Skip to main content


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

The Herald, March 7th 2011



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…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…


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 …