Skip to main content

Moonlight and Magnolias


Perth Theatre
4 stars
The story of the making of Gone With The Wind is as epic as the 
big-screen adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s thousand-page novel 
itself. Ron Hutchinson’s own adventures in the screen trade over 
thirty-odd years have clearly been channelled into his reimagining of 
what might have gone on in producer David O Selznick’s office during 
the fateful week he ditched both script and director. The end result is 
a relentlessly turbo-charged meeting of bullish but fragile minds, as 
Selznick puts idealistic script-doctor Ben Hecht and Wizard of Oz 
director Victor Fleming under lock and key for a five-day marathon 
where deadlines and desperation go hand in hand.

As Hecht’s desire to tell uncomfortable truths about America are 
over-ridden by Selznick’s need entertain the masses, Hutchinson’s play 
sets up a neat debate on the tug of love between art and commerce. 
Personal insecurities too are brought to the fore. While Selznick must 
prove to his father-in-law, movie mogul Louis B Meyer, that he’s no 
failure, Fleming lives in fear of winding up a chauffeur again. As for 
Hecht, well, he’s a writer.

In the closing production of her inaugural season, director Rachel 
O’Riordan navigates her cast through the play’s heightened, hyper-manic 
drive in a way she did similarly with the equally breathless The 
Gentleman’s Tea-Drinking Society a couple of years back while running 
the Ransom company. The interplay between Joseph Chance as Hecht, Benny 
Young as Fleming and especially Steven McNicoll as Selznick ricochets 
around the stage, with the only pause for breath coming from Helen 
Logan as the unflappable Miss Poppenguhl in this delicious dissection 
of Hollywood Babylon in exelcis.

The Herald, March 20th 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …