ARCHES THEATRE FESTIVAL 04
Arches, Glasgow, Tue 6-Sat 17 Apr
So where can you go in Scotland to see a fringe festival in April, for half the prices you’d expect to pay in August? Well, you might try the Arches. After several years some folk will be familiar with this annual event, which features a predominance of new work, with vital and quite experimental performances to the forefront.
This year, the Arches company itself is running with To the Moon, a devised piece by American director Dale Heinen, one of the winners of the Arches directors awards. This piece takes you precisely where it says, with the aid of magic realism and puppetry. There’s an element of fable about the whole thing, and it all looks rather fascinating. So too does the other Arches offering, directed by the other Arches award winner Kirstin McLean, A Secret Room. Here a plush old red velvet- clad cabaret venue becomes the centre for paranoia and theatrical adventure, in another devised piece, full of dark surrealism.
Two shows made famous by recent fringes, but for opposite reasons, are also in evidence. The magnificent Pandora 88, dedicated to the implausible duo of Stanley
Kubrick and Brian Keenan, is a superb piece of physical theatre by the highly acclaimed Fabrik, which, in combination with Scamp, presents this allegory about two figures trapped in close proximity. Alternately deeply moving and funny, it’s riveting stuff. Misterman, which was Enda Walsh’s follow up to Disco Pigs, was promoted with much ballyhoo in the 1999 fringe, only to be cancelled at the last minute by an illness which struck actor/performer Walsh. At last we get to see this story, which exposes
Frock till you drop: To the Moon
a dark underside to village life in rural Ireland.
There’s really too much to mention here, but Welsh dancer Eddie Kidd’s high energy take on Sam Fuller’s 50$ cult film about mental illness and psychiatric hospitals, Club Luz, should attract plenty of attention. The physical theatre piece, Torn, performed by Material also explores the theme of mental illness. Go see, it’s cheaper than the fringe, and in many ways, more adventurous.
DOCUMENTARY THEATRE THE TRIAL Room 1, STUC Centre, Glasgow, Fri 2 Apr
George Galloway met Saddam Hussein twice. So did Donald Rumsfeld. The latter. though. was busily engaged in selling the Iraqi dictator arms at the time. so I don't suppose we should trouble him about it. Galloway. on the other hand. was trying to avert a war. He was also alleged to have been on the take from Saddam. according to the Christian Selence Monitor. Trouble is. the documents proving this turned out to be pretty poor forgeries. The case against Galloway brought by a journalist called Blair (I'm not kiddingl working for that great organ of independent thought. The Daily Telegraph. are also now about to be brought under the scrutiny of experts. They appear to be from the same sOurce. though as the matter is sub jud/cae. I guess their reliability is something we can't comment on in print. Anyway. these stories seem to make a major contribution to Galloway's removal from the Labour (maybe we should spell it Labor these daysl Party last October. It seems that the prime minister will only act sWiftly on bullshit. like unreliable information on WMD or forged documents. Give him the truth and he's paralysed. All of which leads me to this piece of rather immediate newspaper theatre from 7:84. which echoes The C/‘ucib/e in the context of New Labour's. show trial before the removal of Galloway. This kind of theatre has been seen in London (or some years now, and it's about time we saw it here. Go. and laugh at the grotesque parade of modern politics. (Steve Cramer)
George Galloway: wronged campaigner
MODERN COMEDY THE KERRY MATCHMAKER Citizens‘ Theatre Tue 6—Sat 10 Apr, then touring
Una Mclean leads in The Kerry Matchmaker
John B Keane's comedy The Kerry Matchmaker is one of the most successful plays in the illustrious history of Iiish theatre. Set in rural Ireland in the 1950s. it follows the efforts of the eponymous would-be cupid. Dicky Mick Dicky O'Connor. as he attempts to pair up the lonely people of the local countryside.
The play has tapped into the Irish national psyche. The DVD of the film has sold 15.000 copies in the ceiintry. reaching number 12 in the best sellers' list. Yet the humour of this most Irish of dramas translates across borders. Edinburgh Festival and oft-Broadway runs have been hugely successful. The City Theatre. Dublin is so confident of the affection in which the piece is held in Scotland that it has booked it in for an eight theatre Caledonian tour. beginning in Glasgow. ending in Dundee. and taking in Perth, Inverness and Edinburgh. among others. on the way.
As it the attractions of the writer himself aren't enough (Keane also wrote the acclaimed play The Field). the superb Scottish cast should ensure full houses. Una McLean and Jimmy Chisholm will be creating more than 20 characters in what promises to be an evening of poignant and uproarious comedy. (Mark Brown)
THE STRAITS Tron, Glasgow, Wed 7- Sat 17 Apr
Anyone without a cannabis memOry will recall that adolescence can be a pretty traumatic affair. But if you add to this the trauma of growing up in a foreign land in a climate of war. you've got a recipe for psychological catastrophe. This is borne out by GregOry Burke‘s second play. The Straits. his follow up to the sensational Gagarin Way. This semi- autobiographical piece follows the fortunes of three young men and a girl through the Falklands War, as they sit out the hoopla and jingoism of that period on the island of Malta. where each has parents connected to the
services. Rivalries develop in the group. as each yOung man with ambitions to join the forces vies with the other in machismo. and with the locals over a school of octopus in the bay where they swim. It all ends in tears.
Burke's second piece after a sensational start was bound to be regarded in some quarters with disappointment when it premiered at last year's fringe. yet there are many beauties to the production. Old Traverse hand John Titany directed it superny for Paines Plough. and the contribution of Stephen Hoggen of Frantic Assembly fame added a real piquancy to the physical business. I‘ve had cause to wonder since I saw it whether my own overnight three star review was entirely just. but you've an opponunity to judge for yourself at the Tron. It's a moving kind of piece. and might be well worth the ticket.
1—15 Apr 2004 THE LIST 61