Skip to main content

The Broons

Perth Concert Hall
Three stars

The Broons annual isn't just for Christmas, it seems, in this bumper-sized staging of Dudley D Watkins' eighty-year old comic strip family, brought to life by writer Rob Drummond and director Andrew Panton for the Sell A Door company in association with Perth Theatre. It begins with Maw Broon attempting to round up her brood for a family snapshot on a stage already framed by cartoon portraits of the clan set against a jumbo-sized logo. As resident glamour-puss Maggie announces her impending wedding, Drummond put flesh and blood on the characters in a topsy-turvy mix of knowingness and nostalgia.

The dramatic portrait that follows lays bare a matriarchal microcosm of working class family life stuck in a Sisyphean limbo of everyday adventures where nothing ever changes. While there is much fun to be had from the eleven-strong ensemble's studies of all that is braw with Maw, Pa, Grandpa and co, Drummond paints them as a not always happy breed desperate to burst out of the one-dimensional frame that defines them and chase their dreams of leaving. Somehow, though, you know Hen and his existential crisis are never going to find themselves in Australia, Daphne will still be pining for a man, and even swotty Horace is unlikely to make it to Mars.

Joyce Falconer lends Maw a big-hearted brassiness in a show where dysfunction and arrested development give way to a full-on rock and roll musical that features every Scottish archetype under what is probably a tartan-draped Sun. During the pop-tastic finale it's a wonder that Jesse Rae doesn't bound on wielding a claymore to declaim one more overblown anthem. Now that really would be braw.

The Herald, October 3rd 2016

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

Nomanslanding

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 …