POPULAR DRAMA COME ON FEEL THE NOISE
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until Sat 6 Oct .000
It’s tacky, it’s gross, the plot’s just an excuse for a lot of cheesiness, and the costumes are hideous. Yep, David Mark Thomson has got it just right for this thoroughly enjoyable piece of 705 nostalgia.
It helps if you get into the spirit of things, and the Brunton audience did so with verve; feather boas, tank tops and platforms were all on display in numbers. In all, it looked as if they were auditioning for the album cover of an LP called Now That’s What I Call Embarrassingly Resonant Of My Misplaced Childhood 6. He won’t thank me for telling you, but I even saw the normally rather dapper director at the bar in fluorescent green, with shades and a Marc Bolan wig on. After a brief lie down, I was able to continue.
Nostalgia isn’t history, but rather what we want the past to be in our own minds, and the mythic structure of the innocent 705 is wisely kept in place by this devised production. It tells the story of a group of wannabe pop stars in a town not entirely unlike Musselburgh itself. Bryan Sparkle (Jack McGowan) is the rather pompous, pettin tyrannical leader of said band, and the object of his
moor-RN Rt-VIVAt DISCO PIGS
Dundee Rep, Mon 15 & Thu 18—Sat 20 Oct.
The trrne seems right to revrve the play which estahlrshed Irish drarnatrst Enda Vi/alsh's reputation. After his Edrnhurgh Fringe hit With Ber/hound. Dundee Rep certainly looks the place to do rt. given the opportunities their repertory company system has given young actors. The entertarnrnent value of Walsh's piece on the rather violent rites of passage for two Cork teenagers who were horn on the same day in adjacent hospital heds. is undenrahle. Director Anna Newell catches the spirit of the piece: 'It's fast as fuck and twice as furious. But there's a real tenderness and poignancy ahout rt. Because these teenagers are really trying to find out where they're at. a lot of the violence people talk ahout is really going on inside
Although the play locates itself in an underclass world. Newell rnarntarns that its appeal rs hroader than its class diagnosis: ‘Whatever hackground you find yourself in.
desires is fellow budding muso Jackie (Claire Knight), a sweet wee thing who works at the local Woolies pick n’ mix.
She carries out a mild flirtation with Craig (John Kielty), a mysterious weegie with bouffant hair and the mandatory platforms. Looking on at all this is the dopey hippie Joseph (P.J. Henry), who’s not quite the full zen quid. They get up to all kinds of nonsense in the preparation of their first make or break (legs) gig at the local hard man’s wedding.
There’s a lot of those jokes that make you grin and groan simultaneously, and the numbers — from Sweet, to Bay City Rollers, to T Rex, to Rod Stewart and much more
Gorgeous schmaltz and embarrassing resonances
- just keep on coming. The innocence of the characters is rather touching, with Jackie’s naive hope that things will change when Mrs Thatcher is in power made more poignant by her incomprehension of her sudden unemployment. Indeed, the old bitch does make a kind of personal appearance to stop all the fun.
Strong performances and a sure touch with material make the show’s slight overlength acceptable, and I left the Brunton bewildered that a theatre that could produce both this gorgeous schmaltz and the intelligent and powerful Moving Objects could still be threatened with closure. (Steve Cramer)
IF I DIE 34 U WAKE
anyone who's experienced adolescence can recognise all
those pains and difficulties and incoherent drsaffectron.' So. this is a play to see if you've ever experienced violence or
had spots. (Steve Cramer)
W. '1” *‘
Fast as fuck and twice as furious
66 THE LIST .2 7”. ()4? 11%,?
Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, until Sat 13 Oct 0
Katrin Bryan and Nicol Hay: Troubled youf
Oh dear. Though hold in conception and generous of spirit. this )roductron hv Theatre \r‘v’orksho )'s mixed corn mm is
arduous in action and might easily he retitled /f / Should l/Vake Before You Dre.
Anu Kumar's script tells the story of a group of teenage suicides trouhled variously hy separating parents. prejudice against alternative sexuality. exam pressures and simple loneliness. But director lr'tohert Rae has over indulged the writer. whose text is in urgent need of cutting - and in to the point that the phrase '; ssrsted surcrde' comes rriapj)roprrately to mind. Not all the performances are particularly helrevahle. and the final speech hy an isolated girl talking herself into self destruction is so full of poetic ernetrc that I hogan to thinkl rnrght heat her to the punch.
There are a couple of upsrdes: the set and its use of hack projection is clever and there are good performances hy Katrrn Bryan as a girl nullio's ()llll(3 uncontused hy her gayness. hut perplexed hy the attitudes of those around ner. and Nico! tlay as a hoy rriuch pressurised hy his parents; out these aren't enoug'i to saxe the show. It's every parent's nightmare. teenage f3ll'(ll(l(? is a pretty awtul thought. too. ISteve ()r‘arnerr
MODERN Ht VlVAl INSIGNIFICANCE Cottier Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 10—Sat 13 Oct; then touring.
Funny, moving and cleverly philosophical
So. who's your favourite Spice Out? What do you think of the current state of Richard and Judy's relationship? How do you think Hohhie will tare without the hoo/e'? These days we're all hornharded with information ahout people we'll never meet. and take an unhealthy interest in personal predrcarnents we feel we understand. even though most of the rnforrnatron we receive ahout them is hased on pure speculation.
This phenomena has heen going on for some trrne now. and was very effectively contemplated hy terry Johnson in his early 80s play //rs/g/i/f/ca/rce. Here. he places Marilyn Monroe. Joe [)r Maggro. Senator .Joseph McCarthy and Alhert Einstein in a single New York hotel room. The interplay hetween them is hy degrees funny. rnovrng and cleverly philosophical.
Director Michael [mans of Rapture reflects wrth interest on this. and the nature of celehrrty. 'I was thinking ahout the cult of celehrrty. how people look for ideals in media figures. People aspire to he as heautrful. intelligent. or \.'\.rhate\.rer. as their heroes. But the reality is different so. for example. people have a glamorous picture of Marilyn Monroe. hut the reality in the play. where all kinds of personal stresses are revealed, is very drfferent.‘ let reality hite. (Steve ()rarnerl