Skip to main content

Pests

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Five stars
When a woman steps silently into the sculpted tip which two damaged
sisters call home and pulls out a baby rat from the swollen
track-suited belly of one of them, it's clear just how feral the
twenty-something siblings have become in Vivienne Franzmann's
remarkable new play. This is one of few silent moments in a ninety-five
minute tug of love between Pink and Rolly that explodes with the pains
of every-day survival in the messed-up bubble the women have created
for themselves.

Rolly has arrived on Pink's doorstep straight out of prison. Barely
literate but furiously articulate, with a street-smart patois lifted on
the cheap from pop songs and trash TV, Pink and Rolly take on the world
outside their door with a snarl. Inside, they find comfort from each
other, and while Rolly never sees the projected mayhem going on in
Pink's head, a pair of magic red shoes might just make things better.

While there are obvious linguistic and thematic similarities between
Franzmann's co-dependents and the equally high-octane teenage lovers of
Enda Walsh's now iconic play, Disco Pigs, Franzmann's demotic crackles
with a unique sense of fire and heartbreak. Lucy Morrison's production
for Clean Break, the Royal Court and Royal Exchange, Manchester grabs
Franzmann's already breathlessly brilliant script by the scruff of its
neck and lets loose a pair of stunning performances from Sinead
Matthews and Ellie Kendrick. In a series of break-neck exchanges, they
make it clear just how much Pink and Rollo have been swamped by the
detritus of the real world and damaged by the institutions that failed
them in this sad, angry and devastatingly beautiful piece of work.

The Herald, May 26th 2014


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…