Skip to main content

Somersaults

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
James is a man who left Lewis for London, made a mint on computer games
and became a twenty-first century self-made metropolitan man. Now,
however, he’s in meltdown. Having quit his job, lost his wife and been
declared bankrupt, he attempts to get back to the roots he can barely
remember anymore. Old university chums found on Facebook don’t help.
James can’t even recall the Gaelic word for somersault, so does them
out instead, defining himself by an action where a long-neglected
language used to live.

This is the rich and complex tapestry behind Iain Finlay Macleod’s new
play for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Reveal season, set in a
square-shaped and shrouded sandpit where past and present
impressionistically rub up against each other as James tries to find
himself anew, even as a gimlet-eyed accountant sells off his assets.
Vicky Featherstone’s production lets loose a tantalising meditation on
the struggle to retain one’s language and identity in a modern world
where majority rules.

Advertised as a Platform Production – an awkward hybrid between a work
in progress and the finished article – it nevertheless looks more
complete and appears to have had more resources lavished on it than
most small-scale touring shows can muster And frankly, the play
deserves it, especially after Tony Kearney’s James has ripped down the
walls that hemmed him in, and the five actors sit among the audience
with the lights up. Addressing us directly in turn, the hard facts of
self-preservation hit home in an understated but powerfully direct
fashion. This lurch into direct address effectively splinters the
play’s form just as James has been torn in this oddly fascinating work.

The Herald, March 14th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …