Skip to main content


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
Pandas, as fans of Edinburgh Zoo will soon discover, can't really be
bothered with the mating game unless their perfect partner shows up.
It's a lesson all three couples in Rona Munro's new play for the
Traverse eventually learn from as their criss-crossing lives reach some
kind of understanding to cherish. Things open in the deceptively
domestic living room of clapped-out copper James and his moll Julie.
Julie's leaving James for Andy, a low-rent wheeler-dealer who's
importing panda rugs from China with the help of Jie Hui. Jui Hui's
first real life date with Lin Han after an extended courtship via email
comes a cropper when Andy is shot. And when Andy's old flame Madeleine
is interviewed by James, all emotional hell breaks loose.

At first glance, Munro's highly unlikely, serendipity-heavy yarn looks
like the sort of common or garden rom-com that was spawned at some
point in the 1990s and has never really let up since. Look closer,
however, at Rebecca Gatward's big, wide-open production on Liz Cooke's
cherry tree lined set, and its wild lurches into unbridled passion are
something else again.

If the second act's opening depiction of Andy's hospital bed out of
body experience comes over all Randall and Hopkirk as Julie and James
argue the toss, the first act ending as Meg Fraser's brittle as bamboo
Madeleine vents her spleen into a police microphone is a magnificently
demented monologue akin to live art confessional. In the end, any
counterfeit goods are left wanting in a charmingly wry and not always
cuddly merry-go-round that's about taking a chance on the mess of love
in a world that's sometimes left wanting.

The Herald, April 21st 2011



Popular posts from this blog

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

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School


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…