Skip to main content

It’s My Party

Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh
2 stars
Politics and theatre, when mixed right, can play a vital part in national debate. Plays about politicians on the other hand, are often tedious and sexless affairs. Such is the material writers must work with, and, in the current climate, any attempts to satirise the joke-free shenanigans of Holyrood and Westminster are doomed to failure. This is the only sliver of sympathy one has for Green Party MSP Chris Ballance, whose monologue concerning a plucky new female member’s rise and fall is spectacular solely for its obviousness.

This is a shame, because, while no Vaclav Havel, Ballance is more qualified than any of his colleagues to engage with cultural matters. Long before he moved into parliament, Ballance was an award-winning writer of considerable quirkiness. Here, alas, while some of those linguistic tics remain, they’re served up in a loosely-knitted mish-mash of insider wise-cracks that are as empty as a front-bencher’s rhetoric and even less funny.

The depiction of newly elected Iona Mackinnon does the cause no favours. As she attempts to spin her way to the top, integrity is compromised, personal and professional interests conflict and her downward spiral is inevitable. Relating her memoir for posterity over a grim 50 minutes, Iona reels off a litany of thinly-disguised real-life high hid yins who’d no doubt adore the name-check.

Played by Alis Rowena Taylor, Iona is a shrill creature unlikely to convince a selection committee, let alone an audience. Nazli Tabatai-Khatambaksh’s amateur-hour production is broken up by a series of unnecessary blackouts that have nothing to say about the play or subject. This not only puts you off politics, but, most shamefully, theatre too.

The Herald, March 23rd 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 …