Skip to main content

A Night to Remember


Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

A hundred years ago, the Citizens Theatre was the Royal Princess’s, a variety dive catering to what was left of the masses in the fallout of the First World War. As the Citz’s current incumbents prepare to move out of their Gorbals home for two years pending a multi-million pound upgrade, it’s only fitting that the final show on the main stage as it stands looks back to a time when the building’s grandeur perhaps wasn’t so faded.

With almost fifty performers onstage drawn from the Citz’s assorted community companies, initially this looks set to be a braw night of fun and frolics, especially as MC’d by tartan-trewed turn and the theatre’s then director-manager, Rich Waldon, brought to life with grotesque gusto by Alan McHugh. As soon as one Dorothy Donaldson breaks ranks and the motley crew onstage realise they are the ghosts of Citizens Theatres past, things take a different turn in Guy Hollands and Neil Packham’s expansive production of Peter Arnott’s meticulously researched script.

 Drawn from the real life history of Dorothy and her dad Ronald, the effect is a ribald but increasingly angry collage of high-end agit-prop that moves from Pirandellian archness by way of Oh What A Lovely War. Arnott, Hollands and Packham are really going for broke here, both in the show’s unflinching anti-war sentiments and in the monumental stage pictures created by the ensemble under the eye of movement director Jen Edgar.

All this combines to create what is possibly the closest and most powerful near neighbour to a Joan Littlewood style epic by, for and about the people that you’re likely to see on a stage for a good couple of years. Possibly, in fact, until the Citz reopens for a brand new era. The theatre’s ghosts may linger still.

The Herald, May 25th 2018

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…