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 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…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…