Skip to main content

Love from a Stranger

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

To suggest that Lucy Bailey’s staging of Agatha Christie’s double-bluffing yarn concerning a murderous affair between a couple on the run lulls the audience into a false sense of security is something of an understatement. In fact, things go round town and country houses for so long before getting to the point one wonders at times where exactly it’s headed for. None of this is the fault of Bailey or the cast of Frank Vosper’s adaptation of Christie’s short story, Philomel Cottage, updated here to the 1950s. It’s just that, for all the dark-room black-outs and red-outs on Mike Britton’s modernist des-res set, the script needs the sharpest of knives taken to it to give things the full oomph required.

Bayswater gel Cecily finds herself in a whirlwind romance with American pretty-boy charmer Bruce after he views the flat-share she’s vacating to marry drippy Michael, who’s just returned from Sudan. After assorted shenanigans involving Cecily’s flat-mate Mavis and her annoying aunt, Michael is left in the lurch. By the second act, Cecily and Bruce are shacked up in a crumbling West Sussex pile. It is here things take an infinitely darker turn, even with the light relief of an ancient gardener and his nosy grand-daughter, not to mention an amateur criminologist quack.

With a panoply of psycho-sexual sport at play in a show led by Helen Bradbury and Sam Frenchum as the dangerously impulsive new couple, there are clear shades of The League of Gentlemen at play here, however accidental. This just about gets past some of the dialogue’s cottage cheese in a gloriously amoral piece of cut-glass froth so magnificently unlikely that evidence of its two-faced bid for credibility would almost certainly never stand up in court.

The Herald, June 6th 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…