Skip to main content

The Writing On Your Wall

Edinburgh Printmakers until October 25th 2011
4 stars
When Jeremy Deller put Rupert Murdoch's wrinkled walnut face on a
sky-blue 'Vote Conservative' poster to raise funds for the Labour
Party, it looked like satire. Given the ongoing phone-hacking saga, it
now feels like prophecy. The 'Murdoch Doesn't Give A XXXX' poster
opposite from 1986's Fortress Wapping days may be dated in terms of its
reference to a then novel Australian fizzy lager, but, seen alongside
Deller's piece, it's an important pointer to how history repeats itself.

Curated by Rob Tuffnall, this group show aims to reclaim the radical
grassroots of print., when a pamphlet, a poster and a button badge were
the ideologue's weapons of choice. Such notions date all the way back
to James Gillray's early nineteenth century cartoon, awash with
pop-eyed society grotesques. Crucial archives from post 1968 Notting
Hill provocateurs King Mob include a flyer for the famed department
store Santa action which Malcolm McLaren may or may not have been
involved in. James Connolly's magnificently named slim volume,
'Socialism Made Easy' and Christopher Logue's post Vietnam poem posters
marry pop and protest in a way today's largely aesthetic-free
groupuscules could similarly learn much from.

Alsadair Gray's portraits of very personal defiance, Ruth Ewan's
text-based provocations and Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan's 'An
Indirect Exchange...Of Uncertain Value' series are similarly striking.
A new piece by Dellar shows a newspaper photo of a glum-looking quartet
outside their soon-to-be-closed community centre. Dominating the room
are ten prints by some-time collaborators of Mayo Thompson's avant-rock
band, The Red Krayola, Art & Language. Taken from the covers of A&L
publications, quasi-mock heroic images take a stand in classic
socialist-realist apparel. A new piece, a framed, text-heavy
paper-chain, might well be the missing link beteween theory and action.

Such militant tendencies are probably best personified, however, by the
presence of an old-school typewriter and the sort of hand-operated
vintage printer that fuelled a thousand late-night strategy meetings by
clandestine cells of agitators fine-tuning manifestos to turn the world
upside down. This is the means of production seized in all its
inky-fingered fervour.

The List, October 2011

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…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…