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

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…

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 REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for 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, …