Skip to main content

The Bridge

North Edinburgh Arts, Edinburgh
Three stars

Bells chime and voices sing in what sounds like a mix of celebration and mourning at the opening of Annie George's solo play, performed by herself during the closing stages of a short tour following its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run. As we see projections of George writing out her own name at the bottom of her family tree, a very personal quest for identity ensues as she dramatises her inquiry into her own history through the voices of her ancestors who become witnesses to a world in turmoil.

The starting point for this is the life and work of George's grand-father, Paduthottu Mathen John, whose portrait is projected as George adopts his persona to illustrate her hand-me-down legacy. She does this too through snapshots of her mother and father as her family eventually move to the west and a less turbulent way of life than in both pre and post colonial India.

There is considerable charm in George's impressionistic labour of love, much of which comes from a performance that isn't afraid to leave herself vulnerable but which can be steely when it needs to be. Pulsed along by an exquisite score by Niroshini Thambar that lends both the text and visuals a richness and a depth that also gives what could be an overly dense rendering space to breathe.

In terms of showing how global events can have an often life-changing effect on everyday lives, this is an intimate excavation of a hidden past that sees George reclaim her roots and present them as an elegiac multi-media tone-poem. “We are history,” she says at one point, taking charge of everything and everyone that defines her.

The Herald, October 27th 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…

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…