Skip to main content

The Arthur Conan Doyle Appreciation Society

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
There's a moment in Peepolykus' new show when a medium calling on the 
creator of Sherlock Holmes attempts to enter the room through the 
window. As the supposed arbiter of the spirit world clambers through 
the opening, he slips on the ledge, almost coming a cropper on the 
street below. The fact that the performer playing the spiritual con-man 
is clearly on his knees hanging on to a window at ground level doesn't 
prevent at least one first night audience member from gasping audibly 
at his apparent near miss with gravity.

This incident speaks volumes about this comic meditation on truth and 
artifice in which suspension of disbelief is subject as much as form. 
It's framed around a faux lecture by PhD candidate Jennifer McGeary, 
who, along with a couple of actors she's hired to illustrate her spiel, 
takes a step back in  time to meet Dr Doyle himself. The fact that her 
hired help bear a suspicious resemblance to Peepolykus main-stays 
Javier Marzan and John Nicholson is itself a double bluff in an 
extended bag of tricks that features Sherlock Holmes, Harry Houdini and 
the Cottingley fairies.

Orla O'Loughlin's Traverse Company production in association with 
Peepolykus is a knowingly seasonal  parlour room entertainment that 
looks at a need to believe in ghosts, whether they're real or not. At 
over two hours there's probably too much of it, and it could actually 
do with beinh somewhat less formal. There are nevertheless some slick 
sleights of hand at play here, with Marzan, Nicholson and Gabriel 
Quigley as Jennifer having a magic time in a show in which seeing isn't 
always believing.

The Herald, December 11th 2012



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…

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…


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 …