Skip to main content

Once And For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen

Traverse Theatre
5 stars
A live version of The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For My Man – a song about a New York punk hooking up with his drug dealer - is playing when the thirteen Belgian teenagers from the Ontroerend Goed company burst onstage. The taboo subject of the song is telling. Because the teenage dreams they proceed to unleash over the next breathless hour go a whole lot further than kids stuff.

As they play, fight, play-fight, dance themselves into the ground, fall over, get up again, get in and out of each other’s faces and rub people up the wrong way, these fearless youngsters on the verge of real life simply explode with a joie de vivre that can’t be faked. Alexander Devriendt’s production of a text devised with Joeri Smet is a thing of purity and unfettered delight, but delivered with such un-self-conscious precision and subtle sophistication that it’s at times hard to believe it’s real teenagers up there. Then again, now is their time, this is their world and they’ve everything to live for.

When the body paint comes out, for a second it looks like the kind of free-form happenings the 1960s were loaded with. But where those attempts to rediscover the child within went up in a puff of grown-up and indulgent smoke, this is the real thing, awash with innocence, hormone-popping yearning and a sense of wonder that’s infectious. While this is quite possibly the lost life-affirming, crazy, mixed-up lust for life you’re likely to witness this or any other year, there’s the realisation too that neither you nor those bright, beautiful sparks that light up the stage will ever be that young again. It’s a gorgeous re-awakening. Enjoy the moment while it lasts.

The herald, August 2007


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…


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 …