Skip to main content

The Chooky Brae

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
There’s an inherent bleakness coursing through the final part of D.C. Jackson’s small-town Ayrshire-set rites of passage trilogy, given an appositely bright production by director Kenny Miller for Borderline Theatre Company. It could be something to do with its living room, Christmas Day setting, where twenty-something stoner Barry and his single mum wee sister Norma are making the best of things. Or perhaps it’s the uneasy humour mined from their wheelchair-bound father, whose facilities have apparently been rendered immobile by a stroke. Either way, beyond Jackson’s facility for deadly one-liners involving fun-size cabbages and priceless verbal riffs on circus monkeys, this isn’t totally the knockabout sit-com fans of the trilogy’s previous two plays, The Wall and The Ducky, might expect.

Because, as Jackson ties up the loose ends to his saga, there’s a sad acceptance of Barry, Norma and her possible true love Rab’s growing pains that resemble Alan Ayckbourn if he’d been decamped to a Scottish new town and force-fed ancient variety gags. It’s a place where grown-ups stay together because they have to and privacy can only be found through a trip to the lavvy, as absurdity piles on absurdity in a calamity of burnt offerings and botched walk-outs.

It remains unapologetically prime time fare, however, as Jackson gets his gallery-pleasing TV in-jokes out the way early on, only to return to full-pelt scatologically potty-mouthed gold in the play’s final third. If some of the action still needs sharpening at the start of this long tour, the deadpan comic interplay between Sally Reid’s guilelessly straight-talking Norma and Jordan Young’s flint-eyed Rab possesses an intermittently hilarious chemistry that makes them a double act to cherish.

The Herald, September 9th 2010

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…