Suma wrestling

NE'W Wf )RK A DISTANT SUMA Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 3 April-Sun 6 April

Clown doctors have all the fun. Not only do they get the same respect as medical doctors, they get to wear red noses. And make hospitalised kids laugh.

I catch Clark Crystal on his way back from his clowning rounds. He’s running off to discover new colours in A Distant Suma, Lung Ha’s Theatre Company's new collaborative project. Written and directed by Crystal and Tim Licata and devised by the 27 members of the company, Lung Ha’s is for willing performers with learning disabilities. For 19 years they’ve been producing work all over Scotland; Crystal is the first artistic director on the job. ‘Lung l-la’s fuses people who have very little spoken word and people who like to talk’, he says. ‘Anyone who enjoys the environment and atmosphere Lung Ha's has created over the years is welcome.’

Suma is a fictional place in the past; a voiceless poet records the events of the village and the villagers speak his poetry. The villagers make silk, which is spun into ribbons of four colours and flown away by birds. But the poet catches glimpses of more than just four colours; a climb for unidentified glittering colours ensues. ‘The story supports the company's strengths as a group of performers’, he says. ‘There's no dialogue used. Instead the events unfold visually through poetry, movement, live music and song)

Originally composed and performed live by Anthea Haddow and Peter Vilk, A Distant Suma sounds super vibrant. A simple story perhaps, with delicate and intricate nuances, told by real people. ‘It ends happily,’ says Crystal. And a happy ending, right now, is definitely a good thing. (Megan Kennedy)



Club Ego, Edinburgh, Wed 2-Sun 6 Apr

Maybe tt's just my repressed Vrctorran sense of good wholesome entertarnrnent. but my lrps were {lawyer at the very mentrOn of a donkey show. How love to see anrmals dressed rn human garb. smokrng Crgars and playrng brllrar'ds. Donkeys don't seem the most Irker beasts to humanrse re the name of art. but as long as they dance well and play therr parts Wrth Srncerrty I'm happy to go along Wlllt rt. 80 rmagrne my drsappomtment when I'm teld that actually The Scott/sh Donkey Show rs a rermagrnrng of A MrdSumrher Nrght's Dream, set on the dancefl00r of a club. For the trrst all-Scottrsh productron of the 2000 Frrnge hrt. Glaxon Productrons are making two unusual productron chOrces. Frrstly. the show rs berng staged rn Club Ego. the last place rh Edrnburgh youd expect Shakespeare to flourrsh. And secondly. explarns company co-fOuhder Nomr Brrd. they ‘re usmg non-drama school trarned pertomters. ‘We set up Glaxon productrOns to stage orrgrnal shows On extremely low budgets. and to utrlrse actors and dancers wrth natural talents. people who are good performers. natural Show-offs. who haven't been

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through a formal system of theatrrcal education and trarnrng.'

But she explarns that thrs rsn't just Shakespeare rh a club, ‘lt's a show that great fun but whrch uses Shakespeare as a ,rumprng off pornt. It rsn't srmply about makrng the orrgrnal play access'bte. W rat lone rs takrng a elassc play and dorng somethrhg ohgrnal, somethrng totally ‘.'.'aCky wrth rt.‘ It's all set to a Studro Sd-rnsbrred sowtdtrack. so there's somethrhg fer the clubbrng generator and the errtrst theatre crowd alrke maybe the most drverse audrence mrx a theatre company COuId ask for No bad jokes ab0ut Shakrng yOur ass en the dancefloor though. please. Gareth Dayres

58 THE LIST 4‘.‘ Mar—7’3 Apr 2033

THE NUN Citizens' Theatre. Glasgow. until Sat 5 Apr COO

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Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 5 Apr 0.

In thrs Irrlogy of plays from Mormon playwrrght Nell LaBute. four people tell three stones. each of them a krnd of confessronal for horrrfrc acts that have taken place rn the recent past. But rather than face up to the full horror of therr cr'rmes. these characters frnd ways of justrfyrng therr behavrour. and rt rs thrs apparent defence of rndefensrble acts whrch makes LaBute's ~.'-./ork unpalatable for some.

A man lets hrs baby daughter suffocate to death; a young couple celebrate therr engagement wrth the murder of a gay man; a .voman electrocutes her rllegrtrmate son. These aren't pleasant stones. and desprte Aletta Collrns' classy. hrgh gualrty production, LaBuIe's wrrtrng falls to make the characters. strongly played by Mark Dexter and Andrea Lowe. sy'npathetrc.

Layrng on thrck swathes of Greek mythology or Brblrcal doctrrne doesn't brrng ab0ut an understandrng of these people. rt merer makes them shallower and less human berngs. Playrng on these characterrstrcs rs an rnterestrng dramatrc concert for a wrrter to use. but LaBute's wrrtrng has a lack of depth. renderrng the roles as overly-Srmplrstrc character studres of unpleasant. unforgrvable frgures. Wrthout gerng beyond therr unattractweness LaBute rs. arguably, condonrng therr acts. SOmetrmes. rt seems. the playwrrght rs the true vrllarn of the prece. lGareth Davresr

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Howden Park Arts Centre, Sat 5 Apr, then touring COO

There are drscussrons at the moment abdut makrng darts a ' ecognrsed competrtrye event at the next Olymprc Games But Ron Rose's play about a women's self-help group .-.«ho form a pub darts team to help them bond. makes no brd for Olymprc. Or even dramatrc Success.

Desprte rapturous press p:audrts. the play r8 8 weak, unrnsprred. and unrnsprrrng prece of work. Premrered by John Godber's Hull Truck Theatre Company last year. Rose rs clearly a Codber wannabe. dramatrsrng the exrstence of ‘grrtty'. “workrng—class' archetypes. but managrng rnstead to throw up more northern England clrches than I've had prckled eggs.

Wrth such meagre materral. Rapture Theatre. under Mrchael Emans' very able drrectron. was always gomg to have a hard job. The four .uomen rn the cast struggle n‘anfully wrth the text as they play Out the women's trrals and trrbulatrons. on and off the oche. wth Marranne P Murr as the eldest. most worldly-wrse of the group standrng out as by far the strongest performer. Adam P Tompkrns' shameless hammrng rn all the mrnOr male roles rs erther very entertarnrng or farntly embarrassmg. dependrng on your vrewpornt. Fun on rts own terms. but mrsses the bullseye more often than rt hrts. lGareth Davres;

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