Skip to main content

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. Developed through improvisations with drama students at
Royal Conservatoire Scotland, Tragic takes Shakespeare's complex verse
and renders it in a demotic that, while still poetically vivid, is easy
enough for young actors to deliver and for audiences to get to grips
with without ambiguity.

If overdone this could be patronising for all concerned, but over
seventy-five minutes it becomes as current as the version of
Shakespeare's original currently running at the Citizens Theatre. In
his determined but ultimately self-destructive confessional, the figure
presented by Heggie and Purden Brown is as much Holden Caulfield as
Hamlet, and the play both his diary and his last words and testament.

The Herald, September 30th 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…

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…

Nomanslanding

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 …