Skip to main content

Tunes Of Glory

Perth Theatre,
4 stars
You can all but smell the testosterone in Middle Ground Theatre Company’s adaptation of James Kennaway’s post World War Two novel of rivalry and power games in a Highland barracks where officers idle their days and nights away in whisky-fuelled high-jinks. Cock of the roost is acting Colonel Jock Sinclair, an old school roughneck trained in the school of hard knocks, who’s of the defiantly macho breed that believes everything and anything can be solved over a dram. Jock’s power-base is knocked asunder by the arrival of Basil Barrow to take over his command. A blue-blooded, soft-drink sipping southerner, Barrow’s eye for detail is the antithesis of Sinclair’s talent for ingratiating himself with the overgrown lads of the officer’s mess.

What follows in Michael Lunney’s production is a brilliantly observed war of attrition between two men in uniform still learning how to re-define and express themselves in the uneasy peace-time they’re now living in. For all its reactionary backdrop, the world Kennaway lays bare can be seen as a pre-cursor to Black Watch, Gregory Burke’s contemporary depiction of army life.

For, despite its obvious local appeal (Kennaway based the barracks on his own posting at Perth’s Queen’s Barracks), there’s nothing couthy or sentimental on show. Both men are scarred by their war-time traumas, though each hides their weakness in very different ways in this almighty howl of a play. A masterful Stuart McGugan plays Sinclair with bluff, unflinching ferocity and Richard Walsh makes a more obviously vulnerable Barrow leading a well-drilled cast of 15 through a brutal tale of survival, self-preservation, and the self-destructive cost the terror of appearing weak in a man’s world can inflict.

The Herald, April 23rd 2007

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…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…