Skip to main content

The Lover

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars


From it's opening piano notes to its last declaration of undying love, something very fragile lies at the heart of this impressionistic staging of two novels by French writer Marguerite Duras. Adapted and co-directed by choreographer Fleur Darkin and Stellar Quines theatre company director Jemima Levick, the pair look to both the title book and its reimagining as The North China Lover for their slow-burning re-telling of Duras' quasi-autobiographical story. This involves a teenage girl's erotic awakening as she embarks on an affair with a wealthy Chinese man in an already sultry colonialist Indo-China.

The story is ostensibly told by Susan Vidler's nameless older Woman, whose fractured monologue over the performance's ninety-minute duration reflects on one of the key moments that defined her life. As she watches over her own past, that moment is brought to life by a quartet of dancers led by Amy Hollinshead as the Woman's younger self. All words spoken between Hollinshead’s Girl, Yosuke Kusano's Man and the Girl's brothers and poverty-stricken mother are heard recorded in a woman's voice acting out each part as they lip-synch along. All, that is, except the final ones.

Darkin and Levick’s co-production between the Lyceum, Stellar Quines and the Darkin-led Scottish Dance Theatre makes for a delicious concoction that goes beyond words to create something infinitely more sensual. As Hollinshead's Girl takes the leap to create her own story beyond playing a bit-part in others, her getting of wisdom is key to this. This is heightened by the gossamer-light landscape of Leila Kalbassi's set and Emma Jones' lighting.

Pulsed by Torben Lars Sylvest's languid musical mash-up of chic fourth world rhythms and avant-cabaret nouveau chansons, what emerges is an ennui-laden living collage of sound and vision, where past, present and possible futures converge as one.

The Herald, January 29th 2018

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…