Skip to main content

Ovid's Metamorphosis

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
There's something ineffably clever about Pants on Fire's audacious
reimagining of Roman poet Ovid's post-BC best-seller. It's not just its
re-jigged setting to World War Two England, where soldiers of land, sea
and air rub up against posh-frocked gels who talk in cut-glass, quite
too utterly pukkah tones. It's the way this devised show, written and
directed by Peter Bramley alongside a seven-strong ensemble of
actor-musicians, manage to wend their merry way through a well-drilled
whirlwind of utilitarian parlour-room show-and-tell with hints of
Weimar cabaret to serve up a breathless reinvention of ancient myths.
This comes by way of a series of doomed golly-gosh yarns of love, death
and derring-do that attempt to pluck some order from the
all-encroaching chaos.

So Jupiter is a randy old toff whose long-suffering spouse Juno works a
magic of her own, Cupid is a mischievous, catapult-wielding evacuee,
Semele a pool-loving escapee from a Busby Berkeley flick, and Narcissus
a square-jawed matinee idol who falls head-over-heels for his
big-screen image just as cinema usherette Echo hangs on his every word.
Co-opting Ovid's focus on affairs of the heart for their own ends, such
is the propensity of stiff-upper-lipped top-drawer rumpy-pumpy that at
times one wonders whether one has landed on a staging of an unaired
episode of The Camomile Lawn.

But there's a serious point to this high-concept melange of puppetry,
film and live action. It may take until the birth of Bacchus for the
bunting to come out and the party to really get started, but it's left
to blind old man Tiresius to prophecy a future of death, disaster and
disharmony. Victory, it seems, comes with a price.

The Herald, April 25th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…