Skip to main content

Walker and Bromwich - The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership

Trinity Apse until August 27th
Four stars

Back at the end of July, passers by on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh were confronted with a giant inflatable green dragon and a display of mediaeval pageantry in which a procession of agitators attempted to slay the beast. The dragon was s emblazoned with the words, 'PUBLIC AND PRIVATE OWNERSHIP' on its front, and 'CORPORATE GREED' on its back. Some of those attempting to usurp it were tattooed with the word 'NATIONALISATION.' It looked like a satirical cartoon made flesh and acted out in a display that resembled something between a mummer's play and an episode of Horrible Histories.

This was By leaves we live...not by the jingling of our coins, the latest processional intervention by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, who have previously made weapons of happiness out of the pink blow-up artillery of Love Cannon (2005), which brightened the skies by firing pink balloons. This new intervention is inspired by an illustration found on a Northumberland Miners' Association banner from 1924 as well as nineteenth century anarchist pamphlets. It acted as a trailer of sorts for The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership, in which the dragon lays dormant until the end of Edinburgh Art Festival in the Old Town's suitably historic Trinity Apse building, having hot air blown up its arse all day long. A bunting strewn booth shows footage of By leaves we live... on a series of monitors.

The event itself subverted civic spectacle on a par with some of Jeremy Deller's parades, and also taps into a very real democratic need for collective participation in artistic acts rather than be mere passive observers. This recalls some of the outdoor spectacles of Welfare State International, as well as the early capers of Ken Campbell, Jeff Nuttall's adventures with The People Show and Albert Hunt's experiments with the Bradford Theatre Group. Like such forebears, Walker and Bromwich's intervention is a comic revolutionary provocation in which we can all join in, slaying dragons as we go.

The List, August 2017

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…

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…

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…