Skip to main content

Yarn

Verdant Works, Dundee
4 stars
The fascinations of Grid Iron are manifold. In previous site-specific works Gargantua and The Devil’s Larder, the Edinburgh based company have ravished our senses with body-centric feasts based on sex, food and other delights. So it is with this latest knitted-together compendium conceived around the idea of clothes and their intrinsic meaning. Director Ben Harrison has taken material from Louise Bourgeois, Henry James and Thomas Carlyle, and fused it with some very candid auto-biographical scenes that leave the six actors metaphorically if not actually naked.

As we’re led through the industrial splendour of the Verdant Works old jute mill, beyond the buttoned-up men in grey for whom everything’s black and white is a dressing-up-box in which every garment tells a story. From the totemic qualities of an old coat, a scarf or some long lost hand-me-downs, we’re led along catwalks and through an oversize wardrobe into Mr Benn style adventures, where a glimpse of stocking, fur coat and no knickers are more than mere decoration. Beyond wedding night fingers and thumbs and cheap threads, however, is even cheaper labour.

It’s been interesting watching Grid Iron add an explicitly political dimension to their output over the last couple of years, much of it gleaned from extensive work in the middle east. So we get war correspondents in disguise and photo-ops of how to get from burka to blindfold in five easy steps. What we’re left with in this co-production with Dundee Rep is classic Grid Iron with an edge, which rips through layers of human artifice to get to the heart of the matter. They wear it well, on their sleeves and everywhere else.

The Herald, April 25th 2008

ends

Comments

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…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…