An archive of arts writing by Neil Cooper.
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Steven Severin – Vampyr
Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh Thursday January 12th 2012 3 stars
The man with the flowing white hair walks towards a small table and
chair to one side of the Cameo's big screen. Sporting a long black
winter coat and carrying a glass of red wine, the man looks as if he's
stepped in from another, altogether darker age of shadows and light.
Especially when juxtaposed against the shiny silver Macbook perched on
the table which he sits himself down before. Such a clash of time-zones
may be accidental, but it's the perfect introduction to former Siouxsie
and the Banshees bass player Steven Severin's contemporary live score
for Vampyr, Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1932 study in parasitic possession,
in which young fogey Allan Grey blank-walks his way into saving the
lives of a pair of once-bitten sisters.
Because Severin's use of brooding synth shards that ooze in and out
provides a delicious counterpoint to Dreyer's consciously over-egged
visual signifiers, which bridge Victorian melodrama and high-end
expressionism. Ushered in by bells, a recurring theme for Allan, and
even some dance-band jauntiness, Severin's latest score in his Music
For Silents series following treatments of works by Germaine Dulac,
Robert Wiene and Jean Cocteau lends even more menace than Wolfgang
Zeller's original in an intensely brooding and at times
sepulchral-sounding affair, that's wholly serious in intent and
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…
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
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…