Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 29 May-2 Jun .00

After a string of unrewarding

performances from one company or

choreographer, you anticipate the next with about as much delight as a visit to the dentist. I’ve yielded little joy from Scottish Ballet under Robert North’s direction. Imagine my surprise, then, at the (mild) pleasure to be derived from his Carmen, originally staged for a Hungarian troupe in 1997. Although it’s no ground-breaker or earth- shaker, the production is at least a creditable and credible modern dance version of an over-familiar tale.

North’s storytelling and staging are equally clear. Six wooden tables are ingeniously used to reconfigure the setting from factory to gypsy camp, barracks to bullring. The action, handsomely lit by George Thomson, is padded out into two acts. But, like Christopher Benstead’s original score for orchestra, voice and guitar, North’s

A Carmen that resists cliche

choreography resists Spanish cliche. The duets are expressive and the ensemble patterns well-judged, if repetitive.

Where this Carmen disappoints is in the more fundamental areas of temperature and characterisation. Too clean by half, it should be hotter and dirtier. Lorna Scott’s well-danced Carmen is a blank of amorality who could benefit from a crash course in femme fatalism. Ivan Dinev’s Don Jose is likewise a dramatic lightweight, minus the all-consuming hunger of sexual obsession. Why, you wonder, does this man knife this woman? Yes, she’s lured him into a life of crime. And she certainly grieves for a rival male, a dishy picador (Jesus Pastor, the real thing) gored by a bull in the second act. But maybe, for all we know, she gets a blade in her belly because she

forgot to iron Don Jose’s shirts.

The fatality in this too-streamlined performance is the absence of tragic weight. It’s a pity, because otherwise all the elements are there for a dance- going experience that really matters. Which is what Scottish Ballet sorely

needs. (Donald Hutera)

PHYSICAL l l ll_.Al Bl- UNDERWORLD MacRobert, Stirling, Thu 10 May, then touring 000.

It's not hard to see the appeal of the ghost story. The genre runs along such classical lines that the audience need only be told that there's an isolated house on a hill near a lunatic asylum and much of the work is tl()rt(> tlir()irg;li pr'econtlitioning about what should happen next. And in Nicola McCartney's script for Frantic Assembly. it mostly does. and very amusingly, too.

Georgina Lamb is an o'n—sonormal psychologist struggling to care for her troubled sister (Lydia Bakshl. This latter is the survivor of twins. her sibling having come to a partiCuIarly gruesome end. after the fashion of the genre. Sarah Beard. a slightly neurotic hippy type. and Marcia Pook. a tactless. voraCrous career girl are two friends of Georgina's who arrive for an ill-omened weekend visit. Add a screaming electronic soundtrack. endless hokey hOr'ror' film allus‘ions and the company's characteristic energetic phySical ticks and Jerks. and you've got yourself a

66 THE LIST 1042.: May 2001

Ghostly goings on in Nicola McCartney’s chiller

good night out.

Directors Steven l-loggett and Scott Graham find some nice hooks to hang the physical business on. wrth a gruesome. lengthy dance murder and a knowing reenactment of Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicolson's stairway sequence from The Shining particular highlights. Beyond that. there's OLllJa board sporting a closet full of charnel-house bits and bobs. and some high-athletic phySical busmess that made me feel as if my back was giving out in my seat. It not all the dialogue is perfectly delivered, no matter. for the atmosphere created is as creepy as a date wrth Robin Cook. Go play wrth them FOr ever. and ever. and ever. (Steve Crameri

T *i‘\.'.E;‘.'53 ‘B-‘x": CAN ‘E

RETINA DANCE COMPANY Traverse Theatre. Edinburgh, Fri 18 May.

Ear means are s .'1:;-.a:. The Spaniar’ls take .ir‘ 'tap the Utrth ha‘a- state T.i"\lr':l rafiare and oxer rh Bar-ram“. 2'». school early to tea Day. to .lance 'lhe tits .r'e '.er‘, 'rrac l a part

at societ. in Belgrarrn." says So

lilip Van Huttel. ‘(ln ‘\.‘.e.r'nesoa‘. and Saturday afternoons children go 1.» academies to learn :lra‘sang. music or and it's all paid for b‘. the government. It grues you a broad understanding of the arts, which is


“.t?l‘, good.’ Movement with meaning Consequently Belgium :s in

possession of one very healthy dance .'.t' tr‘. t ml» bothf

scene. including Retina who dixide lhe titlttaf‘r‘, make their l ttr'ilturah

their time between there and l ondon.

Van l-lulfel formed the company with

British dancer Sacha l ee in lilélf). with

debut sat" a master double bill, which comes stainrvd ‘.'.!lll a skull and crossborretr. Set to a thumping drum a vrew to combining both culture's 8. bass soundtrack /'r'\_' and (outrun choreographic styles.

'In Britain they have a ten. abstract. technical way of moxingf says Van llutfel. 'while in Lurope there is nrore theatricality -— we don’t Just do movement for movement's sake. there is more research into why we are moving in a particular way In Betina

explore thr- art at (ltll5}ttl‘vlll\l. both literal and social. And true to the Betrna ()llll<)§;ttl)ll‘,_ the rrrw.»-rireiit'é; fairly abstract, the lighting design}; theatrical and as for the research octopuses and mushrooms, obniously

iKe||\. Apteri

DANCE LINEDANCE FRENZY Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, Mon 14—30 May.

'lt's not officially cl; ssrfied as an illness yet. but there's no i\l1()l.'.’ll Nure.’ warnu [lagu Branch. No. he's not talking about a new epidemic s\.'.'eerr.rrg the :; tu'rtry nu. something far more serious: linedancing. Anybody who's t}‘.t:.' stood in line 'iands on hips. heels tapping. will know how horriny £l(l(ll(ll!‘.'f? llfl£tt lancing can be But despite losing his wife to the local club «She's a complete inedance junkze'r Glasgow taxi driver Branch found a new vocation as a result Yea“; as a linedancr- wrdowei lead to an interest in theatre and. ultimately. ‘.'.”llllltl. ‘I started z'xrztrng :w bits and bobs in the taxr between hires.’ explains the l red I lousego ol the drama world. ‘And I thought if I can do this successfully. I've got a tremendous irrarket to call upon.‘

Indeed he has. although with a self funded two week run at the Mitchell lheatr‘: imminent. Branch is hoping the dance fans wrll come out ll‘. force As a l)l{l‘y”.‘.’llllllt; newcomer and. shock horror. at taxr driver. Branch encountered nio'e than a few stumbling blocks along the way But thanks to a tenacious spirit. Branch's musical tale of two Glasgow men desperate to guash their wives lineuancing obsession. rs about to see the light of day. ‘I really believed in it and thought if nobody else will put it on. I'll do it rrryself.‘ IKeliy Apterr


JIVE! JIVE! JIVE! Cumbernauld Theatre, Thu 10—Sat 12 May, then touring .0.

Take Two productions is rocking its way around Scotland wrth its latest nostalgic piece of clap-a-long musical theatre. The plot centres on Elsie and Janice (Alyson Orr and Sandra McNeeleyl. two young women trying to break free from their maternal apron—strings and find love and adventure down at the local dancehall. Cue the numerous renditions of numbers made famous by Doris Day. Elvis. Bill Haley. etc.

But teenage dreams soon crash against the diverse realities of iriasculinity when the girls' encounters wrth the opposite sex leave them far from satisfied.

Irene Harris' set is effortlessly transformed from sitting room to cafe to dancehall. And Orr and McNeeley are rorned by Linda Duncan McLaughlin. Sandy Nelson and High Road's Jackie Farrell who all give thoroughly enjoyable performances in Stuart Thomas's generally pacy production. But it does flag a little towards the end when both the comedy and music are displaced by a clumsy plot.

Arm-tray, it may not be Dennis Potter. but who cares if you like the music? Ah. the good old poverty stricken. rock 'n' rolling 50s. Look out yer granny's old danCing shoes and take her along. she'll love it. lDavre Archibaldi

Not Dennis Potter but still enjoyable