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Showing posts from September, 2014

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Queens Hall, Edinburgh
Five stars
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has come a long way since her first Edinburgh
appearance fronting short-lived indie band TheAudience at La Belle
Angele in 1998. While the intervening years have seen her epitomise
T4-friendly disco diva electro-pop, this year's Wanderlust album has
found her pretty much coming full circle in an eclectic collaboration
with Mercury nominated singer/song-writer Ed Harcourt.

Harcourt is at the keyboards as part of the black-clad sextet that
accompany Ellis-Bextor on the current leg of the tour to support the
album, as they were earlier in the year at Oran Mor in Glasgow. In what
is effectively a two-act show, the stage is bathed in red as
Ellis-Bextor enters in matching mini-dress to open with the
eastern-tinged movie theme melodrama of Birth of An Empire before
moving through a conceptual pot-pourri of off-kilter ballads, woozy Cold War
waltzes and epic chorales.

Some charming between-song banter covers tour bus Conga injuries and

Matthew Lenton - Into Tomorrow With Vanishing Point

Things change when you get older. Just look at Tomorrow, the latest
theatrical meditation from Vanishing Point, which plays its only
Scottish dates at Tramway from this weekend following its premiere in
Brighton and follow-up dates in Brazil. In the company's Glasgow
rehearsal room, a largely youngish cast from Scotland, England, Russia
and Brazil convene under director Matthew Lenton's guidance to go
through a scene in what, despite only makeshift scenery, conjures up
the slightly derelict feel of an old people's home.

As the cast assemble, their natural ebullience seems to slow as they
ease into character. When they cover their faces with tight-fitting
latex rubber masks, the transformation is complete. Only when one or
other of them breaks into their natural stride do things jar.
Otherwise, it's as if time itself has caught up with them in an instant.

“I was interested in doing something about care,” says Lenton. “I had
this image of having a cast in their eighties or…

Tragic (when my mother married my uncle)

Cumbernauld Theatre
Four stars
A sulky teenager dressed in black sprawls aloft the raised platform of
his bunk-bed, going through his photo album on his ipad, which projects
enlargements onto a big screen on the other side of the room.
Everyone's in there; his mum, his best mates, one of his kind-of
girlfriend's selfies. Most significantly are the portraits of the boy's
dad, who died the week before, and his uncle, who his mum just married.
As the boy lays bare his plans to stab his uncle in revenge for the
killing of his dad, it becomes clear that he is a contemporary version
of Hamlet, and that the pictures projected in his room are of his mum
Gertrude, his best pal Horatio and his squeeze Ophelia. Then there's
his uncle, Claudius, who he calls Uncle C.

This is a neat trick in Iain Heggie's fresh look at the bard, performed
with youthful confidence by Sean Purden Brown in Heggie's own
production for Subway Theatre Company in association with Sico
Productions. De…


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
When a middle-aged man walks onstage in his underwear, puts on a pair
of bright scarlet shoes and declares himself the reincarnation of Judy
Garland, evidence may suggest otherwise, but it's a provocative opening
nevertheless to Lee Mattinson's solo outing about one man's belated
coming to terms with who he is. The man in his underwear is Francis, a
spoon-playing romantic in search of true love as he moves through the
back-street club scene that becomes his own yellow brick road en route
to salvation fronting a local community choir. Just as Francis finds a
sense of belonging, alas, a one-night encounter with a building-site
worker he obsesses over before being hit with a restraining order
leaves him diagnosed with Aids.

Such a life and death litany is related in florid terms in Mattinson's
script, which references the mundane everyday minutiae of Francis'
existence in a way which resembles an Alan Bennett monologue. Jennifer

The Man Jesus

Dundee Rep
Four stars
When a Morningside-accented Judas gives a two-part definition of the
word 'politics' in Matthew Hurt's ecclesiastical solo vehicle for Simon
Callow, the applause provoked by its second half suggests more than a
hint of recognition in its description  of politicians as annoying
insects in need of swatting. When Judas, seated at the centre of an
otherwise empty row of chairs awaiting the Last Supper, goes on to
describe the faithful rump of his former messiah's followers as
“masochists with a fetish for disappointment,” the silence that follows
is equally telling.

By this time Callow has already introduced us to many of the people who
shaped Jesus or where shaped by him in a version of the gospel seen
from a dozen points of view. Using a variety of largely northern
accents beside a pile of chairs, we first of all meet Jesus' mother,
Mary, and his brother, James. In Callow's hands these become
plain-talking Yorkshire folk, the apostles are hard…


Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars
It is the ghosts who are left standing at the end of Dominic Hill's
brooding new production of Shakespeare's tragedy, which puts a
bespectacled Brian Ferguson centre-stage as the Danish Prince in angry
search for closure following his father's murder. With the back of the
battleship grey stage lined with reel to reel tape recorders in what
appears to be an abandoned and possibly haunted house where the party
never stops, Hamlet and his pals attempt to capture the voice of his
father's spirit by way of a BBC Radiophonic Workshop style soundtrack
worthy of 1970s horror thriller, The Legend of Hell House.

Leading the charge in all this is Ferguson, who plays Hamlet as a
dour-faced pistol-packing wind-up merchant trying out different
versions of himself. One minute he has an old-school cassette deck
slung across his shoulder, interviewing Peter Guinness' Claudius and
Roberta Taylor's Gertrude like an on-the-spot reporter, the next …

Rachel Maclean – The Weepers

An Tober, Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Until September 27th
Four stars
The Scotch mist that wafts around Duart Castle at the opening of Rachel
Maclean's new film speaks volumes about where she's coming from in what
looks like a major leap towards something even more ambitious than her
previous work in this major commission for the Mull-based Comar
organisation. Films such as LolCats and Over The Rainbow became pop
cultural cut-ups featuring green-screen footage resembling Lady Gaga
and Katy Perry video stylings in which Maclean played a multitude of
day-glo Cos-playing creatures lip-synching dialogue sampled and
rearranged from a similarly eclectic array of film and TV sources to
create her own fantastical narratives.

Following her three-screen epic dissection of broken Britain in the
Oliver-sampling Happy and Glorious, however, The Weepers sees Maclean
put flesh and blood on her dressing-up box multi-tracking as she
directs real live actors in a bricks-and-mortar setting. Not that the…

Exhibit B - Should The Barbican Have Cancelled Brett Bailey's Edinburgh Hit?

When Brett Bailey's Third World Bunfight company presented Exhibit B as
part of the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival, the show's
twenty-first century reimagining of colonial era human zoos, when black
Africans were shown in front of their white thrill-seeking masters as
novelty artefacts to gaze on, garnered a slew of five-star reviews.

As someone who gave Exhibit B a five star review in this magazine, I
was aware before I saw the show's series of tableau vivant of the
accusations of racism that had been levelled against Bailey, a white
South African artist. These accusations came from protesters in various
countries where Exhibit B had been seen, as well as in Britain, where
it was set to transfer from Edinburgh to the Barbican's Vaults space in
London this week.

Today's announcement by the Barbican that their week-long showing of
Exhibit B has been cancelled following protests on the first night that
saw the road outside the venue blocked comes following an on…

John Byrne - Three Sisters

John Byrne hates exposition. In his own writing in now classic works
such as The Slab Boys and Tutti Frutti, his characters talk in baroque
flourishes of pop cultural patois that ricochet between them. In his
new version of Chekhov play, Three Sisters, however, which opens next
week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow before embarking on a national
tour, tackling such rich but exposition-laden source material hasn't
been easy.

“I love Chekhov,” Byrne says over a Cappuccino in Edinburgh's Filmhouse
cafe, “but you can only capture about a third of it, because it's
Russian. I thought The Seagull particularly was all exposition, all
that 'I dress in black because of my father's death' sort of thing,
which we're so unused to, characters describing themselves and saying
what's happening to them. So I wouldn't normally like that, but all
life is in Chekhov's plays.

“I chose an old literal translation of Three Sisters by some woman I
didnae know at all. It was…

Kill Johnny Glendenning

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
Wannabe gangsters take note. It's unlikely that anyone will ever be
able to take you seriously again after DC Jackson's scurrilous comedy
set in the mankiest of Ayrshire pig-farms. Here, would-be good fellas
Dominic and Skootch are holed up with tabloid hack Bruce as the mother
of all shoot-outs accidentally ensues. When smooth-talking MacPherson
turns up, his patter is just a curtain-raiser to what happens when
emigre Ulster Loyalist Johnny Glendenning finally shows face.

If this sounds like standard sub-Hollywood tough guy fare, Jackson's
play is delivered with such potty-mouthed filter-free glee as it piles
up the bodycount that it becomes both shocking and hilarious. While it
is a study too of West Coast of Scotland machismo and the perceived
glamour of being part of a gang, Jackson’s dialogue is peppered
throughout with the geekiest of pop cultural detritus. Computer games,
mobile phone apps, the restorative powers of Aswad, Bri…

The Greatest Little Republic (In The World!)

Mull Theatre
Three stars
On the vague off-chance that anyone has woken up in Utopia this
morning, it might be worth visiting the fictional town in Chris Lee's
new play for Mull Theatre to find out the extent to which such
Shangri-las can be spoilt. Loosely based on Andorra, by German writer
and contemporary of Bertolt Brecht, Max Frisch, Lee gives this epic
yarn a contemporary spin that goes way beyond his source's analogies to
his own era's cultural prejudices to capture something utterly current.

Ushered in with the sort of triumphalist fervour 
that would make a VisitScotland ad look understated,
Alasdair McCrone's production sets Lee's play in a walled city which,
while looking like an ancient Greek ruin, also oddly resembles McCaig's
Tower in Oban. Here a former war journalist drowns his sorrows while
his adopted daughter Anissah, seemingly an interloper from a land
regarded with suspicion, works the local bar. Forever close to her
brother Johan, played byJa…

Still Game

SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Four stars
Given that it was the over 60s demographic that swung the victory for
the No camp in this week's Scottish independence referendum, it's
something of a surprise that Scotland's most curmudgeonly OAP double
act, Jack and Victor, didn't lay their cards on the table last night in
the first of their twenty-one night stadium-sized stage version of Ford
Kiernan and Greg Hemphill's scurilous TV sit-com.

In the end politics didn't matter  much in a show that started off
simply enough as a series of routines were played out across Navid's
open all hours corner shop and the legendary Clansman bar where Gavin
Mitchell's bar-man Boabby held court to Winston, Tam, Isa and Navid.
Once we're ushered into Jack and Victor's front room, however, things
take a turn for the meta, as Kiernan and Hemphill take full advantage
of the live arena for a series of self-referential gags that resemble
something Pirandello might have w…

Vote For Me

The Arches, Glasgow
Three stars
“By taking away my choice,” Marcus Roche soft-soaps his audience at one
point, “you've given me my freedom.” Such sentiments may sound like
they've been crafted by the snake-oil salesman this writer, director,
performer and self-starting multi-tasker extraordinaire resembles.
Given that Roche was actually preparing to flog off his vote for
today's Scottish independence referendum as he toadied up to us with
such gloriously contrary platitudes, however, he's pretty much on the
money whatever the result.

Of course, as with the real-life ebay shyster who attempted to sell his
vote online, no back-handers were actually pocketed in Roche's
one-night only extrapolation of just how much money talks when politics
is involved.  Darting from laptop to lectern beneath two opposing flags
of convenience in his contribution to the Arches' Early Days Referendum
Festival, Roche does his bit for internationalism by way of soundbites
from French and…

Arika - Episode 6 – Make A Way Out of No Way

Tramway, Glasgow, Sept 26th-28th

When the Arika organisation took a side-step from curating experimental
music festivals in a now booming scene they laid the groundwork for
with their Instal and Kill Your Timid Notion events, the more
holistically inclined series of themed Episodes they embarked on seemed
to chime with a renewed hunger for ideas and seditious thought. While
Episodes still featured performances and screenings, they were
consciously not made the centrepiece of events that involved
discussions and debates which questioned the relationship between
artist and audience, and indeed the structures of such events

In Episodes 4 and 5, Arika concentrated on the musical and political
liberation expressed by the black community through jazz, and a similar
state of transcendence found for the Queer and Trans community through
the House Ballroom scene. Episode 6 in part fuses both experiences in
Make A Way Out of No Way, which over three days looks beyond the
nuclear famil…

Claude Closky – 10, 20, 30 and 40%

Summerhall, Edinburgh until September 26th
Three stars
They could be pages torn from an art-zine, an architect's portfolio or
a sketch-pad given to pre-schools on a rainy day, such is the playful
but matter-of-fact show-and-don't-tellness of French avant-savant
Claude Closky's new series of pen-and-ink miniatures. Spread across
four rooms in ascending or descending numerical order depending on
which way you go at it, a series of black ball-point pen lines mark out
assorted patterns on white paper sheets that fade into the background
of barely-there clip-frames or matching white wooden ones that form a
kind of camouflage in which even the bare floorboards seem to be in on
the act.

The lines themselves sit side-by-side by Closky, or form squares,
curves and triangles that could have been inked on using an old-school
Spirograph set or else Etch-a-Sketched into being to make up end-of
term games of Noughts and Crosses, Battleships and Hang the Man.  The
percentages themselves, sc…

The Mousetrap

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Three stars
Sixty-two years is a frightfully long time to keep a secret. Where
Agatha Christie's evergreen whodunnit is concerned, however, keeping
schtumm has transformed an inter-audience conspiracy into a global
institution which not even social media and the internet has betrayed.
With this in mind, there will be no spoiler alerts in what follows,
except to say that, in its depiction of how cruelly children can be
treated, this touring production that first flew its London coop two
years ago looks oddly current.

Set in a mansion turned guest house just opened by the increasingly
furtive Mollie and Giles Ralston, these refugees from the big city find
themselves fully booked with a house full of guests seeking shelter
from the storm, all of whom come clad in regulation dark overcoat,
muffler and face-concealing fedoras. A murder has been committed in
town, and, according to the game Sergeant Trotter, who skis into this
TripAdvisor nightmare in…

Brian Ferguson - Playing Hamlet

One could be forgiven for thinking that Brian Ferguson has just seen a
ghost. As he takes a lunchtime break from rehearsals for Dominic Hill's
new production of Hamlet, the actor playing the title role looks
suitably haunted and not a little drained from the experience.

“It's so big to do,” a breathless Ferguson reflects. “I didn't really
know, as a part, what it actually meant. Obviously every actor knows
the name Hamlet and the character of Hamlet, but I wasn't very well
versed in the play. I haven't seen many productions of Hamlet, so that
kind of cracking it open has been mind-boggling, really, to get the
opportunity to crawl around inside it has been incredible.”

Ferguson won't be drawn on Hill's approach to the play, nor to what his
own interpretation of Hamlet may end up as. All he'll admit to at this
stage is that, as the publicity photograph of him backed into a corner
sporting a contemporary dark suit on the show's flyers suggest, “It's


The Arches, Glasgow
Three stars
On the weekend before the Scottish independence referendum, it perhaps
wasn't unusual to witness someone all Bravehearted up in kilt and
Saltire face-paint going in to see a play called Wallace. Especially
when the play in question is the centrepiece of a mini referendum
festival thrown by the Arches called Early Days. As it turns out, the
audience member in question is one Wallace Williamson, a very special
guest of The Great Cause, a political chat show that forms the first
part of Rob Drummond's timely new play.

Also in attendance is an all too familiar parcel of rogues, including
Honourable Members from the SNP and Conservative Party, a newspaper
scandal-monger, a controversial comedian and the show's charming
hostess herself. As awkward questions are asked by a mix of plants and
the actual audience, some very dirty laundry is aired, revealing the
flawed human face behind the professional political classes.  A second
act lurch into historic…

Heather Phillipson – sub-fusc love-feast

Dundee Contemporary Arts until November 9th
Four stars
Playing God appears to come natural to Heather Phillipson as the
London-born poet, performer, sculptor and video artist gets back to
nature by way of a jungle full of photographic cut-out dioramas and
big-screen video cut-ups that suggests hat the so-called natural world
is not so much being tamed as remixed and reimagined.

Shown as part of the DCA's Discovery Film Festival, Phillipson's series
of multi-dimensional configurations move from Eden to Heaven, Hell and
other promised lands on earth as assorted fruits of the original sin
are blown up to juicily epic proportions. Wildlife, on the other hand,
look shrunken and out of proportion, while upside-down human limbs
offer something else to chew on as giraffes and pink flamingoes graze.
On the flipside of what are in fact a set of artfully arranged wooden
flats, the same swirly day-glo writing that provides animated captions
to the films point up the film-set style fakery of …

David Ireland - Kill Johnny Glendenning

When DC Jackson asked David Ireland what might be the Belfast-born
actor and playwright's ideal part, for a man who had nominally quit the
stage to concentrate on writing, it was a no-brainer.

“I said I'd love to play a psychopathic loyalist gun-man,” Ireland
remembers, “because it seemed that I only ever got to play losers.”

Ireland's declaration clearly lodged inside Jackson's pop culture
infested brain just as a bullet might. The result is The Killing of
Johnny Glendenning, Jackson's scurrilous comedy which looks at the
celebrity status of an imaginary set of Glasgow hard-men who live the
high-life while make-believing they're in a gangster film. Ireland
plays the title character in a play, which opens the Royal Lyceum
Theatre, Edinburgh's Autumn season with what one suspects will be a
bang before transferring to the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. An Ulster
gunman and self-publicist extraordinaire, Johnny is headed for the
mother of all showdow…

New Works 2014

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
It is an inspired idea, having young drama students on the verge of
going out into the world work with seasoned professional playwrights to
develop brand new works that stretch the talents of all involved. So it
is with the three new short plays by Clare Duffy, Jo Clifford and
Isabel Wright performed and directed as a series of double bills by the
graduates of the Royal Conservatoire Scotland 's MA Classical and
Contemporary Text course with support from Playwrights' Studio Scotland.

Clare Duffy's 1914 Machine starts off looking like a girl's own
adventure yarn, as female spy La Marquise flies across the English
channel to deliver secret war plans to the government, and ends up
lurching into a science-fiction future in which everyone communicates
through screens. Inbetween, La Marquise flies high with a pre-war
bohemian set for whom she supplies cocaine and some stolen radium that
might just hold the key to the future…

Mr Bolfry

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Three stars
A giant crucifix flanked by The Ten Commandments is the opening gambit
of director Patrick Sandford's wryly observed and all too rare revival
of James Bridie's World War Two era philosophical inquiry into good and
evil in a Wee Free Highland Manse. If this sounds like a wilfully
portentious statement, once the two squaddies stationed there, Cohen
and Cully, hook up with the minister McCrimmon's flighty niece Jean and
embark on a game that conjures up the Devil himself, the play more
resembles a fantastical TV show peopled by sophisticated demons who
spout long-winded monologues in pursuit of the souls of the youthful
and equally articulate gang tasked to thwart them.

If Bridie unwittingly penned an admittedly hokey template for Buffy,
Charmed, et al, Sandford's production remains rooted in the era it was
written in. Dougal Lee's smooth-talking Mr Bolfry breezes into the
manse's Sunday night austerity and offers up a litany on…

The Glass Menagerie

Dundee Rep
Four stars
When actor Robbie Jack takes the microphone as Tennessee Williams'
alter-ego Tom Wingfield at the start of Jemima Levick's post-modern
tinged revival of Williams' 1944 semi-autobiographical full-length
debut, he could be the compere of some latter day live art confessional
cabaret night channelling the spirits of Lenny Bruce and Eric Bogosian.
As Jack signals for the blank wall of Alex Lowde's clean-lined set to
raise, it's an unexpected opening to an openly sentimental affair more
regularly gift-wrapped in more traditional theatrical ribbons and bows.

Here, however, as type-written keywords from the script are projected
above to signal moments within moments, the play becomes Tom's work in
progress which he writes ever larger with every re-enactment he
conjures up in dreams haunted by  his mother Amanda and sister Laura.

The Wingfield apartment may be small, but it provides an escape route
for all. For Irene Macdougall's Amanda, forever t…

Sunset Song

Perth Concert Hall
Three stars
Like many women of her generation, there is something tragic about
Chris Guthrie, the heroine of Lewis Grassic Gibbons' A Scots Quair
trilogy of novels. Or at least that seems to be the case in this new
touring co-production between the enterprising Sell A Door Theatre
Company and Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, of Alastair Cording's
evergreen stage adaptation of the trilogy's first and best known part.

Here, book-loving free-spirit Chris, living off the land with her
bullying father John, ferociously played by Alan McHugh, and eternally
pregnant mother Jean, is forced to put aside her windswept ideals and
grow up too soon as she finds herself shunted by circumstance from one
patriarchy to another. Even the emancipation her inheritance provides
can't save her from the brutalising effects of little boys games,
although by the end, she finally seems to have found salvation of sorts.

The corrugated iron skyline of Jan Bee Brown's set lends an

Not About Heroes

Napier University, Edinburgh
Three stars
It is more than thirty years since Stephen McDonald's study of the
relationship between poets Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen while both
residents in the Edinburgh-based Craiglockhart War Hospital appeared
during MacDonald's tenure as artistic director of Dundee Rep. Arriving
in Edinburgh in a new touring production by Feelgood Theatre
Productions as the latest in a flurry of plays produced to commemorate
the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War,
the play's mix of poetry and condemnation looks more pertinent than

This is especially the case when performed inside the striking looking
building where Sassoon and Owen first met long before it became Napier
University's Craiglockhart campus. Here we see Owen as a young, nervy
and shell-shocked literary groupie who suddenly finds himself in the
same institution as one of his idols. While Owen is initially cowed,
under Sassoon's gui…

Gabriel Quigley - Spoiling

Scottish independence referendum pollsters take note. Gabriel Quigley
is here to help. It's not that the actress's current stage role as
Fiona, the first ever Foreign Minister in an independent Scotland in
John McCann's play, Spoiling, has gone to her head or anything. Neither
is it the fact that the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh's Festival Fringe
production of McCann's play, which is currently playing at the Theatre
Royal Stratford East in London, will return to the Traverse during the
week of the vote.

Indeed, Quigley will seize the reins of power as Fiona in Spoiling on
referendum night itself. It's just that, being a familiar face off the
telly in prime time comedies like Chewin' The Fat and the Karen Dunbar
Show, Quigley gets to chat to taxi drivers a lot. In the current
climate, there is pretty much only one subject that comes up.

“I'm doing a secret survey,” deadpans Quigley, spilling the beans that
YouGov and co have unilaterally failed to take into…

Kate Bush – Before The Dawn

Hammersmith Apollo, London
Five stars
  A flash of white lights up the blue, and Kate Bush leads her five
backing vocalists, who include her sixteen year old son, Bertie,
onstage in a jaunty conga as her seven-piece band kick into Lily, from
Bush's 1993 The Red Shoes album. Twelve nights into her twenty-two
night marathon, it's a playful opening to Bush's first live shows for
thirty-five years, which have rightly generated screeds of praise for
their inherent theatricality.

Over the course of three acts, a delighted Bush get back to her
pub-band roots in the first six numbers of sophisticated funk and a
couple of hits punctuated by showbizzy “I really hope you enjoy this,”
type cooings. This is followed by two suites, The Hounds of Love's The
Ninth Wave, and, following an interval, Aerial's A Sky of Honey,
performed in their entirety.

With dialogue by novelist David Mitchell and co-direction by former RSC
boss Adrian Noble,  these are revealed as a pair…

Delusion of the Fury

King's Theatre, Edinburgh

When Tom Waits hung his nightclub barfly shtick out to dry in favour of
something more primal with his 1983 Swordfishtrombones album, as
Tristram Bath made clear in a thirtieth anniversary study of the album
in The Quietus in September 2013, it was composer Harry Partch who in
part liberated Waits' muse. Partch, who died in 1974, built his own
instruments with extravagantly other-worldly sounding names such as the
Chromelodeon and the Quadrangularis Reversum. He also worked with
micro-tonal scales that ditched western systems for more
exotic-sounding sonic provocations gleaned from Africa and Japan.

Partch's interest in the East may have been voguishly in keeping with
the trappings of post World War Two modernist esoterica, but his
interests in ancient Greek drama and Japanese Noh theatre lent his
increasingly ambitious fusions of sound, song and spectacle a classical
formality that gave what was effectively the original junkyard
orchestra a gravita…

Nick Thomas - Who Built The Access Road?

Telfer Gallery, Glasgow
September 13th-28th
The missile testing range on South Uist built by the RAF in 1957 may
have been privatised in 2001, but the fascination of what is regarded
as the largest air and sea range in the UK goes on. Nick Thomas' filmic
portrait of Uist that makes up his show at the Telfer looks at the
impact of the range on those who live, work and have grown up in its
shadow that dominates a landscape where the ancient and modern rub up
against each other.

“There's also a consideration of the Catholic iconography of the area
and its historical role,” the Glasgow-based artist explains, “as public
art, in the initial ideological conflict around the site.”

Thomas' fascination with the site has seen him make other Uist-based
work since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2012, though this
is the most substantial piece to date, with much of its research
techniques learnt while Thomas worked on the moving image archive of
pioneering Sauchiehall Street arts l…