Skip to main content

La Didone

Royal Lyceum Theatre
4 stars
When worlds collide onstage, few do it more provocatively than The Wooster Group. Yet the reverent hush that greets the New York veteran pop post modernists melding of Cavalli’s opera based on Dido and Aeneas with 1960s Italian sci-fi flick Planet of the Vampires misses the point somewhat. Because director Elizabeth LeCompte, composer Bruce Odland and a cast of Wooster Group regulars augmented by a four piece band have made an undoubtedly odd but hilarious reconstruction of two lost classics.

When a diva is wheeled on for an opening aria, things appear normal enough. Then you notice the cast are dressed in silver space suits, re-enacting scenes from the film, which is projected on two TV screens behind them. Mic’d up so they sound like they’re speaking through an intercom, they talk side by side with the opera being acted out simultaneously, with the dialogue of both works projected in English surtitles. With the electronic washes of Odland’s added score fizzing out from a kit set up in the middle of the stalls, there’s no pause for breath in what is an irreverent piece of theatrical frottage in which the joins are deliberately and wilfully left exposed.

The actors ham it up something rotten, and when someone asks “What’s going on?”, that the answer is “I wish I knew” is a deliciously knowing in-joke. At times its free-associative whirl, backed by slabs of electric guitar rock baroque, resembles an extended sketch from Saturday Night Live, and one half expects the ghost of John Belushi to wander on dressed as a bumble bee and squirt custard from his mouth. One thinks too of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd’s cartoon reappropriation of Wagner. Throwaway and felicitous La Didone may be, but the attention to detail in its comic book parallel universe is a spaced out fantastic voyage worth tripping out to.

The Herald, August 20th 2007

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

David Bates – La Clique Noel, The Famous Spiegeltent and Edinburgh's Christmas

Less than a year ago, David Bates thought he might well be done with Edinburgh. The owner and producer of the Famous Spiegeltent, who had transformed a ninety-seven year old construction into a global brand which in part had come to define the spirit of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, had been told that the site the Famous Spiegeltent had operated out of in St Andrew Square since 2014 was no longer available. Essential Edinburgh, who manage the site, said they wanted the Gardens to return to a “relaxation space,” although the short notice of their decision left the Famous Spiegeltent without a home for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.   All this created a bit of a kerfuffle, exacerbated somewhat by Edinburgh International Festival using St Andrew Square for this year's Standard Life sponsored opening event, the light-based spectacular, Bloom. Ten months on, Bates is back in Edinburgh even if the Famous Spiegeltent as a physical entity isn't. A different spiegeltent is here, howeve