letters will bring in experimental language alongside visual effects and more unexpected 'touchy-feely’ elements. By bringing the audience into this kind of

world, she says, the play will consider whether 'fantasy is powerful enough to

compensate for physical touch'. Delusion: bad for your psyche or good for your soul? (Claire Mitchell)