Skip to main content

Much Ado About Nothing

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Three stars

It could easily feel like all your Christmases have come at once judging by the opening of Jennifer Dick's production of Shakespeare's original rom-com, performed here by MA students from the RCS' Classical and Contemporary Text course. The fairy-lit tree is in full bloom, the tartan curtains are pulled back and everybody's dressed in fifty shades of tweed in a modern dress take on things that appears to be set among the Highland horsey set with whom Don John's camouflage-clad regiment are decamped.

Eleanor Henderson's Beatrice more resembles a land girl as she spars with Duncan Harte's officer-class Benedick over Hogmanay while her cousin Hero and Benedick's sidekick Claudio have a seemingly more straightforward romance. As they eavesdrop in on the machinations they think they're party to, both B and B are unable to see the wood for the trees, the latter played rather splendidly by a cast led by Zoe Bullock's pint-sized apple-bearing sapling. While Bullock has even more fun as Dogberry, things take a darker turn in the second half prior to happy ever afters all round.

Rom-coms probably shouldn't last just shy of three hours, even with an interval, but there is so much comic business and contemporary extemporising grafted on so you can barely see the join that you can let Dick and co off for seriously good behaviour. Of course there's a ceilidh, but there's Burns, the Bay City Rollers and an anglicised mis-hear of Auld Lang Syne too. Even Alan Titchmarsh makes an appearance as both Henderson and Harte make the text sound under-statedly natural in this merriest of dramatic dances.

The Herald, March 7th 2016

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…