Skip to main content

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me


Perth Theatre
4 stars
Twenty years on from Frank McGuinness' imagined study of daily life as 
a political hostage inspired by the real life experiences of Brian 
Keenan, and the pains of confinement McGuinness depicts look more 
pertinent than ever. By placing an American, an Irishman and and an 
Englishman in chains in an airless cell in Beirut, the survival 
strategies they cling to go beyond initial sparring about colonialism, 
invasion and all the other indignities caused by organised religion to 
get to some sense of solidarity by default.

As with most of McGuinness' work, it's pretty much unbreakable, and 
Rachel O'Riordan's new production simply lets it speak for itself, as 
Adam, Edward and Michael move from fantasy Desert Island Discs to the 
1977 Wimbledon Ladies Final to get them through their plight.  The 
blacked-out stage curtain slams down to punctuate each scene on Gary 
McCann's tilted set, suggesting that  any glimpse at other worlds is 
shut out come night time. When awake, there's a kind of madness 
inherent in the things the men cook up, which, as the trio question 
their own manhood, lean more to the homo-erotic fantasia of Kiss of the 
Spiderwoman than the angry hysteria of Midnight Express.

The interplay between Joseph Chance's laid-back Adam, Stephen Kennedy's 
bluff Edward and Robert Morgan's academic Michael borders on absurdly 
comic routines, as if they were merely finding common ground in some 
post-pub piece of male bonding. Yet when Edward is released, leaving 
Michael to survive alone, despite the sun that shines through the now 
open door and the sentiments expressed, this is no end of summer camp, 
but an experience that will mark them forever.

The Herald, February 13th 2012

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…