Monday, 1 October 2012

Sex and God

Platform, Easterhouse
4 stars
A sense of balance is what’s yearned after by the four women in Linda 
Mclean’s remarkable new work for Magnetic North. If such a yearning is 
evident in the cascade of chairs suspended in infinite mid-air above 
what could be dance-floor, chess-board or op-art installation in Claire 
Halleran’s design, it pours through the torrent of words that present 
four very different but umbilically connected portraits of a woman’s 
world at different points in the twentieth century.

All in different ways are struggling, be it for simple pleasure, escape 
 from their lot or else out and out transcendence. As each tries to 
better themselves, through the liberty of earning their own living, the 
promise of domestic bliss or an education and the exotic allure of 
other cultures, their ambitions are thwarted, sometimes brutally.
Rather than fake an attempt at Sunday serial naturalism the above might 
suggest, McLean’s writing itself steps beyond its immediate milieu to 
become a vocal symphony of drudgery and desire. This is captured 
confidently by director Nicholas Bone, as the quartet’s words overlap 
or fall into each other like dominoes that have found connection enough 
to enable their next move.

McLean’s women may be abstractions, but they are more flesh and blood 
than the mere ciphers to hang an idea upon they so could’ve been. As 
the four, Ashley Smith, Lesley Hart, Louise Ludgate and Natalie Wallace 
sustain the play’s full hour onstage throughout with an intensely 
realised sense of restraint. With Kim Moore’s violin and cello-based 
score lending even more drive to things, the release, when it comes, 
points to even greater life to come.

The Herald, October 1st 2012

ends


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