Skip to main content

Anthony and Cleopatra

Oran Mor, Glasgow
4 stars
The all too brief summer season of abbreviated classics that have graced Oran Mor over the last month has shown how apparently difficult material can be presented in fresh ways yet remain faithful to the works’ complexities. Mary McCluskey’s hour-long version of one of Shakespeare’s most grown-up plays is a fitting finale, managing to convey with only three actors the contrary tale of love and war with fury, passion and, as befits any Kenny Miller production, bucket-loads of style. It’s also extremely sexy.

Opening with Andrew Clark’s Roman emperor and Lorna McDevitt’s Egyptian queen at either end of the catwalk that has been in place for all four shows, laying prostate between them is Candida Benson, who, as go-between, chorus, clown and narrator, must carry the bulk of the action. It’s a feat she achieves with winsome, barefoot abandon, as the lovers never quite resolve how to conquer nations as well as each other’s hearts.

Clark and McDevitt go at the text as if wielding a weapon, battering each other into submission before the monarchs’ inevitable demise. Not, though, before McDevitt’s catty queen has her ego massaged by hr minions. Sitting regally astride a transparent plastic chair that acts as Cleopatra’s throne prior to launching herself into the fray, McDevitt sports the sort of gown which seems to stay in place only by sheer pneumatic will-power.

If at times the action suffers simply because of unavoidable talkiness, the delivery from all parties is intense enough to carry things through to its bittersweet conclusion. When Cleopatra puts the asp to her breast, the poison is all hers.

Sponsored by Corona

The Herald, June 24th 2009

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…