Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Agent 160 Presents


The Arches, Glasgow
3 stars
Agent 160 don’t do things by halves. Or at least that’s the impression 
 from this inaugural project from this newly constituted UK-wide women’s 
writer led company. Over two nights, twelve new playlets by the same 
number of writers were presented on the final dates of a three-leg 
mini-tour. If the quality and verve of the scripts on the first night 
came even close to Part Two, then artistic director Lisa Parry and 
dramaturg Louise Stephens Alexander have tapped into something special.

In the first half, Branwen Davies’ Genki? is a Welsh bi-lingual study 
of one woman finding herself abroad, The Red Shoes is Sarah Grochala’s 
estuarised fantasia concerning a teenage mum finding consumer comfort 
of a fantastical kind, and A Modest Proposal by Lindsay Rodden looks to 
Animal Farm in a warzone. The second half opens with Parry’s own piece, 
Nancy, in which a middle England grand dame squares up to the recession 
as well as the rabbits in what’s left of her garden; Skin; Or How To 
Disappear Completely, by Morna Pearson, finds a long term benefit case 
and his assessor slipping through the cracks; and Ioanna Anderson’s How 
To Be A Pantomime Horse is a two-woman psychological disaster movie.

While rough and not always ready, hearing such a diverse array of 
voices is a joy. What is encouraging too is both how political all of 
the pieces are, and the urgency with which the work is delivered. With 
three directors overseeing six actors, there’s a tantalising richness 
to all plays. But it’s Pearson’s miniature masterpiece that shines her, 
as it subverts social realism in a damaged duologue akin to a Doric 
Tennessee Williams.

The Herald, February 27th 2012

ends



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