Skip to main content

Chekhov Shorts

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
For a theatre company that’s ostensibly an enabling body for performers with learning disabilities, Lung Ha’s have never been shy on ambition. Following their large scale collaboration with Grid Iron, the science-fiction styled Huxley’s Lab, these two chamber pieces adapted from stories by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian master might, one suspect, expose any deficiencies in the Lung Ha’s aesthetic. Under the guidance of director Maria Oller, however, and assisted by Jenna Watt, nothing could be further from the truth.

Romance With a Double Bass finds a musician who takes a dip in a nearby stream caught alongside a similarly inspired Damsel with his pants down and at the mercy of a knicker-snatching thief. The Two Volodyas finds the glamorous Sofya torn between two lovers both with the same name, but offering her completely different worlds. While her husband is dependable, the allure of a terminal student becomes the ultimate adventure, even as Sofya only finds real salvation in a nunnery.

There’s a pared-down ambiguous wit both of the originals and of Carol Rocamora’s dramatisations, which lay bare the deceptive simplicity of each yarn and are here accentuated by Wendy Weatherby’s live cello playing. The first piece may be little more than a one-liner, but delivers its dramatic sleight of hand with a lightness of touch only the unreliable lock of the double bass case undermines. The Two Volodyas, on the other hand, is a heartbreakingly complex look at choice, with Sofya, played with an emotional bravery by Nicola Tuxworthy as a wounded precursor of some of Chekhov’s most similarly troubled female characters in a last gasp Troika ride to end them all.

The Herald, November 1st 2010



Popular posts from this blog

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …