PLEASURE AND PAIN Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Dec 0...
A lot of journalists will tell you that agony aunts tend to have the worst love lives imaginable. Like many that are willing to advise you on what to do with your emotional crises, they generally need to look to themselves. No surprises, then, that the Guy de Maupassant presented in this David Mark Thomson adaptation of a succession of his prolific number of short stories on love is popular with the ladies, but completely unable to formulate long-term relationships.
There’s a kind of O Henry’s Full House feel to the piece, as De Maupassant (John Kazek) introduces each tale and a little biographical material about himself as the evening proceeds. The tales are at first light, with stories about an older couple who rediscover the benefits of a good seeing-to through voyeurism and a young husband who finds his late, much lamented wife has accumulated a fortune in jewellery by mysterious means. Later, there are darker stories, such as that of an artist who discovers his love for his model only when she cripples herself attempting suicide and that of a woman who convinces her husband that he’s been
Café au lay
cuckolded to avoid having more children, thereby retaining her figure.
The stories sink deeper into depression and madness, and so does their narrator, as De Maupassant becomes subject to increasing delusions.
On a set by Will Fricker featuring much Victorian bric a brac, which comes literally unhinged as De Maupassant does the same metaphorically, we see a tremendous performance from Kazek. He dominates with a
measured pace, moving to a madness that alarms you even more through the close proximity of the spectacle in the Stalls Studio.
So too, Stephen Kavanagh and Lorna McDevitt show tremendous versatility in their succession of roles, the latter in particular impressing through an alternate sexiness and austerity. A powerful night of theatre, demonstrating a genuine textual sensitivity and a Pandora’s box of ideas in the director’s take. (Steve Cramer)
HISTORICAL [)HAtyM DAMN’D JACOBITE BITCHES Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Dec 0000
As the Italiar s say. ‘eyerything changes and nothing changes. \.*‘y’hen you hear of a play ab it '. a royal fan‘ly out of touch '.'.’|ilt tneu‘ subjects and capable of underhand ri‘eans of control. you might be forgzy'en for beliey ng that
‘s set today. Not so. though. Stiart Thon‘as' iefiection upon the post—3.13s life of four '.'.’omen y'xho'ye been lll‘.'()l‘.(}(l .'.’lllt the young pretender. and of the man ltiii‘self. strikes some pretty common themes.
Jenny Can‘eron -AniielV1ai‘ieTin‘ >ney has beer leg to Jacobitisn‘ by a religious tei‘your brought on by a traumatic ii‘arr:age. ‘.'.'llll(} Anne Macintosh iNicola Burnett Sll‘lilti has both money and sex. those two great prime ll‘.()‘.(}l'f; ot the bourgeois culture. as n‘otiye. Clementine \"y’alkinsi aw iRae H(}l‘.(ll'l(}v has a lone interest. ‘.'.'Illl(} Flora MacDonald ‘Vl‘.l(}ll Reid . the only figure not to disappear into obscurity. has the whiff of betrayal and regret about her'. Charlie (Stephen Scotti appears intermittently. and doesn't coyei hzmself in glory.
The play tells us little that is new about the prince. but doesn't set out to. \‘Jhat intrigues. as the ‘.'.'omei‘. bicker their way through the eyening on Anne Curtis .Jones' ciaborate dinner party set. is the examination of how [)()‘.‘.’(}l' is used through a patriarchal system by these \.‘.'on‘en_ Mary McCluskey 's production brings out splendid performances all round. and though there is the occasional stilted phrase in lhomas' script, it generally keeps up the inteiest nicely. iSteye Cran‘er.
He’s in poor elf
Bl./\CK(X)N1I by THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 14 Dec, then touring .0.
Anthony Neilson's con‘ic diatribe about the hypocrisies of the season has been performed many llll‘CS since its first appearance eight years ago. and will haye legs ll‘. it for as long as the appalling rituals of Yuletide continue in their current form,
Neilson posits the discoy'ei'y of an apparent ell iAlan Biyanti in the ‘.'~.'£ll'(}ll()llf;(} of dodgy businessman Gary vl)onald Munroi. He calls in pal Simon i'lhomas Cemmelli at an ungodly hour of Christii‘as Fye. With the elf securely tied. they speculate as to what to do with him, and ‘.‘.'ll(?lll(}l' or not he is the magical creature he claims. they 'i‘e interrupted by an overworked hooker, Cherry iAbigail Cemmelli who's in to claim a favour from Gary. a regulai customer as it happens. ()n the may. we'ie tieated to some expletive sprinkled i‘ey'elations. such as the fact that ely'es are in fact Junkies and that you can neyer enjoy Christmas again aftei you'y'e had sex.
There's a certain faith in the basic decency of humankind under Neilson's saidonic text. and a delight in satirical ()I)E3(}l‘.’(lll()ll that can't fail to zill‘llSO. Deborah Cannon Cai'n‘ichael's pioduction for Theatre l usion is competent. and keeps a nice eye on the pace. though not all the acting is of eyen duality. Cemmell. though. is liyely as the constantly sceptical Simon, who. along with each of the cha'actei‘s. has l(}\."(}|£lll()llf§ to make as the eyening
pioceeds. iSIey’e Cran‘ei‘i
He’s not so bonny here
CHRISTMAS TURKEY P@CKERS Ramshorn Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 14 Dec 0
Season of g‘joodywll be damned. I'm. not uncharitable. nor wholly heartless. nor. in my own opinion. am rotten to the core. the dewl incarnate or an embodiment of purest O\.’ll. But I cannot find many kind words to say about this pret‘luction. except to applaud the bravery of the six-strong cast whose genuine talents are sadly misused by y'xriter and director Joe Hancock.
Just pack it in
In the despatch room. of an internet-based mail-orr‘ler company dark forces stir beneath the festive tidings. and someone has been tampering with copies of The Sound of i‘ﬂusiic — The [Director 's Cut. There is a half-decent idea here and some — but not enough — funny lines impenetrany biibble-y'xrapped within these two hours of \erbal. physical and metaphorical fanny/ing around. But it's oyenyi‘itten. badly structured. poorly characterist-xl and ultimately doesn't make much sense or seiye much purpose.
The Traverse Theatre's ackiiowledged inyolyement in this production does ne:ther it nor Hancock any fayours. No one seems to haye offered him much adyice in the crafty art of playmaking. sol take it upon myself to offer Just three honest. sincere words. To quote Arthur Quiller Couch on y‘rriting: 'lvlurder your dailingsf Because if you don't. somebody else alyyay s ‘.'.'l|l. nCai‘eth Dayiesi
Km." THE LIST 71