Skip to main content

The Deep


Anatomy Rooms, Aberdeen
Four stars

With the fishing industry very much in the news just now, the young Aberdeen-based 10ft Tall theatre company couldn’t have timed their revival of Graeme Maley’s vivid Scots adaptation of Icelandic writer Jon Atli Jonasson’s bleakly poetic one-man play better. This is no polemic, however, but a haunting internal monologue that lays bare the brutal fragility of everyday life when thrown to the mercy of the elements.

Cameron Mowat’s beautifully poised production starts off looking like a folk pub story-telling session, with actor Andy Clark and fellow performer Kevin Lennon, here in his sound designer guise, wielding banjo and guitar as the audience enter. It’s a deceptively comforting opening, with Clark’s young fisher-man sucker-punching us even more as he begins what appears to be a campfire shaggy dog yarn about his working day.

From his opening yawn, the fisher-man’s descriptions of his vividly hum-drum world are comically ribald thumb-nail sketches translated into routines worthy of Under Milk Wood. His old Ma’, the girl he fancies and the tough, weather-beaten bruisers he works besides below deck are all in the mix. The re-enactment of the final scene of Titanic is a work of art in itself. Once the tide turns, however, the young man’s life hangs perilously in the balance.

Mowat, Clark, Lennon and the rest of the 10ft Tall team have breathed enough fresh life into Jonasson’s text, first seen in Maley’s version at Oran Mor in Glasgow a few years back, for it to be able to claim modern classic status. The localised demotic is vital here to make it even richer in a production which, seen in a venue that is clearly Aberdeen’s greatest artistic secret (hands off, property developers), shows off the full potential of investing in grassroots artistic activity in the north-east.

The Herald, March 22 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…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…