Skip to main content

Wallace

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 historical territory is followed by Wallace's attempts
to make amends for being a small nation's accidental laughing stock.

With Drummond himself playing Wallace in David Overend's production
co-commissioned by the Arches and what for the time being at least we
must call the National Theatre of Great Britain, the result is a
typically Drummondesque mix of a pop culture facade that ushers in some
deceptively serious dramatic, philosophical and moral points about
politics and what passes for democracy. While there's a lot to grab
hold of, given that Wallace is still a work in development nurtured by
the National Theatre Studio, one wonders how it will contextualise
itself once the referendum is history. For the time being, at least,
freedom seems to reign.

The Herald, September 16th 2014


ends 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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 …

High Society

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars

The stage looks gift-wrapped with a sparklingly expensive bow at the opening of John Durnin's revival of Arthur Kopit's Cole Porter based musical that reinvigorates the starry 1956 film where it originated. With the film itself drawing from Philip Barry's play, The Philadelphia Story, Kopit and Porter's depiction of the Long Island jet set says much about over-privileged party people, but retains a fizz that keeps it going till all passion is seemingly spent.
The action is based around the forthcoming nuptials of drop-dead gorgeous society gal and serial bride, Tracy Lord. With her daddy having run off with a show-girl, and ex beau next door CK Dexter Haven set sail for other shores, Tracy settles for George, a stinking rich would-be president for whom stupidity, as someone observes, sits on his shoulders like a crown. Enter Tracy's match-making kid sister Dinah and a pair of reporters for a trashy scandal sheet looking to stit…