Skip to main content

Get Carter

Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

The coffin that sits centre stage at the opening of Northern Stage's new dramatisation of Ted Lewis' grim slice of post-1960s pulp fiction is as symbolic of the demise of northern England's industrial powerhouse as the mountain of bricks behind it. It is also what drags local tough guy made good Jack Carter back from the affluent south to make a prodigal's return to bury his brother Frank. What Jack returns to, as anyone who has seen Mike Hodges' iconic big-screen 1971 adaptation will know, is a murky world of back-street gangsterism that preys on an acquisitive desperation for the good life flogged off as cheap thrills. Booze, home-made porn and bent slot machines are all fair game.

By returning to Lewis' book, writer Torben Betts and director Lorne Campbell manage to fill in the blanks the film left out through a last-gasp interior monologue cum confessional that lays bare Jack's own messed-up psychology in an even more messed-up world. Jack is played by Kevin Wathen, who leads a cast of seven with a steely fury that gives the piece its perverted moral compass in the face of a grotesquely observed array of reptilian hit-men and molls.

Frank is personified onstage by jazz drummer Martin Douglas, whose pitter-pattering brush strokes sound increasingly like a death knell. Surrounded by the damaged goods of the never-had-it-so-bad years, Jack also exposes how the dream of post-war urban renewal became a pyre of civic corruption fuelled by empire-building greed. All of this is shot through with the depth and intensity of Greek tragedy in a stylish and unremitting piece of slow-burning brutalist noir.


The Herald, March 11th 2016

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…