Skip to main content

Birdheart

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

On a table-top size desert landscape, a solitary egg sits in the spotlight as the sound of the tide ebbs and flows around it. By the end of Julian Crouch and Saskia Lane's thirty-five minute epic that formed part of the Manipulate visual theatre festival's Wednesday night programme, all life will have stemmed from it. As the egg bursts open as operated by Crouch and Lane with concentrated diffidence, a brown bag blows in, unfurls itself and puts flesh and bones on an ever morphing creation that slowly finds its uneasy feet. From a stumblebum gangle to an imperious stride, this ever-expanding new-born sheds skins and grows stronger with every wobbly step.

At first glance this all seems a far cry from Crouch's large-scale spectacles as a designer and director with Improbable Theatre on the likes of Shockheaded Peter and the company's collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland on a staging of Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls. Lane, meanwhile, is best known as a musician who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce and the Kronos Quartet inbetween co-leading the band, The Lascivious Biddies. In their first collaboration as duo puppeteers, however, the pair have created a work of intricate grace and beauty.

In a show commissioned by the New York-based VisionIntoArt and National Sawdust organisations, and with support from several other producers including the Henson Foundation, at times Birdheart's crumpled protagonist is a lonely Lear left in the wilderness, at others an equally solitary Canute watching the waves. The light shed on what lies within him enters the realms of magical realism before he finally takes flight, completing the evolutionary circle as he goes in beguiling miniature.

The Herald, February 4th 2016

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…