Skip to main content

April in Paris

Perth Theatre
4 stars
The irresistible rise of budget airlines has made international travel 
accessible across the social scale. This wasn't the case when John 
Godber's brittle study of a middle-aged working class couple's 
broadening horizons first appeared in 1992, when the world seemed a lot 
bigger to Bet and Al and the generation they represent.

Their sense of claustrophobia is accentuated even more in Kenny 
Miller's striking new co-production between Perth and the Tron in 
Glasgow by stylising their living room as a white cube which more 
resembles a prison cell or a hospital ward than a home. With the pair 
either perched on chairs or else prowling the room looking for an 
escape route, Bet and Al's mono-syllabic exchanges point up the 
domestic torpor of what their relationship has become.

Emasculated since being made redundant, Al seeks solace by painting 
lifeless pictures in the garden shed, while Bet buries herself in 
magazine competitions, trying to win herself a life, a prize which 
eventually comes through a trip to Paris. As the play follows their 
journey, from cruise ship to Paris itself, Bet and Al's emotional 
impasse cools, and a series of little epiphanies open out their 
world-view to something more panoramic.

Despite Godber's tendency for mawkishness, the clipped mundanity of Bet 
and Al's barbs more resemble 1970s German minimalist writers. Miller's 
production plays with this quality by investing it with an  
impressionistic sense of style that largely avoids sentimentalism. As 
Bet and Al, Emma Gregory and Andrew Westfield capture all the 
fish-out-of-water social awkwardness of a class with low expectations 
and even lower aspirations, but whose lives have just been changed 

The Herald, March 19th 2013



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 …