Skip to main content

Lot and His God

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars


It's hard to gauge exactly who's turned on the most in Howard Barker's
erotically charged reimagining of the Bible's Old Testament myth set in the last
days of Sodom. It might well be Daniel Cahill's horny angel, here named Drogheda
and sent down by God to save Lot and his wife from the destruction that's about
to wipe out the original Sin City. Or it could be Lot's wife Sverdlosk, played
by Pauline Knowles as a faithless drop-dead femme fatale resembling the
shoe-hoarding wife of a deposed dictator on the run, who gets her kicks by
defying Drogheda's celestial intervention.

Cliff Burnett's Lot, meanwhile, works himself into a lather over even the idea of Sverdlosk and
Drogheda embarking on a last-gasp pre-apocalyptic liaison. It might also be worth keeping
an eye on Ewan Somers' silently disdainful waiter who  clearly has ideas above
his station.

Debbie Hannan's production of Barker's late period chamber piece
sets out its store in a decrepit café where anything civilised has been
jettisoned to the dustbin of history, and only the sacred profanities of
language remain. As delivered by Hannan's cast in the Citz's stripped back
Circle Studio space, a near declamatory relishing of Barker's poetry makes for
an electric set of power games to witness.

Seen only once before on a British stage, Barker's play forms part of the Up Close season of work to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the long lost Close Theatre. With a libertine morality
at play, rather than Sverdlosk looking back at the decadent world where she
thrived, in Barker's version, at least, it is God who is left behind and
rendered speechless.

The Herald, October 8th 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…

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…

James Ley - Love Song to Lavender Menace

James Ley had never heard of Lavender Menace when he won an LGBT History Month Scotland Cultural Commission award to write a new play. While Edinburgh's pioneering gay book shop that existed between 1982 and 1987 before reinventing itself in new premises as West and Wilde wasn't on Ley's radar, he had vaguely heard of the Gentlemen's Head Quarters, the nickname for the public toilet that existed at the east end of Princes Street outside Register House. He was also half aware of Fire Island, the legendary gay nightclub that existed at the west end of Princes Street in a space that now forms the top floor of Waterstone's book shop.

As he discovered, Fire Island was a central focal point for what was then a still largely underground gay scene in Edinburgh's capital. Alongside the likes of the Laughing Duck pub on Howe Street, Fire Island was one of the few places where HI-NRG music could be heard in what would these days be dubbed a safe space for gay men and wo…