Skip to main content

A Dangerman

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Four stars
The man standing on what passes for a stage in Summerhall's tiny Red Lecture Theatre is looking each of the audience in the eye. Without ever cracking a smile, he closes his own eyes, psyching himself up in the silence, before letting rip. The Bible, Karl Marx and the thoughts of Chairman Mao are all intertwined in the man's ramblingly discursive and quietly deadpan monologue, with reality TV, the history of capitalism and a spot of art history thrown in for good measure. At one point he auctions off the script for the show, at another he gets volunteers from the audience to shift boxes around or else take off their clothes to strike some classical poses. He engages them in dialogue about that night's news, and tells them if they don't agree with what they're seeing then they can leave. Some do.

It's a risky strategy, but Galway-based actor/writer Dick Walsh takes no prisoners in his menacing hour-long monologue, first seen on the Dublin Fringe in 2012. Giving voice to the sort of person you'd normally cross the road to avoid, Walsh's study falls somewhere between Peter Handke's genre-subverting monologue, Offending The Audience, and Heathcote Williams' penetrating portrait of the wise fools who put the world to rights in Hyde Park, The Speakers.

As scarifying as the delivery is, Walsh and his alter ego are making some serious points about free will and how far you will go just because someone tells you to do something. As his final act before leaving, the Dangerman appoints a member of the audience to be king, with everyone else his subjects. What happens next is up to us.

The Herald, November 12th 2013


ends

Comments

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…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…