Skip to main content

Arches Live 2008

The Arches, Glasgow
Dark entries are second nature to Arches Live. This is particularly the case with Cria (4 stars), in which fantasy becomes a creative force against the spirit of a dead dictator which hangs over the lives of the three women who line up before a coffin at the front of the stage as heavily as the picture frame behind. The shadow of the general who dominates their lives – daughters, mother, housekeeper and lover – is the elephant in the room who walks over everyone. Unless, that is, it was daughter Ana, who’s already suffered the early demise of her mother, who killed him.

This latest collaboration between playwright Megan Barker and director Neil Doherty, whose last work, Pit, caused a minor stir, is their most accomplished to date. Inspired by Carlos Saura’s film, Cria Cuervos (Raise Ravens), which appeared in 1976, this devised production is an increasingly mesmeric firecracker of a show, with a quietly expressive set of performances, some beautifully incisive dialogue and a fantastic use of sound evocative of an entire nation’s heartbeat in the face of all-consuming patriarchy. With hints of magical realism, it deserves far wider exposure than the three night showcase given here.

The Chronicles of Irania (4 stars) is a magic carpet ride into hand-me-down mythology performed and co-devised by Maryam Hamidi with director Catrin Evans. As Hamidi’s character wakes from a bad dream to hold court with tea, sweets and initially whimsical flights of finger puppet fancy, the Jackanory Arabian Nights feel takes a darker turn. The cut-out shapes of suns, moons, butterflies and trees which hang from a yarn that casts Christmas decoration shadows are invaded by the woman’s own history in this fantastically sustained close-up on a world that wouldn’t have been out of place in this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme.

Shelly Nadashi and Jim Colquhoun’s Arrow In The Eye (3 stars) is a not entirely serious miniature treatise on the power of inanimate objects, in which Nadashi declares her love for a chair through declamatory performance poetry and choreography. At the back of the stage, Colquhoun’s disembodied head pokes through a cardboard speaker, offering a wry and explicit interlude. Soundtracked by a primitive electronic score in an ironically chair-free environment, it’s the sort of thing Chicks On Speed might serve up as a homage to 1970s performance art in an appealingly comfortable if often silly half hour.

The Herald, September 22nd 2008

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…