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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 

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