Skip to main content

The Bruce in Ireland

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
Three stars

In a muddy bog, Robert The Bruce is crowned king of Scots after crushing the English and claiming the throne as his own. As with history, it is Bruce's younger brother Edward you have to keep an eye on in Ben Blow's speculative reimagining of the Bruce boys post-Bannockburn assault on Ireland, produced here by the Edinburgh-based Black Dingo Productions.

Like a Shakespearian villain on the make, Gerry Kielty's Edward snipes from the sidelines prior to a power-hungry burst of sibling rivalry that sees him left to his own manipulative devices on Irish soil, intent on creating a kingdom of his own. Once in the wilds with his troops, he encounters Failtrail, a young milkmaid who is forced to sing for him before the two face up to the dehumanising realpolitik of power games and become accidental allies,

Director Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir sets all this in the bleakest of landscapes in a meditation on war which sounds at times like a grittily stylised Bruce for the Game of Thrones generation. As bullets fly and the bodycount mounts, Blow's rich and at times very fine exchanges are broken up by Pathe-style archive film footage cut up and recontextualised in such a way to give the play even more of a contemporary kick. The twists and twangs of composer Tom Oakes's broodingly apocalyptic guitar-led underscore enhance the mood even more.

Kielty lends a swagger to Edward in Sigfrusdottir's atmospherically roughshod affair. In the end, both he and Kirsty Ella McIntyre's equally opportunistic Failtrail have the air of outlaws, feasting on the blood of the fallen in order to survive.

The Herald, November 6th 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…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…