MODERN BALLLI SCOTTISH BALLET: MIXED PROGRAMME
Theatre Royal, Glasgow; Wed 31 Mar-Sat 3 Apr; Edinburgh Festival Theatre,
Wed 14—Sat 17 Apr
Having enjoyed its own re-birth last year, Scottish Ballet is turning its attention to two more birthday celebrations. Were they still alive today, choreographers Peter Darrell and George Balanchine would be blowing out 75 and 100 candles respectively. Sadly, both men bid adieu to the dance world in the 19805, leaving behind ballet companies which they had grown from the foundation upwards. Today, Balanchine’s legacy lives on in the work of New York City Ballet, while Darrell’s plan to make Scottish Ballet a world-class company is being revitalised by new artistic director, Ashley Page.
Paying tribute to both men, Page has chosen popular works by Darrell and Balanchine to form part of Scottish Ballet’s spring Mixed Programme. Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments was originally performed in 1946 by the Ballet Society, a pre-cursor to New York City Ballet. Based on the medieval belief that all humans are made up of four different humours, the ballet explores what happens when they shift out of balance. Dressed in simple practise clothes, the dancers shift from gloomy to passionate to passive and finally to angry, with each section crafted in Balanchine’s bold, neo-classical style. Darrell’s Four Ruckert Songs premiered in 1978, when Scottish Ballet took the Mahler-inspired work on tour. A piece for 11 dancers, it centres on a disenchanted woman who is bored with her glamorous life, but eventually finds an inner peace.
Joining the birthday boys on what is set to be a dynamic five-piece bill is Stephen Petronio’s MiddIeSex Gorge. This hot and steamy work also featured in Scottish Ballet’s autumn Mixed Programme, but any dance that prompts venues to warn ‘MiddleSex Gorge features exposed male buttocks’ in their programme, has got to be worth a second viewing. Finally we have three works by Page himself: Acrid Avid Jam, the Aphex Twin-set duet which wowed crowds at the Peter Darrell Awards in 2003, Soft Underbelly and 32 Cryptograms, both of which Page created during his tenure with the Royal Ballet. (Kelly Apter)
A DOLL’S HOUSE
Perth Theatre, Thu 16-Sat 27 Mar, thentounng
The international reputation of Scotland's theatre babel is by now well established. Artistic director Graham McLaren's l)()ll(l\,' of bringing accessible. fresh and relevant versions of the classics; to Scottish ttli(ll(}ll(2(?§3 bore its fullest fruit nvith Li/ I ochhead's ‘.'(}l'53l()ll of i'/'7()(i'ezi in 2000. one of the most memorable productions of the year. featuring a standout performance from Maureen Beattie.
And there's; International promise to this production. too. ‘.'.’llll a place already booked for the show in laiwan. late in April. The story of Nora's discovery of truths; about marriage and relationships after an act of altruism toward her husband leads to blackmail and the whiff of coriuption may be familiar to you. but this; feminist cl; ssic of over a century ago still has much to say to contemporary audiences.
With Peter McAIIister directing. l'lebecca Rodgers; leading as Nora. and a cast including Peter D'Sou/a and Pauline Knowles. there are some stats/arts of babel's decade long
a distinguished lot they are. Presented in period. rather than '.'.’Illl the more characteristic babel update. the piece loo s set to bring out soiiie zery relevant questions ill the still ongoing gender war. (Steve Ciamerl
Page’s new programme
Never a doll moment
histoiy in place for this; pioduction. and
DOUBLE BILL TWO LIVES/TWO PLAYS
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 18 -Sat 20 Mar.
The funny thing about people is that everyone has; a secret. but often the thing that folks so carefully conceal is the most endearing and intriguing thing about them. It's something that the equally intriguing actress and writer Gowan Calder is keenly aware of.
An Audience With the Li/ard Lady tells the story of a little old lady from everysuburb with a secret past as the reptilian circus star of the title. Backstage at the Pussykat K/uh, explores the identity of a man whose secret goes back to the drag clubs of Berlin and the Nazi era. The storytelling techniques are fascinating. with associations that Calder hadn't intended. ‘There's a kind of magic realism there. and when people see them. they say "Ah. Angela Carter," but
LOVE LIKE SALT
Citizens‘ theatre, Glasgow, Wed 31 Mar -- Fri 2 Apr
Wasn't your first encounter with. say. Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet a pretty traumatic affair? So are there ways of allowing the work of the Bard to be less of a shock? Emily Gray thinks so. and the ongOing artistic director of TAG is signing off with a proiect geared towards allowing younger people and children an access to King Lear which “my might not otherwise
What’s their secret?
I hadn't read her when I wrote the plays. But there's a link between the two about people not being what they seem. There are also a couple of little plot lines and jokes you can pick up on if you‘re eagle-eyed.‘ says Calder.
Most of all though. y0u're in for a fascinating night of character study. ‘And remember. that little old lady that gets in your way might require a bit more caution than you think.‘ Calder warns us. (Steve Cramer)
Kid friendly Shakespeare
have. In concentrating on the bare narrative elements of the story. and allowing not one word of Shakespeare to enter into the text. she wants to allow children a freeplay with these elements. Gray looks set to produce a piece which can render Shakespeare accessible and relevant to young people.
‘We've had a lot of different suggestions from children of different age groups about the ending.‘ she says. ‘Does Cordelia take over the Kingdom. find herself another one. or what? We heard all sorts of versions. but what was fascinating was the way the children c0uld accept the Fool. without all the trouble we adults have with the character.‘ The outcome should be of interest. Gray reports a Smooth transition between herself and her replacement. Guy Hollands. yet should it have come to that? In listening to Gray's account of this intriguing project. the uncertainty over TAG's future. created by the Scottish Arts Council. seems grotesquely unjustified. (Steve Cramerl
THE HERO SHOW
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 1-Sat 3 Apr
It was over two decades ago that the Stranglers pronounced that there were ‘No More Heroes Any More'. but is it time to reassess? Well, that depends on the kind of heroes we want to idolise. really. In a culture of reality TV and disposable celebrity. is there a place for alternative kinds of hero. for surely the winners of Big Brother don't qualify.
The answer might lie in the latest Nicola McCartney script for East Glasgow Youth Theatre. Such high quality work for younger audiences as
Old heroes, new culture
Lifeboat. which toured with distinction last year. attests to her ability in this area. iust as; strongly as; Heritage did for older audiences. This piece posits the idea of a reality TV show geared towards getting young people away from their ‘couch potato' culture and out into the 'real world' of heroism and adventure. Whether this reality is; some kind of Marshal McLuhan nightmare remains; to be seen. as 400 cameras record. and two hosts comment on. a group of young people facing a mighty obstacle course on their way to winning 9500.000.
Is; this a nightmare Vision? Can there really be heroes in our culture? I think there can. Look up Emma Goldman on the net. kids. But come to th s show. too.
IS Mar 1 Apr 9004 THE LIST 67