Being a member of Spymonkey sounds like a lot of fun. When the four-piece ensemble aren’t running around naked in front of thousands of people, parodying Christian pop bands, or generally playing silly whatsits for a living, they’re adapting great, dense works of literature into chaotic, colourful works of comedy. Their rather unique version of Moby Dick comes to the Traverse this month. And get this half of them didn’t even read the book. Well, we all know roughly what goes on, right?

No idea, it seems, is too mad or too

fanciful for these masters of physical comedy to incorporate into their shows: among the things that Toby Park (the sensible one) lists as their must-haves for Moby Dick are an ‘eccentric dance number’, for which they were tutored in the hornpipe by an elderly man and his wife who used to form a music hall double act, and ‘an underwater, Jacques Cousteau tribute’, complete with ‘day-glo tropical coral reef costumes’. And, of course, having read the book,

we’ll all want to know what Petra Massey, the company’s only female member, can have to do in the show (there being no female characters in the book). The answer, according to Park, is to try and worm her way in in any way she can, and that involves becoming the mermaid figurehead of the ship, who comes down from her post to sing ‘a musical number in the vein of Lily Allen, about the fact she can’t have babies. Because she’s a figurehead. Obviously.’ (Laura Ennor)



PREVIEW NEW PLAY CLUTTER KEEPS COMPANY Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 16–Sat 20 Feb, then touring

Davy Anderson’s oeuvre, which has been fairly prolific since the mid-2000s has shown a consistent impulse toward the social diagnostic. From his examination of alienation within a council flat, incorporating a commentary on our culture’s propensity to state and individual violence in Snuff, to his exploration of a disaffected, morally bankrupt middle class, and its consequences for immigrant communities in Rupture, his work has never strayed far from social commentary. But in his new piece, an international collaboration with mixed ability company Birds of Paradise, he’s going to the fairground. Clutter Keeps Company tells the story of a

downwardly mobile family in the early 1990s. In the wake of a father’s abandonment, the mother is working long hours at multiple jobs. Meanwhile, a young boy is left to his own devices in his room, while downstairs his teenage sister, and supposed babysitter is making clumsy attempts to enter the adult world. Neglect,

though, leads to adventure, as our lad heads surreptitiously for the fair that’s arrived in town.

‘It starts off in Motherwell, but it travels a long way from there,’ Anderson comments. ‘It’s partly a comment on Scotland today and it does that in part by travelling spatially around the country. There’s a kind of road movie element to it. They go west from Motherwell, but I don’t want to give away too much about where it ends.’

There’s still a kind of political engagement in the

journey that proceeds from there, but Anderson is also keen to stress the element of humour that unfolds in the play. ‘It’s very much a character piece as well, though, it’s in part about getting to know these characters and their world, and I hope it’ll have a sense of fun about it,’ Anderson says. ‘But it’s also a kind of argument piece, I want people to be arguing about what happened when they leave the theatre I want it to open a conversation. There is a background of materialism in the world of the play, and a lot of it is about how they react to a consumer culture.’ (Steve Cramer)

PREVIEW MODERN DANCE RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Thu 11–Sat 13 Feb; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 17–Fri 19 Feb

Some dance works make you think, some make you feel and some rip through you like a tornado, lifting your spirits and blasting away all cares. A Linha Curva (a curved line) is one such piece. Created by Israeli-born, Holland-based choreographer Itzik Galili, the work is one of the most joyful pieces of dance Rambert has ever performed, and the perfect closing number for the company’s Comedy of Change tour. The work started life in Brazil, performed by the Balét da Gdade de São Paolo a company Galili describes as ‘rich in sensuality’. But when it came to teaching the piece to the dancers at Rambert, Galili had his concerns.

‘I was worried at first that the dancers wouldn’t be able to move in the right way,’ he says. ‘But they proved me wrong big time. They were very fast at learning the movement and I didn’t have to re-invent any of it, so I was very, very happy.’ One of the most striking aspects of the piece is the lighting design, for which Galili is also responsible. Having spent nine days creating the choreography, he then took a further 25 days perfecting the lights.

Audience reaction to the piece in London was unprecedented, with screams the like of which Sadler’s Wells had never seen before. Presumably Galili likes his audience to have a good time? ‘What I really want is for them to have some kind of emotional journey,’ he says. ‘I like to create waves of energy. My works are very different but in this case it’s very entertaining, pleasurable and full of joy.’ (Kelly Apter)

4–18 Feb 2010 THE LIST 83