Skip to main content

The Lonesome West

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

The felt-tip and sticky-taped on V shapes that adorn the dilapidated living room occupied by the two warring siblings at the centre of Martin McDonagh's 1997 play say everything about their relationship. As daubed on by a bear-like Valene marking territory from his biscuit tin of booze to his mantlepiece of religious figurines, the V could be for victory, however pyrrhic, over his equally volatile brother Coleman. If not, it could be marking out the v that divides gladiatorial combatants before they go into battle.

This is evident from even the most casual of sparring as Coleman and Valene return from their father's funeral with Father Welsh to act as referee as much as failed spiritual guide. Temptation for them all comes in the form of teenage wild child Girleen. Left to their own devices, however, Coleman and Valene continue a tug of war that increasingly becomes a very dangerous matter of life and death.

Andy Arnold's new production of McDonagh's manic sit-com adds nuance to an increasingly crazed situation, never allowing Keith Fleming and David Ganly's ferocious double act as Coleman and Valene to over-heat in the way that Valene's figurines do after they're thrown unceremoniously into the stove like born again tin soldiers at the gates of Hell. Biblical references are there too in Michael Dylan's Father Welsh and Kirsty Punton's Girleen. These are at their most obvious in the

rally of confession and forgiveness that sees the brothers square up to each other across the kitchen table. Like grand-masters in search of checkmate, as they attempt to reconcile their differences, the only thing left for them to have faith in is each other.

The Herald, July 11th 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…