Briggait Market, Glasgow, until Sat 9 Feb; the Underbelly, Edinburgh, Tue 12—Sat 19 Feb
Grid Iron is a company that requires little introduction to Scottish theatre audiences. The acclaim heaped upon it over the last five years, through productions such as The Bloody Chamber, Gargantua and Decky Does A Bronco has brought rich rewards from the SAC and adoration from critics and audiences alike. Douglas Maxwell’s Decky marked a departure in that its simple narrational style was quite unlike the heightened sensuality and magic realism of previous shows. Ben Harrison, joint artistic director with Judith Docherty (a partnership that has lasted since their college days), says their latest show is a return to the earlier model.
‘lt’s really a return to our older style, somewhere between The Bloody Chamber and Gargantua, with a rather playful, joyously sexual story,’ he says. This account of a young woman who finds herself pregnant during a garbage strike in an unknown city and falls in love with a fire eater sounds very like the kind of sensual dream landscape the company likes to inhabit. Further on, the young woman develops an obsession with an old cheesemonger, while a refuse strike and a heatwave festers around them.
‘lt’s a very gentle sort of piece, because it’s what pregnancy is about, with all the subtle mood changes involved,’ says Harrison. ‘But it’s also quite sexual, which I think might present some challenges to an audience, since the idea of a pregnant woman feeling sexual desires is something we tend not to be comfortable with. We still have an element of confinement in our culture, where we want to lock pregnant women away until the child comes out; it’s a kind of Victorian constriction.’
Much of what Harrison says demands questions about gender roles. ‘The fire eater,
Serge, could be seen as an archetypal bastard with women, but the relationship between the two lovers makes it more complicated than that,’ he says. ‘She emerges with the baby, and a kind of autonomy; the man becomes almost irrelevant.’
As with much of Grid lron’s work, this adaptation of an obscure French novel by one
Angelica Jacob is full of psychological depth. ‘lt’s very striking in its dream sequences,’ says Harrison. ‘There’s that changeability, where you dream of your mum, but she’s also Hilary Clinton, of course.’
A background in psychoanalysis led me to terminate the interview quickly at this point. (Steve Cramer)
POPUl AP. 'l l>ll:Al HE. BOUNCERS
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Mon 11-Sat 16 Feb
No dogs, Irish or joy
Beings of phenomenal influence. Wllfl a sway of their huge. tattooed craniums. they can ruin your night or. wrth a glare and a buzz of the radio. save you from the dodgy bastard whose pint you've Just spilt. Guardian of the dance- floor. protector and nemesis. but if your names not down. you're not coming in. Award winning playwright John Godber Up 8 Under. 72>ec/iersi returns to Edinburgh with the ll‘élf3f3l‘.’(}f\,’ successful Bouncers. a dark comedy exploring the seedy strobe—lit territory of the blokes who really decide if you're going to pull tonight. ‘One reason I wrote Bouncers is because lit: a fairly big fella. but I was finding myself on the
58 THE LIST .Ja" ‘-'.iet.1/'",’ji"
receivrng end of even bigger fellas.’ says Godber. ‘If you're going down the Rit/y on a Friday. five pints and a chicken korn‘a and you want to go and dance to Abba remixes. the experience is always the same. You get all dolled up and these beefy guys decide whether or not you're gonna have a good night out.’
The play tells the story of a Saturday night through the eyes of four bouncers. exploring the danger and sheer frustration of the Job and the drama and chaos of the average punter going out on the piss. ‘You're eighteen stone. well-muscled and fit. on the door of this highly-charged sexual meat market while all the skirt inside dancing' says Godbei. ‘There's this frustration: l'rn a bouncer. but I want to be in there dancing Willi the women rather than stopping some pissed-up arsehole coming in.
‘The play taps into the primal instincts of not only the bouncers. but the people who go to the club. Everybody goes out on the hunt. There's a sense of wanderlust about going out. getting the girl, nine pints or a good hiding' tOlly Lassman)
EXPERIMENTAI DRAMA SLEEPERS
Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 7 & Fri 8 Feb
After a prolonged period of sleeplessness and sleep deprivation research. the acclaimed Nottingham based experimental theatre company. Reckless Sleepers. returns to Scotland as part of Tramway's Sleepless Night. The company members have deVIsed a theatrical response to their research period in Glasgow last summer when they rented out a flat. made Videos of each other snoo/ing. collated dream diaries and took part in all» night research periods where they took each others' temperatures and monitored therr
emotional status. They then took to the streets to watch the city fall asleep and slowly wake up.
The performance. S/eepers. takes place at 1 1.30pm but the show gets on the road at i'pm ‘.‘./|lfl installation. Visual art. dance. music. Video. film and animation. not to mention breakdancing. graffiti art and a mix of DJ performances and life diawrng cl; sses. Oh and some bedtime stories for the weary. How on earth could you contemplate sleep Wlifl all that going on? But. if you do feel the desire to head off to the land of nod. there's unlimited supplies of free filter coffee to keep you going. lliat's if you haven't had anything stronger. il)ayie Archibaldi