Skip to main content

Dead Man's Cell Phone

The Arches, Glasgow
Neil Cooper
3 stars
There are few things more pervasive in this gadget-obsessed society
than the ringing of a mobile telephone. The mere possibility of some
life-changing call is so great, it seems, that staying in touch at all
times is crucial. Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Sarah Ruhl
makes this abundantly clear in her increasingly absurd study of just
how desperate making a connection can be.

It starts inconsequentially enough, with a man and a woman sat at
separate tables in a quiet little diner. If the possibility of
flirtation is there then no-one's saying much about it. Only when the
man's phone rings in earnest is the woman, Jean, prompted into an
action that steers her on a picaresque adventure involving grieving
mothers, wronged mistresses and loving brothers, not to mention the
proposed sale of a kidney in a South African airport.

Ruhl's play may only have been written in 2006, but so far has
technology come in terms of smartphones, social networking and all the
other new-fangled jiggery-pokery that keeps us hanging 24/7 that Euhl's
play – a UK premiere - already looks dated. It might have helped too in
Stasi Schaeffer's playful if uneven production if a clearly game cast
led by Susan Worsfold as easily-led innocent abroad Jean kept to the
script's clear American rhythms rather than their own voices.

Even so, as Jean lives vicariously through others, all the while making
amends for the life she's accidentally acquired, there's still great
fun to be had with Ruhl's take on a world where switching off and
pulling the plug on the latest gidget is for some a terrifying prospect.

The Herald, June 10th 2011



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…