Skip to main content

Love Song

Dundee Rep
Four stars

When damaged loner Beane's apartment is burgled, his life is turned upside down at the opening of John Kolvenbach's play, which has travelled the world since it first arrived onstage in Chicago in 2006. Beane's wake up call is mainly due to the lifeline brought to him by Molly, a puckish sprite with a guitar slung over her shoulder and a penchant for doing things she shouldn't. This is in stark contrast to Beane's sister Joan, who lives upstate with her avuncular husband Harry, in the thick of an altogether more domesticated dream than her brother. It is through Beane's wide-eyed imaginings, however, that Joan and Harry learn to play at being kids again, while Beane himself gets his house in order, with or without Molly to spark off.

By putting such seemingly contrasting sets of lives on a revolving stage, director Andrew Panton captures a world in motion not of Kolvenbach's characters making. There are no hints of how they got where they are or any kind of back-story to explain what left Beane sop awry, but in the end that doesn't really matter in a play that marks out a necessary process of survival and rebirth after the crash.

Emily Winter and Barrie Hunter invest Joan and Harry with a highly-strung uptightness that gradually mellows, and Sarah Swire's Molly is the ultimate free spirit, who also provides the soundtrack to Beane's own liberation as played by Ewan Donald with beatific off-kilter charm. As fantasy and reality meet, the play's feelgood ending makes clear how all it takes to stop the world collapsing in on you is to let in a little light.

The Herald, April 22nd 2016



Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

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…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …