Skip to main content

The Bad Drive Well/Tongue Lie Tight

The Arches, Glasgow
4 stars
Artists can be delicate monsters. So, given the fraught nature of creative collaboration, this double bill of short plays by upcoming playwrights and theatre-makers Megan Barker and Alan McKendrick, with each co-directing the other’s work, could easily have ended in tears. As it is, the results are concentrated and accomplished enough to prove the experiment an understated hit of contrasting moods.

Barker’s Tongue Lie Tight, is an ennui-laden look at the communication breakdown between a couple seeking sanctuary in a sun-drenched resort from some un-named horrors at home. As Morag goes quietly demented in her hotel room, Seymour builds sandcastles with Gracie, a young girl with whom he finds an uncomfortable-looking connection. Loosely based on JD Salinger’s 1948 short story, A Perfect Day For Bananafish, Barker’s spare demotic leaves everything tantalisingly implied in a close-up of everyday madness which offsets its setting’s superficial brightness.

McKendrick’s take on relationships is far funnier, as Celine and Lenny fast-forward their way through the painful rituals of 21st century romance among the speed-dating lonely-hearts set. Both oddballs with a shared penchant for wrestling magazines and prone to rattling out a stream of hyper-tense one-liners, their awkward exchanges eventually ease into something that might just resemble a love affair in this peculiar, kookily off-kilter rom-com that’s a joy to watch.

If Rob Diamond and Patricia Kavanagh, who play all parts, don’t always have the weight to carry the painful subtleties of Barker’s piece, in The Bad Drive Well they are a hilarious motor-mouthed double act who find happiness beyond their solitary dysfunctions. Fine foils, then, for major writers in the making, caught at a crucial stage in their careers.

The Herald, May 21st 2007

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…

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…

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 …