LIST.CO.UK/FESTIVAL PREVIEWS FESTIVAL THEATRE
TEACH ME Strange Town explores the unsexy side of sex UNMYTHABLE Temple Theatre tackle the Greek myths
‘It’s remarkable how unsexy sex can really be,’ says Steve Small, director of anti-erotic comedy Teach Me, which looks at what happens when boy meets girl, girl turns out to be woman, but sparks fly nonetheless. Departing from their traditionally dark exploration of coupledom, Strange Town Theatre Company takes a look at love, vulnerability and the age differences that are all the rage these days. But don’t expect some glamorous, Mrs Robinson style of love affair. ‘Teach Me seeks to remove the veneer of the image of the cougar and grind it into a realistic (ish) situation, in all its awkward glory,’ says Small. As audiences peek through the bedroom’s
proverbial keyhole to witness arguments, neuroses and the inevitable fall-out, many may find themselves reassured that, when it comes to first times, we aren’t as unique beneath the sheets as we’d like to believe. ‘It’s a perfect opportunity for escapism into a world we can all recognise,’ Small maintains, ‘a play for anyone who’s ever had a first time . . . or for anyone who’s still anxiously waiting for someone to teach them.’ (Kirstyn Smith) ■ Hill Street Theatre, 226 6522, 4–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 2.30pm, £9–£12 (£7–£10). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £5.
THE STATIC Quirky physical theatre superhero show
ThickSkin Theatre has a hard-earned reputation for developing new Scottish talent. The company returns to this year’s Fringe to showcase the skill of Glasgow-based playwright Davey Anderson before heading off on a UK tour. The Static is a coming- of-age tale of desire and young love, mixing text, movement and multi-media with four onstage actors. Describing the plot as ‘Spider-Man, but a bit more local’, Anderson says of the show, ‘It’s a piece of physical theatre – very visual and fast moving – which tells the story of a 15-year-old boy called Sparky. He develops this delusion that his thoughts are escaping out of his head, so he starts to wear massive head phones to keep everything inside. He’s a bit of a disruptive influence at school and gets taken to the doctor where he is diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin.’
Sparky’s thoughts become telekinetic and he has the age-old superhero choice of using those powers for good – winning over the girl he has fallen for – or seeking revenge on bullying classmates and teachers. (Lauren Mayberry) ■ Underbelly Cowgate, 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 20), 2.40pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.
Step aboard Jason’s Argo to begin an action- packed voyage through all the greatest Greek myths . . . with a twist! Temple Theatre employs a blend of clowning and epic storytelling to pack as many of the ancient tales into one hour as possible. ‘We’re really interested in looking at the myths, but retelling them in surprising ways,’ says cast member Paul O’Mahony. As well as catching up with Midas once his touch has faded, there’s also a unique take on the story of Troy. ‘We have three foot soldiers stuck inside the horse and one of them can’t get to grips with why they’re there.’ There’s also a sneaky look at heroes acting in less-than exemplary ways. Far from being kid-oriented, Unmythable engages audiences on a number of levels. ‘Jason is a young man who feels insecure and wants to prove himself as a man and hero. These myths say something about what it is to be human.’ (Kirstyn Smith) ■ Zoo, 662 6892, 5–27 Aug (not 15), 1.45pm, £10 (£7.50). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £5.
D O O W D A R B E M E A R G
MORNING Simon Stephens explores the awfulness of growing up
‘I realised recently that I’ve written an unusual amount of characters who are 17,’ says playwright Simon Stephens, whose new play Morning follows his previous works Punk Rock, Sea Wall and Herons in visiting the lives of teenagers. ‘It’s an age where people have the vitality of being on the cusp of their lives,’ he continues, ‘and there’s something charged about that – charged with desire and uncertainty, and a need to investigate themselves. That’s real meat and drink for a dramatist.’ Morning, a Lyric Hammersmith production which premieres this August in Edinburgh, is a
collaboration between Stephens, Lyric artistic director Sean Holmes and the Lyric Young Company, an uncompromising but darkly amusing reminder of the awfulness of growing up, inspired by the young actors’ discussions of their life and the 2010 murder of 15-year-old Welsh teenager Rebecca Aylward by her ex-boyfriend in a bet over a free breakfast. Stephens also cites his sometime collaborator, the German director Sebastian Nübling, whose ethos of working with a young amateur theatre company in Basel chimed with the writer. ‘I used to be a schoolteacher in a working class school in Dagenham,’ says Stephens, ‘and Herons and Punk Rock were informed by that experience. I think most 17-year-olds are incredibly moral, or at least they have a better idea of black and white moral certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. Morning is perhaps the most moral play I’ve written and also one of the darkest. It returns to the question of how young people find their sense of self, and their inability or their refusal or their horror in terms of understanding the world is really what sits up in the play.’ (David Pollock) ■ Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, 5–19 Aug, times vary, £18–£20 (£13–£15). Preview 4 Aug, £13 (£6).
2–9 Aug 2012 THE LIST 79
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