Skip to main content

Meine faire Dame – ein Sprachlabor

Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre
4 stars
Don’t be fooled by the first half of the title of Christoph Marthaler’s 
musical and physical romp for Theatre Basel. Marthaler’s audacious 
production may give a nod to Lerner and Loewe’s showbiz reinvention of 
Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, but it too is a Frankenstein’s monster of a 
mash-up, with sources as diverse as Ravel, George Michael and Bryan 
Adams to give its characters voice.

One shouldn’t look too hard for plot either among the 1970s retro 
geek-chic attired adult pupils of a language lab overseen by a dapper 
if increasingly drunk Henry Higgins type who oversees his charges with 
flamboyant disdain. As the shopping channel plays out on a flat-screen 
TV in the corner above a row of booths, words become increasingly 
meaningless as each pupil’s inner life blossoms through the 
international language of song.

At times this resembles the sort of old-time Christmas variety shows 
that the likes of Glee have lampooned so well. At others it’s as 
verbally dextrous as a Two Ronnies sketch, with Graham F Valentine’s 
Higgins figure and his aging Eliza trapped in endless exchanges from 
years ago which are now the only words keeping them together. 
Meanwhile, the rest of the group take time out from a religious therapy 
session to sing solitary arias to invisible audiences.

Such shenanigans are accompanied on Anna Viebrock’s ingeniously bright 
set that’s fit for a farce by a virtuoso pianist and an organist 
actually dressed as Frankenstein’s monster. Out of all of this, 
Marthaler has created a terribly witty melange that speaks volumes 
about how we communicate beyond words in the most playful manner 

The Herald, August 15th 2012



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, …

Giles Havergal - CATS Awards 2019

Giles Havergal has always been the perfect host. During his thirty-odd year tenure as co-artistic director of the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Havergal would be there in the foyer on each opening night, meeting and greeting with an old school charm that came to define the Gorbals-based emporium. While many directors prefer to duck out of view, only meeting their public once the first night stresses have subsided, in contrast, Havergal seemed joyously unfazed by such things. Only when he was acting in a show was he absent from his task.
All of which makes Havergal the ideal choice as guest presenter of this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, the ceremony for which takes place at Tramway in Glasgow this Sunday afternoon. This year’s awards see a smorgasbord of productions and artists from the last year’s crop of home-grown shows celebrated by Scotland’s theatre critics in its annual ceremony.
With winners announced on the day, nominations include Birds of Paradise and the Na…