Skip to main content

Sports Day

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
From the moment River City star, stage actress and musician Joyce
Falconer shuffles onstage sporting a vivid pink track-suit, Olivia
Newton John sweat-band and Chariots of Fire ring-tone, it becomes clear
that teamwork is at the heart of the Citz's big-scale community theatre
response to the impending Glasgow-based 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Falconer is Geraldine, the retiring but never shy janitor whose last
day falls on the school sports day that this compendium of sketches,
songs and short plays is based around. With Geraldine the linking
device, narrator and social glue between each, Falconer also becomes
the fifth member of the show's rousing live band led by Michael John

From such a starting block on an astro-turf covered stage, we follow
the lead-up to the main event through miniature dramas involving
toffee-nosed head-masters, anxious parents, competitive dads and a
family fending off  bribes from dodgy politicians who offer them cash
for fancy new training shoes. There is a touching scene between a star
runner who is also his dad's carer, some off-piste bake-sale rivalry
and a solo riff on rounders in which defeat is snatched from the jaws
of victory.

Performed by a mammoth cast of sixty-five, Guy Hollands and Neil
Packham's production miraculously navigates the performers through each
set-piece with a well-co-ordinated brio that heroically manages to
avoid them from crashing into each other. So well knitted-together are
things, in fact, that it's hard to tell who wrote what, although the
likes of Peter Arnott, Lynda Radley, Douglas Maxwell and Linda McLean
are certainly in there with thirteen others in a show in which everyone
is on the same side.

The Herald, June 6th 2014



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…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …