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Showing posts from January, 2020

Gair Dunlop - Europe Endless: a performance for handbells

As Britain leaves Europe for now at least on the back of the Brexit referendum, the artistic response has been one of muted mourning and quiet defiance. Both notions are embodied in Europe Endless: A performance for handbells, a video work by Gair Dunlop and Lucy Smith, which films a performance of Smith’s handbell arrangement of the opening track of Kraftwerk’s 1977 album, Trans-Europe Express.
Played by a cross-generational team of ten volunteers from various European nations, Smith’s arrangement takes Ralf Hutter’s romantic electronic meditation on Europe and transforms it into a piece of participatory art in which communication and co-operation are crucial to its execution.
Where Hutter’s lyrics speak of ‘Parks, hotels and palaces, ‘Promenades and avenues’ and ‘Elegance and decadence’ as observed through a fast-moving train window, Dunlop and Smith use the grounds of the ruined Balmerino Abbey in Fife as a backdrop for a wordless and elegiac rendition of an already ennui-laden song.…

Adrift

Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow Four stars
It’s time to sink or swim for Cammy, the young woman at the centre of Catriona McNicoll’s new play, performed by an eighteen-strong crew from the Citizens Theatre Young Company. Cammy is in a coma in a hospital bed after trying to kill herself. Her mum may be at her bedside along with assorted doctors and nurses, but Cammy’s fevered imagination has got the better of her and left her all at sea, where she embarks on a trip to some far off horizon she’s never visited before.
With her bed transformed into a sailing ship, whether her maiden voyage is a one-way ticket to oblivion or not depends on whether she lets the not so brave Captain beside her take the steering wheel. Far better at navigating is the ship’s engineer, while assorted stowaways bob in and out of view along with a Busby Berkeley style chorus that takes Cammy’s fantasia into far stranger waters.
Running just over an hour long, McNicoll’s play dives head-first into Cammy’s all too lu…

Martin Travers – The Citizens Theatre WAC Ensemble and Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?

Martin Travers had always wanted to write a punk play. Although he was still a toddler when the Sex Pistols were causing outraged headlines in the tabloids of the ‘filth and the fury’ variety, Travers’ two elder brothers were punks, turning the world day-glo with anarchic abandon.
Being commissioned to write what turned out to be Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, then, was a dream come true for Travers, and resulted in a play set in 1978, a not so golden era of high unemployment and political unrest amongst an entire generation of disaffected youth. Up step local heroes The Jaggy Nettles, a band whose fifteen minutes of infamy might already be up.
Such a set-up is perfect material for the debut production from the newly founded Citizens Theatre WAC Ensemble – it stands for We Are Citizens - a radical new venture that introduces the first professional theatre company for actors aged between eighteen and twenty-six years-old with experience of the care system. Both the play and th…