Skip to main content

Monks

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
St Patrick’s Night was a queerly appropriate evening for Des Dillon’s new comedy. Its broad swipes against some of the Catholic church’s excesses were somehow in keeping with all the fake blarney going on elsewhere. As was too the self-help platitudes spouted by the assorted worshippers who convene on an Italian hilltop in search of redemption, and find only a monk doing penance but possessed with strange healing hands.

Posh Suzanne has already been saved by Fabian by the time Glasgow chancers Pat and Davy arrive with shell-shocked Jay in tow. With a money-grabbing Abbot calling the shots from below and a muscle-bound landowner out for revenge, it’s a pilgrimage to die for. Especially when the chapel they’ve built to replace the burnt-down monastery appears to turn into a celestial Tardis.

There’s nothing wrong with Dillon’s unabashed TV-friendly populism. Marie Jones tapped into a similar vein with the far superior Women On the Verge Of HRT, which went on a similar but far less obvious pilgrimage. But in Mark Thomson’s production, Monks’ mix of Glasgow Zen and west coast machismo can’t decide if it wants to be big and clever or an end of the pier romp. Its resultant philosophy, whereby every conversation is finished with a punchline, sits awkwardly on Becky Minto’s mountain-top set.

Threads of the story are shoe-horned in, with Paul Thomas Hickey’s flashbacks to some terrorist atrocity he may have been involved in being the awkward pivot on which the rest of the action hangs. While Dillon’s scatological cartoon-like approach might sit well with other easy on the eye prime time comic drama, its rendering of flawed archetypes feels too self-conscious for theatre in a play where no-one is saved.

The Herald, March 19th 2007

ends

Comments

Charlie Endell said…
Delightfully erudite and occasionally effete but had been hoping for a little bit of this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3fAzQzgeSc
Neil Cooper said…
Sorry to disappoint, Charlie, but Oh, How To Do Now indeed!

Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug