Skip to main content

First Love

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Four stars
Watching Samuel Beckett is a bit like listening to Country and Western 
music. The older you get, it seems, the more you understand where 
they're coming from. This is likely to have been the case for many who 
saw all five productions of the Edinburgh International Festival's 
season of Beckett's non-stage works. This final piece, produced by 
Dublin's Gate Theatre, finds actor Peter Egan transforming Beckett's 
brief and at times brutal novella into an extended solo routine to die 
for.

It begins beside a grave and ends with a baby's cry, as Egan's lone 
figure regales the audience with a life and death yarn that begins with 
him telling how he associates his brief 'marriage' to a woman he meets 
on a bench with his father's death. Used to keeping both himself and 
others at an emotional distance, the affection he feels for the woman 
he first calls Lulu and later Anna catches him by surprise. Even as he 
moves into the room next to hers, however, he can feel the love he has 
let into his life dissipating after just one night of passion, and once 
a child is born, he can stand it no longer, and flees.

Egan relates all this in Toby Frow's production with a gloriously 
unsentimental gallows humour which, as he relives every moment of his 
and Lulu/Anna's liaison, turns out to be a form of self-protection. As 
assorted doors and windows are discreetly projected behind him, he 
remembers the song she sang, but not the words, however much it haunts 
him still in a life spent trying to purge something that will never go 
away in this bitter-sweet hymn of regret.

The Herald August 29th 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…