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G.B.H. Or The Girl, The Boy And The Hag

Oran Mor, Glasgow
4 stars
An occasional criticism of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie And A Pint series of lunchtime theatre has been its material’s lack of ambition. There’s no danger of that in the literary debut of visual artist Adrian Wiszniewski, who not only morphs two fantastical myths into the same universe, but tells them via the presence of 25 members of the Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra, squeezed into the venue’s bijou floor-space under the command of composer Gordon Rigby.

Oran Mor’s subterranean confines are subsequently recast as The Glade nightclub, where drop-dead gorgeous Giselle and her Goth mates go wild. One night after closing time, our heroine stumbles on handsome Galahad, who’s been left for dead by the local rats. With a shapeshifting Hag also fancying her chances, Giselle is led on a breathless voyage, where she encounters unicorns, talking snakes and quite possibly true love.

Told by David Anderson as a louche nightclub raconteur, and accompanied by original slides to illustrate his yarn, Wiszniewski’s comic book reimagining is epic in both scope and execution. With Giselle herself immortalised as ‘a girl who looks just as good in black and white as she does in colour,’ what’s effectively a glorious old-fashioned romance recalls the contemporary sass of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Here too, a beautiful heroine warred against dark forces inbetween hanging out in an underground dive frequented by serious types clad in dark clothes, and was sometimes saved by a handsome stranger. Rigby’s Glasgow pastoral baroque is the star here, though, a delicious accompaniment to the beginning of a great adventure that can only get bigger.

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The Herald, February 20th 2007

ends

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