Skip to main content

The Bad Drive Well/Tongue Lie Tight

The Arches, Glasgow
4 stars
Artists can be delicate monsters. So, given the fraught nature of creative collaboration, this double bill of short plays by upcoming playwrights and theatre-makers Megan Barker and Alan McKendrick, with each co-directing the other’s work, could easily have ended in tears. As it is, the results are concentrated and accomplished enough to prove the experiment an understated hit of contrasting moods.

Barker’s Tongue Lie Tight, is an ennui-laden look at the communication breakdown between a couple seeking sanctuary in a sun-drenched resort from some un-named horrors at home. As Morag goes quietly demented in her hotel room, Seymour builds sandcastles with Gracie, a young girl with whom he finds an uncomfortable-looking connection. Loosely based on JD Salinger’s 1948 short story, A Perfect Day For Bananafish, Barker’s spare demotic leaves everything tantalisingly implied in a close-up of everyday madness which offsets its setting’s superficial brightness.

McKendrick’s take on relationships is far funnier, as Celine and Lenny fast-forward their way through the painful rituals of 21st century romance among the speed-dating lonely-hearts set. Both oddballs with a shared penchant for wrestling magazines and prone to rattling out a stream of hyper-tense one-liners, their awkward exchanges eventually ease into something that might just resemble a love affair in this peculiar, kookily off-kilter rom-com that’s a joy to watch.

If Rob Diamond and Patricia Kavanagh, who play all parts, don’t always have the weight to carry the painful subtleties of Barker’s piece, in The Bad Drive Well they are a hilarious motor-mouthed double act who find happiness beyond their solitary dysfunctions. Fine foils, then, for major writers in the making, caught at a crucial stage in their careers.

The Herald, May 21st 2007

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

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…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…