Skip to main content

Takin’ Over The Asylum

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
“Inspired is when you think you can do anything,” says one character in 
Donna Franceschild’s psychiatric ward-set play adapted from her 1994 TV 
drama. “Manic is when you know it.” Such a bold statement becomes a 
kind of manifesto for this moving, funny and heart-breakingly pertinent 
story about how a hospital radio station awakens its damaged residents 
from their TV-watching torpor.

When window salesman and would-be DJ Eddie arrives at St Jude’s, his 
radio show is initially met with indifference by all except 
hyper-active Campbell. Eventually, the redemptive force of soul music 
gives a sense of purpose to Francine, Rosalie, Fergus and all the 
others who don’t quite fit in with the big bad world outside. Eddie too 
has his demons, as becomes painfully apparent when the station and the 
community that’s built around it is threatened with closure.

There’s a sense of empathy as well as anger in Franceschild’s writing 
that’s brought to devastating life by an exceptional ensemble cast in 
Mark Thomson’s heart-rending co-production between the Citz and 
Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre. A magnificent Iain Robertson makes a 
hangdog Eddie, while Brian Vernel is equally electric as Campbell.

Coming at a time when hard fought for public health services are being 
ripped asunder by a faceless managerial culture imposed by a heartless 
and ideology-driven government, Franceschild’s play suddenly looks more 
vital than ever. While it avoids polemic, when Eddie rises up from his 
knees screaming an impassioned “Do they not realise what they’ve 
done?”, it’s as powerful a protest as something out of John Steinbeck 
in a passionately human call to arms that must be listened to.

The Herald, January 18th 2013

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…