Thursday, 16 May 2013

#sleeptightbobbycairns


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

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