Skip to main content

This May Hurt A Bit

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
It's a strange sensation, hearing an actor open Max Stafford-Clark's 
production of Stella Feehily's impassioned call to arms to save the NHS 
with Socialist firebrand Aneurin Bevan's speech that launched this most 
treasured of institutions in 1948. A politician with ideals and 
integrity is such a rarity these days that it can't help but sound 
heroic. This is the case too watching a piece of political agit-prop, a 
form which not that long ago was considered to be passe, but which now 
appears to have been reborn for the age of austerity with a vigorous 
sense of righteous urgency.

This is with good cause, as Feelihy proves in the play's central tale 
of one family's travails after their 90 year old mother Iris has a 
stroke. A sadly familiar story of over-crowded and understaffed 
hospital wards is punctuated by a series of sketch-like interludes, as 
Bevan and Winston Churchill step out of the audience to form a double 
act, and a weather girl points out exactly where all the health cuts 
have been made. Even Death himself makes a cameo.

Drawn from extensive interviews with hospital patients and staff as 
well as first-hand experience, Feelihy, Stafford-Clark and an 
eight-strong cast led by Stephanie Cole as Iris have produced a damning 
indictment of a government that puts corporate interests before saving 
lives that is both funny and full of bemused rage. When one character 
steps out to ask the audience “Why aren't people angry?”, the silence 
may be deafening, but the way Westminster's current occupants are 
going, it won't be that way for long.

The Herald, April 10th 2014

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…