Skip to main content

The Venetian Twins

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

The accordion-led overture that ushers in Tony Cownie's new version of Carlo Goldoni's eighteenth century comic cut of mistaken identity speaks volumes about what follows. Sure enough, as soon as Angela Darcy's servant Columbina and her nice but dumb mistress Rosaura open their mouths, we're in old-school sit-com land.

Separated at birth, twins Zanetto and Tonino arrive separately in Verona for very different reasons. Where Zanetto is a bumbling half-wit who seems to have met his perfect match in Rosaura just as his servant Arlecchino does with Columbina, Tonino is a bum-slapping charmer who has been followed by Beatrice, a Freud-referencing suffragette who just can't help herself. Jessica Hardwick's Beatrice is pursued both by Tonino's man Florindo and by the flamboyant Lelio, played by James Anthony Pearson as a a ginger-wigged fop resembling a creature who looks somewhere between The Joker and Sideshow Bob.

While Cownie's own production has the action leap a century or so on from Goldoni's eighteenth century original, there's something wilfully unreconstructed about it, even as the patter is pure dead gallus. The manic result is a Victorian seaside vaudeville complete with a riot of painfully bad jokes which probably haven't been heard since a 1970s Crackerjack panto but with extra added innuendo. And yes, the pub really is called The Two Cocks.

Amid a coterie of cartoon style grotesques, Dani Heron's Rosaura is like a vicious pink cupcake in drag, mixing her metaphors with dolly dimple abandon. At the play's centre, however, is a gloriously schizophrenic turn from Grant O'Rourke, who as both siblings flits between pomposity and uselessness in this most self-consciously vulgar of carry ons.
 
The Herald, April 30th 2015

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…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…