Skip to main content

Cockpit

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

'NO FIGHTING' says a makeshift banner hanging over the upper circle of the Lyceum auditorium as seen from the stage, where some of the audience are seated throughout Wils Wilson's production of Bridget Boland's little seen 1948 play. Set in a Berlin theatre used as a holding centre for displaced persons – refugees caught up in a post World War Two limbo and about to be exiled in alien and possibly hostile lands – the play's depiction of still warring factions in newly liberated Europe is both history and prophecy. The actuality sees Poles, Russians, Serbs and Croats at loggerheads, with a show of unity only emerging out of a crisis before hostilities flare up once more.

Boland's play is remarkable enough in its evocation of a conflict-riven Europe steeped in territorial suspicion and warped ideologies. By using the entire theatre as its stage, Wilson has herself broken through a symbolic barrier that makes for a thrilling theatrical experience. With a soundtrack of aching east European chorales pulled together by composer and musical director Aly Macrae, a twelve-strong international cast spill out across the space.

As Peter Hannah's out of his depth British soldier in charge attempts to navigate the tribalistic minefield, it is the devoted stage manager who understands the rituals of the building in ways the others don't, despite the drama they've brought into it. It is he too who suggests putting on a show to boost morale and distract from the everyday tragedy. What emerges from this is a stunning moment that shows the unifying power of the human voice. It shows too the reasons why people will forever join together for shared experiences like this, and why those who would have nations attack each other would rather have it silenced.

The Herald, October 12th 2017

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…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…