Skip to main content

The Tempest

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Three stars

In the darkness, a Pierrot-faced Ariel pads her way onto a stage littered with a tower of computer monitors. She climbs aloft a box, and with the wave of a hand, conjures up a storm that's beamed out from the screens and made flesh by some very regal looking castaways. So begins Ali de Souza and Katy Hale's look at Shakespeare's late period tale of exile, reconciliation and letting go for Prospero beyond his solitary kingdom, and adult awakenings for his daughter Miranda. There are new freedoms to be explored too for Ariel, as played by Alyssa Wininger, and for Prospero's slave, Caliban, brought to ferocious life by Oystein Schiefloe Kanestrom.

First up, however, is a father and daughter heart to heart between Laurence Pybus' Prospero and Lauren Grace's Miranda, stepping among ship-wrecked bodies splayed out on the shore as they go. Among the debris is Sebastian, played here by Jessica Brindle as the sister of Luke O'Doherty's Alonso. Such gender-bending allows for a hitherto unexplored erotic frisson between her and Wesley Jones' thrusting Antonio, before Brindle changes into a chef's outfit for comic fun doubling up as Stephano alongside Sam McInerney's Trinculo.

Performed by second year RCS acting students, De Souza and Hale's production was first seen in October, when it toured China as part of this year's Beijing College Student Drama Festival. This makes for a set of understandably bedded-in performances, from all those mentioned as well as Adler Hyatt's square-jawed Ferdinand. This is Kanestrom's show, however, as he comes out snarling as a feral, shaven-headed Caliban, off the leash and gorging on every new experience he can.

The Herald, December 10th 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…