Skip to main content

Sweetness

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
3 stars
Once upon a time in the north, in a land that Jamie Oliver’s Healthy
Dinners forgot, two brothers are dying side by side, albeit in separate
houses where their estrangement festers. Archie has cancer, while
Murdo’s obesity suggests his heart might fail any second. Especially as
his endless sugar-rushing extends to spoon-feeding himself with pus
from his own sores. Into this war of attrition steps Kate, a writer
from the south on a tour of the land’s less populated arenas. Stranded
by the snow, she moves between the two men, hearing different versions
of a real-life epic involving dismembered cats, a lost doll, a wife
secretly shared and a lost child each claims as their own.

Adapted by Kevin MacNeil from Swedish writer Torgny Lindgren’s novel,
Hummelhonung, Sweetness is a piece of skewed post-modern story-telling
that revels in its own oddness. Matthew Zajac’s production for Dogstar
even puts Sean Hay in a humungous fat suit as Murdo lays prostrate and
immovable. Yet, where on the page each man’s vivid descriptions might
provoke a reader’s imagination, heard out loud they don’t always
captivate the way they should. This isn’t helped by unnecessary hiatus’
caused by the interminable wheeling back and forth of a partition
between Murdo and Zajac’s Archie.

Yet there’s something at the heart of such a wild piece of contemporary
folklore that says something about the ruthlessness of creation itself.
As Lynne Verrall’s Kate becomes nursemaid, confessor, therapist and
go-between, she also becomes the siblings’ life-saver, the St
Christopher she’s been writing about. By relating her own versions of
the truth to each, Kate finally gets her story, the maker of her own
mythology.

The Herald, March 7th 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 …