Skip to main content

Year of the Horse

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
Harry Horse was without doubt the most savage political cartoonist of his era. The untimely and controversial death at the start 2007 of the artist formerly known as Richard Horne has made his increasingly angry back catalogue the stuff of legend. The premise of Tam Dean Burn’s hour-long homage is simple. Present each of Horse’s fifty two cartoons which appeared in the Sunday Herald throughout 2006 as a rolling slide show, with Burn himself mouthing the accompanying texts penned by Horse, and let them stand unadorned as the most visceral documents of modern times.

The result, underscored by the insistent electronic throb of Keith McIvor’s sound collage, is an intensely powerful piece of polemic and poetry that doesn’t just shove its targets around like much satire. Rather, it lacerates Blair, Bush, Brown and co with a mixture of increasingly personalised venom married to classical and pop cultural allusions born at punk’s crucible. Dressed in a white hoodie that bleaches into camouflage when the images project onto him, Burn becomes a Zelig-like chorus declaiming on the atrocities depicted, be they the bombing of Iraq or the way governments become the pushers of prescriptive drugs.

In delivery it’s as simple as it is relentless, and one can only speculate what Horse’s response to the recent outrages in Gaza might have been, though one suspects they would be in keeping with Burn’s own. It was Burn, after all, who led a moral boycott of the BBC after its blanket refusal to air an appeal for aid in the region. In stands like these, and in ad-hoc works such as Year of the Horse, Burn is rapidly becoming a very necessary conscience of the nation.

The Herald, February 23rd 2009

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Giles Havergal - CATS Awards 2019

Giles Havergal has always been the perfect host. During his thirty-odd year tenure as co-artistic director of the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Havergal would be there in the foyer on each opening night, meeting and greeting with an old school charm that came to define the Gorbals-based emporium. While many directors prefer to duck out of view, only meeting their public once the first night stresses have subsided, in contrast, Havergal seemed joyously unfazed by such things. Only when he was acting in a show was he absent from his task.
All of which makes Havergal the ideal choice as guest presenter of this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, the ceremony for which takes place at Tramway in Glasgow this Sunday afternoon. This year’s awards see a smorgasbord of productions and artists from the last year’s crop of home-grown shows celebrated by Scotland’s theatre critics in its annual ceremony.
With winners announced on the day, nominations include Birds of Paradise and the Na…