PREVIEW NEW WORK IF THAT’S ALL THERE IS Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 23–Sat 27 Mar

If the maudlin humour and languid disenchantment of the Peggy Lee number ‘Is That All There Is?’ appeals to you, then this new piece, which riffs an entire tepid kind of romance from Lieber and Stoller’s song, should appeal. Inspector Sands’ debut Hysteria was a bleakly funny reflection on first dates. Here, the young company of performers has moved to the next stage. It opens, co-devisor Ben Lewis tells

us, with a couple preparing for a wedding, but all is not as it should be. ‘The guy is totally happy to be a conformist he’s happy with a conventional life,’ Lewis says. ‘He thinks in power point presentations, the woman worries if anything’s ever going to happen to her again, whether she’s ever going to feel anything again. She starts to be driven a bit insane she’s marrying someone intent on shutting down the possibility of anything exciting ever happening again. His reaction to her is more organisation and power point presentation, which only makes things worse.’

In part, Lewis explains, it’s not so

much a romcom as a social satire. ‘I’m not sure I’d call it a love story. A relationship story? But a lot of it is about organising a wedding, which is a huge task. Weddings are such a massive industry now. It’s an industry that quite consciously puts pressure on you about this being the happiest, best and the most special and important day of your whole life.’ So that’s all there is? (Steve Cramer)



PREVIEW CLASSIC THREE SISTERS Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 24–Sat 27 Mar Having found innovative new ways to serve up Brecht and Shakespeare to modern-day theatre goers, it stands to reason you’d cast around for another old guard figure to re-invent. So now, the formidable partnership of Filter theatre company and director Sean Holmes has taken on the great Russian playwright, Anton Chekhov and his tragi-comic Three Sisters.

playwrights have translated Chekhov’s work over the years, but it was Christopher Hampton’s 2004 version that appealed to Holmes. ‘What’s great about Christopher’s work is it’s very

simple and straightforward,’ says Holmes. ‘Because it would have felt odd for us to do a production that was experimental, for want of a better word, and use a translation that was doing the same thing. We wanted a version that was very true to Chekhov, so we could then take it in different directions.’

‘After The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Twelfth Night, Neither Hampton nor Filter and Holmes have tampered

we realised we’d begun to find a way of approaching classics that was still true to the spirit of the play, but presented in a way that was different or unexpected,’ says Holmes. ‘And Chekhov seemed the next step. He’s an extraordinary writer, and Three Sisters is an amazing play. Plus the way Filter work, with sound and music integral to the performance, really suits Chekhov as he was obsessed with sound.’ Sometimes witty, often poignant, Three Sisters is a fascinating study in dissatisfaction and the quest for happiness something perennially out of reach for the eponymous siblings. Originally written in 1900, numerous

massively with the location or setting just played around with it a little. The presence of an antique water- heating samovar on stage still sets the play in late 19th century Russia, yet it’s joined by an electric guitar and costumes hailing from a hundred years ago to present day. ‘I think sometimes locating a show very specifically in

its time can slightly constipate the thinking of everybody involved in putting it on,’ says Holmes. ‘But here there’s a freedom and attack in the acting which I’m very pleased with, that came from just saying everything is up for grabs.’ (Kelly Apter)

PREVIEW CLASSIC EURYDICE Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 17–Sat 20 Mar

The tale of lovelorn musician Orpheus and his efforts to bring back his wife Eurydice from the Underworld has fascinated artists for millennia and been immortalised in the poetry of Ovid, countless operas and operettas, and even a bawdy ballad by Nick Cave. While that song saw Eurydice get the best line and the last laugh, Sarah Ruhl’s play shifts the focus firmly onto the female character, introducing her fascination with words as a counterpart to her lover’s musical ear, as well as a new character in the shape of the young bride’s recently deceased father.

Ruhl’s Eurydice topples into a fantastical, surreally Wonderland-like Underworld on the day

of her wedding, after reading a letter from her father. The struggle here is not between Orpheus and the gods of the Underworld, but instead within Eurydice’s heart as she tries to preserve her love for her father without being crippled by grief over his death, and to square this with the deep love she feels for her new husband. Olivier Award-nominated director Bijan Sheibani is bringing this realigned tale of loss and

love to Edinburgh, heading up the same team who produced last year’s acclaimed The Brothers Size. ‘It has a similar heartbeat’, he says of the new production, ‘and both plays have been written in response to difficult personal experiences for the playwrights, so you’ve got a depth of experience in each piece that is just beautifully articulated.’ And for Ruhl, who wrote the play while grieving for her own father, it’s picking up a pen and turning pain into creativity that offers the only route to redemption for Eurydice. (Laura Ennor)

18 Mar–1 Apr 2010 THE LIST 83