Skip to main content

Fuelfest

Tramway, Glasgow
4 stars
The week-long residency at Tramway by maverick producers, Fuel, 
continued in the tone set by David Rosenberg’s opening sonic adventure, 
Ring, of invading our space and subverting our senses. The rest of the 
programme was by turns arresting, provocative and, at its best, deeply 
political, both on a personal and a global level.

Nowhere was this mashed up more than in Make Better Please, Unexpected 
Guests’ latest meditation on how we live now. This began with focus 
group style round-table discussions on news events of the day, and 
ended with a collective purging of the mess of twenty-first century 
secularised culture discussed earlier.

Following a succession of quick-fire role-plays, things grew 
increasingly frantic, as one of our hosts took on the sins of David 
Cameron, Jimmy Savile, George Osborne and all the rest. Pulsed along by 
a punk-style din, this was Unexpected Guests getting back to their and 
our roots, where the primitive power of the tribe put their faith in 
shamanic ritual to heal them. Such a collective release may not change 
anything, but in a work that is the contrasting light to Ring’s shade, 
it made for an exhilarating form of audience participation.

.One of our guides in Make Better Please was Lewis Gibson, who was also 
one of the artists in The Simple Things of Life, in which five artists 
created work in garden sheds. The full version scooped a Bank of 
Scotland Herald Angel Award in 2011. Two of the constructions – 
Gibson’s Lost in Words and Frauke Requardt’s appositely wordless 
Makiko’s Shed – moved into Tramway to allow audiences of eight to share 
their creators’ very private pleasures.

Gibson invited us in to a vintage world of 3D postcards viewed through 
old-school Viewfinders and a book group which allowed you to make your 
own narrative. Requardt filled his red-painted shed full of mirrors so 
performer Makiko Aoyama could see every flex, twirl and grimace as she 
jumped for joy and danced like her life depended on it.

On the surface, Inua Ellams’ solo play, Black T-Shirt Collection, was 
the most classically conventional of this Fuelfest grab-bag. Yet this 
startling and vividly told tale of two Nigerian foster brothers’ rise 
and fall via the customised t-shirt business that drives them was a 
culmination of all the Fuel roster’s concerns.

By having one brother Muslim, the other a Christian, there were already 
biblical implications to Ellams’ tale. Once Nigerian homophobia drives 
the brothers out from their market stall, first to Egypt, then London 
and the cheap Chinese sweat-shops beyond, a rich tapestry of corruption 
and exploitation is laid bare in a moral fable that may be ancient in 
content, but is made troublingly contemporary by Ellams’ reimagining.

With roots in the spoken-word scene, Ellams is a captivating presence, 
who lends both a  hipness and a seriousness of intent that’s 
accentuated by Emma Laxton’s sound design and Ellams’ own chalk-like 
graphics projected behind him. All this made for a truly startling 
performance that formed part of an even more inspirational week.

The Herald, November 26th 2012

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1
1. THE STONE ROSES  - Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3  - Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART  - Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS  - Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY - Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!  - Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS - I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS - In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES  - Everso 10. THE SEERS  - Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND - You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS - We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE  - Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS  - Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND - In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES - Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS  - Justice In Freedom (12" Version)

1. THE STONE ROSES Don’t Stop ( SilvertoneORE1989)
The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds like it. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire met in 1980 at Altrincham Grammar School. With bassist …