Skip to main content

5 Minute Theatre


4 stars
The National Theatre of Scotland's third 5 Minute Theatre online 
extravaganza of bite-size plays performed largely live was focussed 
around the theme of youth. With some fifty-six separate performances 
beamed from hubs in Glenrothes, Glasgow and beyond in a myriad of 
classrooms, bars and living rooms, the event was run partly in parallel 
with this year's National Festival of Youth Theatre as well as the NTS' 
own young peoples' theatre programme, Exchange.

The end result was a lively, non-stop five and a half-hour mix of rites 
of passage and a desire to be understood on the one hand, and a 
mourning for lost youth on the other. If technical gremlins hadn't 
prevented it, proceedings would have begun with Douglas Maxwell's 162 
Bars Out, a lovelorn percussionist's interior monologue performed 
alongside Claire McKenzie's live orchestral score. Even on second, 
Maxwell's piece was a powerful dramatic lesson on the social and 
creative power of musical education.

Elsewhere were vibrant meditations on knife crime, social media, a 
Julius Caesar on the streets of Belfast and a musical set in a 
dentist's reception. If many works leaned towards naturalism, all were 
keen to stress that young people had something to say. Kiana 
Kalantar-Hormozi and Elliot Cooper's the Curious Case of Tim, 
wonderfully performed by Cooper, especially captured the jumbled-up 
torrent of emotions growing pains bring with them.

The final work performed was Uprising, a theatrical flash-mob 
orchestrated by members of Perth Youth Theatre. As participants seated 
in a refectory stood up one by one, it was akin to a scene from 
Spartacus. With the final words of the piece a defiant “Down with the 
government,” the future appears to be in safe hands.

The Herald, July 16th 2012

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…