Skip to main content

Martin Creed's Words and Music

The Studio, Edinburgh International Festival 
Four stars

The words 'YES' and 'NO' flash up in turn on a screen at the back of the stage. The array of guitars, speakers and a laptop in front of it suggest an intimate gig of a grassroots persuasion. Whether any of this is still in place by the end of Turner Prize winning polymath Martin Creed's three week late night run remains to be seen. Creed, as he is at pains to point out, doesn't want to repeat himself in any way. In the spirit of such good intentions, no spoiler alerts are required here, for a show which effectively does what it says on the tin, but which finds its eccentric auteur questioning his every action.

“I made some notes,” Creed says, after breezing on with two large jotters under his arm. He looks somewhere between a 1970s social studies lecturer and the same era's edition of Donald Sutherland. “But whatever the opposite of taking notes is, I don't want that.”

Over the next eighty minutes, Creed's obsessively symmetrical lines of inquiry are guffaw-inducingly funny and chin-scratchingly profound. It's as if he is the result of some Frankenstein's monster style experiment that fused Billy Connolly, Albert Einstein and a friendly Mark E Smith, and lived to tell the tale. Creed revels in his own perceived failures, and muses on what might happen if he met himself and was too polite to point out the rubbish he was talking. He explores the soup of his own mind, and sings raw minimalist ditties that put him in attractive opposition to himself. As waywardly joyful as this is, be aware none of it may happen tonight. Visit often.

The Herald, August 7th 2017

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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 …