SCOT iiSll FRET/Him THE DANNY CROWE SHOW Dundee Rep, Wed 5 - Fri 21 Nov

Isn’t the world we live in every day bad enough? The dullness, the pain, the going on and on-ness of it? Apparently not, for in contemporary culture, we seek to replace our own boredom with the mundaneness of other people. The relentless, overpowering tedium of Big Brother showed us that we could find a new kind of vicariousness, not living through other people’s sexuality, money or lifestyle choices, but actually voyeuristically consuming other people’s drabness. Perhaps having learned this, confessional TV seems almost refreshing. The success of Jerry Springer: The Opera showed the way in which confessional TV, with its endless parade of dysfunctionals, the halt, lame and blind of the world of emotion, could be made into compelling satire. David Farr’s The Danny Crowe Show goes even further down this path, exploring some very nasty areas of the human psyche in its dark, farcical action. Director Graeme Maley might be known to you as director of Theatre of lmagination’s strong political satire, Brazil. This promising young Turk of Scottish theatre is making his directing debut at Dundee Rep with this dark and challenging piece. Maley feels that entertainment of this sort not only records, but creates the freakshow of neurosis we are exposed to with such programmes. ‘People actually become the “problems” that these shows expose us to,’ he says. ‘This play shows us the pressure people put themselves under to display themselves as even more dysfunctional than they are. In this way, it’s a very dark satire, very bleak, even though it’s still very

funny.’ (Steve Cramer)


THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE Edinburgh Festival Theatre until Sat 1 Nov, then touring 0000

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What do you think of it so far?

li‘ other ‘.'.'()"(l53. they get the best of hot" .'.'or;<ls. And. best of all. they bring on a §l(}"1.lll(3(1(3l(}I)!'ii‘l, guest sta". jllfSI like i" the ole days: O.” my night. it was a game A"tnea l'urne" who did a turn.

l’. at adds to the chaotzc sense of fun. .'.'."~ch :s aii‘piif.ed by the clean/hing skills of the actors. Hard to know ‘.'.rhat's changed 2". the tra'ts;t:on to this cast f!’().'Y‘ the onginai stars »~ Sean Foley and llanwsh McCoii- but apart fron‘ their l()t)-".'()itill‘(}. ltitll“‘.’(}l()(2lly attack. which can be a tau ()‘.'(}l‘I)(I‘£l.‘IlI(l. they do a great job keeping th s fl'!l)l)(}l'\, of a show in the air. iMa'k Fisher.


Citizens, Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 15 Nov 00

The Citi/ens' has a well-earned reputation for turning its studio spaces into atmospheric hothouses of theatrical creativity. It is a rare production at the Gorbals playhouse that doesn't quite pull it off.

Yet. even allowing for there being a ghost in the machine as well as on stage on the night I saw the play. it is hard to imagine Jon Pope's ambitious production in the Circle studio achieVing the consistently gothic tone it is aiming for.

On paper. Pope's adaptation of Angela Landon's sharp. dark and poetic translation of Pushkin's story must look like the- perfect hour of studio theatre. On stage. however. there are simply too many gear changes for the piece to cohere.

The young Gerii‘an soldier Ghermann ia n‘ :rely passable Mark Scott Melville. finus hin‘self taczng a choice between the SOOll‘lllgl‘, supernatural gaii‘bling

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Imogen Claire: Sinister and vicious

skills of the old countess Fyodotovna (rendered extraordinarily sinister and vicious by ln‘ogen Claire. and the love of her long—suffering attendant Li/aveta :a typically excellent Lorna McDevitti. However. there are other ()lCllYCIIIS which are Simply too inconsistent to sustain the :ntended atmosphere. Adrran Johnston's music. in particular. veers bet‘.'.ieen the effectively pren‘onitoiy and the implausibly nielor‘lran‘atic.

Mark Brown.

Cumbernauld Theatre, Sat 1 Nov, then touring

There's an intriguing premise at the centre of Tim Primrose's tale of private and public angst among contemporary teenagers. and some lively performances from the young cast of West Lothian Youth theatre. But despite some nice use of video projection. the play's trap shuts With a few too many creaks.

Ed (Michael Berryi is a lad with a few issues. His mum (Laura Stepheni spends her days strung out on prescription drugs and wine. while he has an older girlfriend iJosalin Lynchi who only appears at night. climbing through his bedroom window. The bullies at school make his life hell. and his mates are no help. Can the new girl. Amy iKeri Anielloi save him from a life occupied by insomnia and late night film noire Video watching? You betcha watusi she can. but not before a dense and paranoid nOire- style plot is unravelled.

There's both good writing and acting in places in Dale Corlett's production. but one wonders if the narrative isn't far too long in the telling. with too much repetition in character development along the way. But Berry's bexwldered youngster and Aniello's sweet young girl next door do make for some nice

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Tramway, Glasgow, until Sat 1 Nov 0..

We talk about the look of love. but what does that mean if you're blind and there's no looking to be done? That's the case in Herve Gtiilbert's cult French novel. adapted for the stage by Stewart Laing. It's is set in an institution for blind people where a newly married \.'-.ioman forms a passionate relationship With the resident masseur.

Quite why such an institution needs a masseur is only one of the peculiarities in a story in which normal codes of behaViour do not apply. From secret messages drawn in the sand to Vigorous trampoline sex. the central relationship is furtive. tactile. exciting and dangerous.

Laing heightens the sense of

Some disturbing twists

strangeness by employing a team of primarily blind actors whose ll‘i()\.’t}ll‘.(}lllS and manner of communicating are distinctly different to those of sighted peitoiiheis. It's not Just that one sense has been taken away. but that something else. that's

rather disturbing. has been added.

So far so intriguing, but this adaptation lacks theatricality. Mainly told through a narrator, it is more like an illustrated lecture than a pulsating drama and the littie pace that does build up is interrupted by the frequent blackouts between scenes. There's the core of something interesting here. but it's yet to fully make the

transition from the page. (Mark Fisheri