“a dance ensemble worthy of its national status" THE LIST

SOT. Scotland's principal contemporary dance company presents a richly diverse programme of distinctive. acclaimed works.

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6 - 28 September at 7.45pm

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84 THE LIST 19 See—3 Oct 2002


Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, until Thu 19 Sep, then touring. 00.

Some things are prettier from a distance. The Earth. for example. Up close. it's an ugly. unpleasant. fucked up place. But viewed from the moon. it seems positively utopian. It's a principal that applies to people. too. Patrick Marber‘s play. here in its Scottish premiere. Suggests that the most fulfilling relationships are those that maintain a certain distance. Get too close to someone. and . . . well. it ain't pretty.

Four ordinary people (Mark Coleman. Fiona Ormiston. Marc Oliver and Susan Worsfold) get entangled in a terrifying circuit of deceit. betrayal. and empty sex after a series of coincidences sets their individual orbits on collision c0urse. Marber's text is Mamet-like in its use of vicious. base language to explore the unpleasant characters beneath the surfaces of modern life. but Peter Mackie Burns's production seems to have bypassed entirely the dark. scabrous humour knotted into the abusive exchanges. Withom this


Closer, but no cigar

understanding of the text. the production feels about a million years too long. and grossly repetitive at times. There is an appropriate. if uncomfortable. emptiness to the production. though. It lacks a sense of real emotion. because these characters don't ultimately have any.

lt's unsettling. too. to think that Marber may be exactly right. Maybe relationships. like cars. should come with that friendly warning: keep your distance. (Gareth Davies)

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 24—Sat 28 Sep, then touring.

The issue of Britain's provision of refuge to asylum seekers is causing political ructions and making headlines as much now as 12 months ago. when John Retallack‘s drama received both a Herald Angel and a Fringe First at last year's festival. Now on a nationwide tour. the play's issues are is no less pertinent to audiences. ‘I haven't had to change the play at all. really.’ Retallack claims. ‘the only real change. I think. is that there is now a greater sympathy and understanding in this COLintry of the refugees' plight. They seem far less alien

than they did previously.‘

Charting the developing relationship forged between two 16-year-old girls. one a relocated Kosovan. the other a local girl from the town where the refugees have been placed. the play presents the social and political issues through the eyes of both the asylum seekers and the host community with whom they're forced to integrate. ‘The British have a kind of humanity to offer. I think. that other European countries haven't.‘ says Retallack. 'We have greater stretch- marks. I think. that makes it easier for us to accommodate people we recognise as needing help.‘ And as long as they're in the headlines. that help is still

needed. (Gareth Davies)



The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 27-Sat 28 Sep, then touring

Andrew Dallmeyer's Bafta award winner places 19th century writer Thomas de Ouincey in his seedy Grassmarket lodgings underneath a brothel. where he develops an unlikely but touching relationship with his simple (or not) Scots servant. Performed by Splinters Productions and likened to Trainspotting set 150 years ago. de Ouincey takes his new

Poppy culture

friend on a hallucinogenic journey of his drug-fuelled past where. as seen in his autobiographical Confessions of an English Opium Eater. much vividness is to be


But Trainspotting it is not and Confessions . . .

it is less. for Opium Eater is

concerned with the affinity that's to be found between two very different people. And it's this striking relationship that's kept the play alive on stage. screen and radio since its opening at the old Traverse in 1984. “De Ouincey happens to be the character. but it's not based on his novel'. says Dallmeyer before explaining the real fundaments of his work. ‘I put on a play at Theatre Workshop years ago. which anybody cOuld be part of. and this guy came along who was what you'd call simple. We spent a lot of time together and from that I got the idea of the intellectual and the tramp. a bit like Of Mice and Men: an innocuous pairing. but a relationship that's timeless'. (Mererid Williams)