Skip to main content

Girl X

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
Beneath a busy city underpass, seventeen people meet to talk, argue and
engage. The internet has gone down, so such real live flesh and blood
encounters are deemed necessary to allow a collective letting off of
steam. At the centre of this is actor and disabled activist Robert
Softley, who puts on the agenda the ethical dilemma of what to do when
the parents of a child with cerebral palsy decree to desexualise her,
stunting her growth and keeping her forever young. Out of this comes a
torrent of tangents, twists and turns any debate can veer off into,
online or otherwise. Taboos are broken, things are said in the heat of
the moment and at times things go too far. The conclusion? If there is
one, it’s left hanging, waiting for the next posting.

On one level Softley’s collaboration with Belgian director Pol Heyvaert
and dramaturg Bart Capelle for this contribution to the National
Theatre of Scotland’s Reveal season is community theatre writ large,
with the sixteen-strong choir squaring up to Softley en masse in a well
orchestrated fashion. On another, it’s a powerful soapbox for Softley
to vent his spleen on disabled politics in a mainstage public platform.

Whether it’s saying anything that can’t be found in an episode of Glee,
for instance is itself a matter for debate, but it nevertheless
challenges the wet liberal consensus by acknowledging things that would
normally be politely ignored, including the fact that projected
surtitles are being used because Softley’s voice isn’t always easy to
understand.
If it is to make a difference, Girl X probably needs to go further. As
a conversation piece, however, it’s a start.

The Herald, March 7th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

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, …

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…