Macrobert Arts Centre, Fri 13 Apr, then touring 0000.
There’s a touch of a much older Irish Protestant writer about Gary Mitchell’s account of divisions within the family of an RUC officer. For in the slow decline of the family into its own form of civil war, the compulsion to engage, destructively, and self-destructively, in the turmoil outside the house, and the general sense of the slow unfolding of social and personal tragedy, there are echoes of Sean O’Casey. The latter, of course, having Gaelicised his name from John Casey, wrote mainly Catholic characters, but the nearly-genteel lower middle class estate dwellers of Mitchell’s world reflect the dry humour and grim underlying conflicts of O’Casey’s Dublin tenement folk.
Our story, which takes place over the 12 July weekend, focuses on the visit of Johnny (Stuart Wilkinson), a Glasgow Protestant, to his Ulster cousins for a couple of days of their usual bizarre political/religious rites. Grandfather Sammy (Derek Lord) ails with a dicky ticker, but is still determined upon his usual Orange march, while Grandson Ricky (Aaron McCusker)
Stripped down dance: Recall
MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Fri 20 Apr, then
This ambitious. absorbing dance-theatre drama was seen in its earliest performance in London last December. Sober subject matter. including misogyny and domestic violence. is given soapy yet seriously sexy treatment. lt's put over with commitment and panache by a fine eight-strong ensemble and a creative team led by director. choreographer. designer and videographer Darshan Singh
The prinCipal setting is a Soho strip club circa 1972. the cue for a terrific compilation soundtrack. Our young. Anglo- Asian narrator hangs out with a wife-beating brute whose dutiful spouse dreams of a different. Bollyvvoodesoue life. Running parallel is the stOry of a stripper doing what she can to help out an ailing father doting on memories of his
Story development sometimes feels unfocused and padded. the voice-over text is banal and the ending reductively neat. But the piece. inventiver staged on a cunning platform set. creates a convincing, stylised world of its own. The choreography clearly expresses the characters' desires. The tacky, turned-on boredom of the club is especially palpable. The strippers' dances are eye- catching bouts of mechanical Iust~inducement Leggy. acrobatic Ninon. a bona fide Soho 'Pole Artist‘ originally
0.... Excellent 0... Good 0..
Prod action production: Kate Casey and Aaron McCusker
hints at more extreme forms of sectarianism than Sammy’s endorsement of peaceful marching. As Grandmother Shirley (Anne Downie) tries to act the matriarch granddaughter Lorraine (Kate Casey) gives Johnny the eye, a situation which causes all the trouble we expect with their first meeting.
At the arrival of Christopher (Rory Casey), the disaffected RUC man, living with parents and children after the failure of his marriage, and obliged to carry his handgun about with him for his own protection, the stage fills with black auguries. A combination of sexual, political and social tensions raise questions of identity and selfhood which cloud the lives of all concerned.
Running along conventional naturalistic lines, this is a play to remind us of the strengths of old forms well deployed. Minty Donald’s design, which surrounds the decrepit furniture of a lounge room set with the brick walls of a rat‘s maze estate, catches the causalities of political tension to perfection. Gavin Laird’s direction paces the piece well, allowing the distinctive voice within the script to speak for itself. The acting, too, is a treat, with Wilkinson‘s bemused Scottish outsider a highlight. This is a play that forces us to take up a position, in lieu of its characters’ lack of perspective, and challenges us to ponder the vagaries of a history-wracked culture.
LOVE AND MONEY
In this modern—day fairy-tale. Susie iFiona Knowlesl. a inirildle-aged divorcee running a small cafe. stumbles across her very own good fairy who dutifully grants her three Wishes. Not surprisineg it doesn't go exactly to plan as she finds that her potentially liberating new powers prove too much of a burden. Around a sparse set. Knowles. who also directs this one-vi/oman show. plays out the trials and
‘ tribulations which ensue as she tries to put some sparkle
into her otherWise dreary life.
But it all turns cut right in the end in this feeble new comedy by Rona Munro. which is both sentimental and
nostalgic. Fair enough if it makes audiences laugh. Unfortunately. Love And Monet“ suffers from a chronic
comedy by-pass which makes its 7:3 minute run seem way
too long. The technical hiccups and cor‘psing don't help either. Oh. and let hope Knowles has recently recovered from a cold. It not she'd be well advised to do something abOut her pitifully weak voice.
I'm not one of the 50-year-old women this show should appeal to. but even they must have been wishing the theatrical good fairies could rustle up something better than
this. iDaVie Archibaldi
from France. is no more striking than when removing her bra while hanging upside-down. (Donald Hutera'i
Fiona Knowles: ‘chronic comedy bypass’
Theatre Flawed 0 Poor
AKRAM KHAN Tramway, Glasgow. Tue 26—Thu 28 Apr.
an.) i‘i_>r*ori*‘et as tiae'tt .r‘ posterity-bran. trance as in the classical liitliait tititliticr‘ at kathak. (fails)! this xeal lie yum tuna Outstanding N:“.'.t‘i‘l‘lt‘7 .l‘.'..i'tt:; aria was nominated T\" a Sub.“ Bank firx
a'.'.air i. Pleximxs have tit-vii great and be}; touring like mad. llov. does he measure success? 'lt's great that people are recognising the work." he sa\,s. ‘But what excites me more is the curiosity of this language that I'm exploringf
This cveiiing of Khan's dances builds from five minutes la Channel ‘1 solo film) to a half-hour trio based on the freerfall experienced by pai'agliders. In between comes another solo. the small but sterling ‘l‘ix', set to a comm ssioned score by Nitin Sawhney. It was the latter piece t t; i helped put Khan. still in his rind—20s. on the map. But why dance? ‘Probably because I'm crap at everything else.' he says. ‘I come from an Asian background. My parents are quite liberal. but most expect you tr. be a doctor or an engineer or you're a failui'e.'
That's one thing Khan emphatically is not. s a performer he has a natural ability to render warm and Juicy what others might conduct as a dry. cool kinetic exercise. His choreography is based on a highly refined, yet intuitive. attraction of opposites. “I didn't make a conSCious deciSiori to put kathak and contemporary dance together,‘ he says. ‘l'm Just looking for a new vocabulary of movement that isn't contrived' iDonald Huteral
‘2—26 Ar; 2381 THE LIST 61