bEALER'S' CHOICE Tron Theatre. Glasgow. until Sat 14 Jun 0000
A person who hates women is called a misogynist. A person who hates men is called a woman. The rediscovery of male identity after the 805 has spawned a fascination with the psychological nuances of masculinity, for so long something dismissed as being as simple as a disposable cigarette lighter. Patrick Marber stands alongside Mark Ravenhill, Anthony Neilson and, occasionally, David Greig as a writer fascinated, since the 905. by this theme. and this pleasing revival of his 1995 play demonstrates the point.
In it, we meet Stephen (Tam Dean Burn) a moderately successful restaurateur. with a staff made up of various laddish incompetents. Among them are Mugsy (Colin McCredie). a boisteroust overconfident imbecile. perennially dubbed a loser by fellow waiter Frankie (Steven Cartwright), a quietly confident young philanderer. Evil-tempered but likeable chef Sweeney (Paul Blair) has worries of his own, with the rare treat of a visit by his daughter tomorrow stacked up against tonight's poker game.
Attending this ritual event of alternate hostility and male bonding (the two are linked in the male psyche) is Stephen‘s son Carl (Tommy Mullins). another product of the divorce and dispossession that haunts the men of this play, and our society. He's a gambling addicted waster. whose relationship with a doting. ultimately emotionally impoverished father is based upon the clearing of his debts. Ash (Stewart Porter). his mentor and a professional gambler, is a sinister newcomer to the game.
Ash, Stephen and Sweeney all attest to what happens when sexist laws are drawn up: be careful
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Tramway. Glasgow. Thu 12—Sat 14 Jun
who you marry. for she's empowered to take away your children and simply have you pay for them for the rest of your life. Carl, Mugsy and Frankie attest to the other alternative - emotionally bankrupt wandering — displacing emotional commitment for a life of trivial dreaming and self-damage. Director Zinnie Harris grasps all this with such sensitivity that you‘d think she was a bloke. while Fiona Watt‘s design recreates a seedy restaurant and its backrooms nicely.
The cast are generally strong, with Blair cleverly
Trust, power and fraternity
geezerful in his weegie disaffection. Porter and Burn are magnificent. like a pair of acting master- wizards trying to outspell each other in the emotionally climactic closing scenes. It’s a slightly longer play than it needs to be. with a little too much setting up for its pay-off, but this is a minor consideration in a powerful. socially very relevant piece. Trust. power and the desperate need for fraternity is at the centre of this play, and of much of the modern male's make up. Stop pretending it‘s just misogyny. Go see. and learn. (Steve Cramer)
SHELL CONNECTIONS Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh. Tue 10—Sat 14 Jun
Totally over you
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