Skip to main content

Much Ado About Nothing

Dundee Rep
Four stars

There may have been a summer nip in the air in Dundee on Saturday night, but onstage in Irene Macdougall's grandiloquent looking revival of Shakespeare's most serious of rom-coms, heat was being generated on every level. On the Sicilian streets crickets chirrupped through the night, but when Beatrice and Benedick rubbbed up against each other in a mutual desire to prove who was cleverer, the temperature soared.

In Emily Winter and Robert Jack's hands, such japes look closer to flirting than fighting, with the ongoing sexual chemistry palpable to all except those directly involved. Such a fine romance is offset by the more troubling affair between Hero and Claudio as manipulated by Ali Watt's scheming Don John. In this way, the light and shade of the play is starkly realised, with a clear lurch into darkness at the top of the second half.

While there are plenty of biscuit-coloured pillars and hidey holes to manipulate all manner of indiscretions from, Macdougall and designer Ken Harrison keep the stage expansive enough to allow the cast to navigate their way through each intrigue.

But above all, this is an actor's play, and, as the play's central couple, Winter and Jack rise to the occasion with an increasingly frantic comic energy that permeates throughout. When the penny finally drops and Benedick attempts to be both deep and macho, Beatrice swats him away like the silly boy he is. Marli Siu and Ewan Somers provide a counterpoint as Hero and Claudio, in a vivid and handsome interpretation of a play that revels in how beautifully mixed up a love story can be.

The Herald, June 13th 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…