SAUCHIEHALL STREET 000 Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 24 -- Sun 28 Mar,
Like any small community, the Scottish theatre world is often a little self-protective, so the general fragility of egos that we might associate with an industry that requires so much self exposure is even more pronounced here than elsewhere. The remarkable achievement of lain Heggie’s new farce is that it addresses this sensitive issue with enough self-referential jokes to keep the in-crowd on their toes, but enough broader humour to amuse any audience. His satire is like those old vacuum cleaners, it beats as it sweeps as it cleans, but it also ultimately forgives its castigated characters, allowing for love and humanity in its vision.
In this, Heggie’s most arcth Ortonesque piece so far, we meet Dorothy (Jo Cameron Brown) a
theatrical agent in the twilight of her career, but still in possession of all the ruthless and rapacious charlatanism that such folk allegedly require. Her husband Gerard (Peter Kelly) is an actor past his glory days seeking solace in drink and the hyperbole of theatrical luwiedom. Enter a breathtakingly unworldly spinster Maureen (Linda Duncan McLaughlin) who’s ripe for exploitation as Dorothy’s new deputy, and a couple of ragingly egotistical and daft young acting school graduates Barry (Fraser C Sivewright) and Candice (Clare Yuille) and there’s scope for multiple dysfunctionality. There are
SIX BLACK CANDLES 0...
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 3 Apr
It's not that we don't hear working class accents on Scottish stages. We do. quite frequently. As long as the characters concerned are drug addicts. criminals. child abusers or prostitutes. middle class audiences are very comfortable With them. Real everyday lives are another matter. This is the beauty of Des Dillon's new play — at last the. if you will. simple compleXity of life is eVident. as well as a decidedly gothic touch here and there.
Caroline (Kathryn Howdeni has been left by her man (Gavin Kean) for a younger woman. and is set on revenge. Her five sisters (Gabriel Ouigley. Julie Duncanson. Jennifer Black. Wendy Seager and Gayanne Potteri are out to help. Folk myth is evoked. and because women police the patriarchy more strongly than men, it's the young lover, not the errant husband. who's singled out for a voodoo ritual \./ictimhood. Neither Mum
68 THE LIST '8 Mar 1 Apr POLL/-
(Anne Downiei nor a devoutly Irish Catholic Granny (Eileen McCallumi will stand in the way. Indeed they're out to help. but there's time for some fun at the expense of the local priest (Mark McDonnell) before the dark business of the night proceeds.
Mark Thomson's production in front of Becky Minto's cleverly sacrilegious council house set is sharp and beautifully paced. with some terrific physical business. and the performances. really. all ten of them. are grand. Duncanson's slapper with a heart of some baser element than gold is a treat. and her interactions with Ouigley's disaffected goth Wllfl white witch tendencies fairly si/xle. So too. McCallum's rough as a badger game old bird and McDonnell's naive and bullied priest do some superbly—timed double-taking between them. The bickering. badinage and support of a group of women together is wonderfully evoked. and so too are the paradoxes of secular and spiritual life in an impoverished. much put-upon community. Most of all though, it's a great laugh. (Steve Crameri
movies, productions of Macbeth in Alloa and radio voiceovers in the offing, as well as other competing agents, and as phones and faxes add production quite captures all the energy and to the confusion Heggie’s razor-sharp dialogue creates no shortage of farcical hysteria in front of struggle a little with Heggie’s complex dialogue, Kai Fischer’s office set.
The distinctive voice of Iain Heggie, his staccato dialogue and clear-sighted observation and malapropism-prone Maureen is nicely are very much in evidence here, once again demonstrating the talent of a writer Scotland should cherish. If he takes a trifle too long to spring his initial trap, the play winds up with some superb comic action, which questions
Questioning Scottish Theatre and identity
Scottish identity as much as Scottish theatre. All the same, I’m not sure that Matthew Lenton’s
pace inherent in the script. Some good actors
not quite capturing the elevated style it requires. Having said this, McLaughlin’s implausibly na'i've
naunced, and Yuill shines in the support role of the foul-mouthed young actress from nowhere. If there were some teething troubles at its premiere, I suspect that this production will bed down well. A good night out. (Steve Cramer)
MUSICAI llllAlftl' TUNNEL VISIONS co Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 25 & Fri 26 Mar
At the end of any long day there might be an urge in all of us to close the door and communicate with no one in the outside ‘.'.'()l'|(f ever again. This is perhaps why Cathie Boyd's production for Theatre Cryptic h; s so rnuch potential to fascinate.
An obscure true story. that of the brothers l.angle\ and l loinei‘ Cozlyer. is at the centre of this musical drama. In it. we see the latter days of this neurotically reclusive pair in a New York apartment of the 19103;. where an element of l".//iafever Happened to Habi' Jane has taken over their l(}:£tll()ltf3l‘.ll). Langley (Steven Beai'di calls himself an inventor. though his ideas are. to put it mildly not of his time. He's dedicated to caring for llovner. Alan ()ke. who. blind and crippled by arthritis. is trapped in a confined. darkei‘ed space. (ll‘(f doomed to endure his brother's experimental 'cure' for his condition of 100 oranges a week. The fate that awaits them in a residence piled nigl‘ with many tons of detritus seems inevitable from the first minutes.
Technically. this is an astonishineg accon‘iplisl‘ed iroductioit, from an opening moment in which the air is filled ‘.'.’lfl‘. the scent of oranges. through the skilled use of film projections showing the iat infested interioi of the aoaitnient in close up to Nick Smith and Cathie Boyd's ania/ing use of lights. Alétl‘ ()ke's tenor voice pounds out Adrian Osinond's libietto with ieal skil. and there are some good niusical contributions from Steve Moriis on ‘.'i()fl.'l and Robert lvleliing on piano. Yet somehow a story that should move us contprzﬂtc-rsv.el‘, fails to do so. The characters at the centre am not ieally f§llffl(ll(?ltl|\ developed to allow any real emotional connection with thei' appalling plight. l fish. and beautiful to look at. Tunnel Visions is nevertheless a little and, riioie about theatre. its tec‘iniuues and conventions than what we can. if oiin tentatively. call real life. vSteve (:Télllliﬂl
Seeing the tunnel at the end of the light