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

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …