Monday, 9 September 2013

Victoria

Dundee Rep
Four stars
If ever Scotland needed a big, intelligent state of the nation(s) play 
to sum up where we're at, it's now. David Greig's three-part 
Highland-set epic may not be it, but it comes pretty close.  First seen 
in 2000 but only now receiving its Scottish première, Greig's play 
spans sixty years and three generations of a rural community in a state 
of social flux, with those both up and downstairs trying to find 
something to believe in.

In 1936, it's the romance of revolution and the Spanish Civil War on 
one hand, and the pseudo-mystical allure of fascism on the other. By 
1974, rock stars are getting their heads together in the country, and 
by 1996 even the land has been annexed by big business. At the heart of 
all this are three vivacious and free-spirited young women called 
Victoria. With all three played by a vibrant Elspeth Brodie, each in 
different ways is looking for a brave new world, but are still drawn 
back to the big red house they pivot around even as they crave a better 
future.

Philip Howard's production, his first as co-artistic director of Dundee 
Rep, is as huge in ambition as the play. While both may be a tad 
unwieldy on Neil Warmington's all-purpose set, Victoria nevertheless 
presents a fascinating portrait of a community that takes things beyond 
the domestic to become something epochal.  As recurring little motifs 
in each act point to how the past informs what follows, and how the 
ghostly energies of that past linger, Brodie leads a heroic 
twelve-strong cast through a play that's about the risks of blind faith 
and the very human consequences of warped idealism.

The Herald, September 9th 2013

ends

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