Skip to main content

Charlie Sonata

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

The last time Douglas Maxwell developed a play with students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland it finished up as Fever Dream: Southside, this year's main-stage professional offering at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Whether this picaresque metaphysical fantasia will go the same way following Matthew Lenton's production performed in the Tron's bijou Changing House space by an ensemble of final year BA Acting students remains to be seen, but there are similarities.

Lenton's production finds Charlie 'Chick' Sonata slumped unconscious, a hip-flask by his side. Around him carouse the flotsam and jetsam of a life carelessly lived, a mixture of now domesticated drinking buddies, old flames and accidental angels who seem to have embarked with Chick on some celestial bender. Sat round a hospital bed where teenage Audrey lays unconscious, Chick's life flashes across his eyes as he is lurched Scrooge-like across a life-long mid-life crisis that leaves him only wanting to do good.

Over a slow-burning ramble through the thwarted ambitions of a soft play area manager and the sexual peccadilloes of Latvian ballet dancers, some kind of fairy-dust is sprinkled onto Chick's world enough to make it a matter of life and death. Maxwell and Lenton's dramatic concerns are well met in this respect, as their nine actors navigate their way through something that more resembles a surrealist tone poem than a play per se. Onstage throughout, the likes of Carly Tisdall's all dressed up Meredith and Dan Cahill's Jackson offload their own chemically enhanced lost years. But this is Nebli Basani's show. As Chick, he is a guileless mess of contradictions in a play that allows its hero to finally find his wings.
 
The Herald, June 8th 2015
 
ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…