Skip to main content

Silver Threads

Paisley Arts Centre
Three stars

When you're handed a flyer supporting the workers while DJ Big Div plays civil rights tinged 1960s soul records, one might think Bruce Morton's new play is looking at a more recent protest movement than it is. Especially when a series of paisley pattern projections hinting at trippy Happenings to come punctuates each scene. In fact, Morton's hour-long comedy presented by producers Jim Lister and Stephen Wright's grassroots FairPley company is set in 1856 Paisley, when the weavers who produced such swirly patterns were fighting for a living wage.

The play focuses on Davie McKenzie, who starts both his day and the play by punching a horse, and ends it by resisting the financial advances of works foreman Andrew Galbraith, his integrity intact. Inbetween, he comes into contact with real life emancipated slave and funk-soul brother Frederick Douglass, all the while running the gauntlet of his much put-upon wife Hannah.

All this is presented in Philip Differ's one-off showcase production in a mixture of monologue and routines that show-off Morton's stand-up roots by way of some hip to the minute colloquialisms that mashes up past and present with possible futures ahead. With Morton himself playing a Scrooge-like Galbraith opposite Neil Leiper, who plays Davie as a hapless galumph with a heart of gold, the play taps into a form of righteous localism that may be rough around the edges, but has the audience booing the boss's lackey. As part of the welter of activity on the back of Paisley's bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, radical history reinvented as a sit-com with a conscience is a fine way to start.

The Herald, July 6th 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…