Tron Theatre, Glasgow 3 stars What would happen if the revolution became reduced to a series of letter-writing parties that gathered the converted together under the guidance of the sort of perma-grinning cheerleader normally the preserve of high street charity muggers? Then what if it turned out that said cheer-leader had missed the point enough to be sidelined from the cause? As an audience of ten or so 'pioneers' are ushered into a meeting room with name tags and enforced jollity intact, these are exactly the sort of questions being asked in director Rob Jones and writer Michael O'Neill's all too timely look at the politics of protest for a younger generation in a post-ideological age. Our hostess is Layla, the pyjama-clad evangelist for the Need Nothing movement led by the guru-like Sam, who wants everyone to move into a global village in Peru. Layla's nemesis is Councillor Robert Cairns, her former ally and inspiration, who now wants to counteract inner-city knife crime by imposing a 9pm curfew. Aided by hapless assistant Brendan and a litany of meaningless feelgood twaddle, Millie Turner's Layla finds her original drive stymied by how the message has been diluted and cheapened by the sort of PR-driven approach that has left party politics with little credibility left to spin. Developed for the Tron's Mayfesto season from a piece originally seen at Arches Live 2012, Jones' intimate production for the Enormous Yes company is a wordy dissection of how youthful idealism and the activism it inspires can be co-opted and corrupted by forces with more dangerously self-serving agendas. It may take things to absurd extremes, but the realpolitik behind it is all too plain to see.
The Herald, May 16th 2013 ends