Skip to main content

Real Magic

The Studio
Four stars

“Sometimes the answer to your problem is right in front of you,” says one of the three performers in Forced Entertainment's black humoured study of being trapped in a hell of one's own making. By this time, Jerry Killick, Richard Lowden and Claire Marshall have spent the best part of an hour jumping in and out of dancing chicken costumes as each takes it in turn to try and guess the word one or the other is thinking. With canned laughter and taped applause under-scoring their efforts, at first it looks like classic prime time showbiz fodder for the masses, who might go willing to hail any act that's thrown in front of them, no matter how rubbish they might be.

As they attempt to bludgeon their shtick into submission ad nauseum, the trio's efforts become louder, more frantic and increasingly desperate, even as the solution to all their problems is staring them in the face. Like Samuel Beckett's assorted double acts, they only have their routines to pass the time, but find themselves stuck in a locked groove, unable to take the necessary leap forward to transcend their lot. It seems no coincidence either that one of the many questions repeated by each performer in turn is “What is the word?”, a question mark away from the title of Beckett's final poem, written for director and fellow traveller Joseph Chaikin after he was struck with aphasia.

Tim Etchells' production, devised with the company, pushes the potential for tedium to the limit, but somehow transcends it to become painfully profound. As millions line up to humiliate themselves in public elsewhere, this is entertainment. This is fun.

 
The Herald, August 24th 2017

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

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…

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…