Skip to main content

The Silent Treatment

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars

A ticking clock is pretty much the only sound to be heard as the massed ranks of Lung Ha Theatre Company enter what looks like an old-fashioned school-room one by one at the opening of Douglas Maxwell's new play. With the procession itself delivered with masterly deadpan aplomb, what follows concerns the comic consequences of a sponsored silence being held to raise funds for the seriously ill mother of teenage Billie, who is also taking part in the event.

It is Billie herself, however, who is unable to keep her mouth shut for more than a few seconds, whereupon her exclusion from the quietude prompts an altogether noisier vow as Billie co-opts new girl Stacey to help cause as much disruption as possible. What follows is a series of extended cartoon-style sketches that overlap, collide into and tumble over each other by way of a loose-knit narrative that puts Billie and Stacey's Wile E. Coyote style attempts at sabotage at its centre. Pivoting around this is a blossoming romance, a quintet of bowler-hatted builders and a game of pass the parcel with the broken head of a religious statue.

Maria Oller's jaunty production capitalises on the sheer ridiculousness of Maxwell's set-up by navigating her twenty-strong ensemble led by Nicola Tuxworth and Emma Clark as Billie and Stacey through all this on Jessica Brettle's set with prat-falling knockabout glee. This is aided hugely by a musical score by MJ McCarthy that bubbles under the action throughout, and which sounds part silent movie, part 1970s sit-com. While chattier than advertised, Maxwell's script fizzes with invention and a playfulness that speaks volumes in a way that words can't always muster.

The Herald, April 4th 2016

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

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…