Skip to main content

Theatre Uncut 3 – Traverse 4 stars


The final compendium of short new plays with a conscience done in a 
lo-fi script-in-hand manner in the Traverse bar cafe first thing in the 
morning was a part greatest hits, part world exclusive show that fully 
justified the initiative's Bank of Scotland Herald Angel win at the 
weekend. Two plays, Anders Lustgarten's The Break Out and Clara 
Brennan's heartfelt and life-affirming monologue, Spine, had been 
deemed good enough to merit speedy revivals.

Lustgarten's piece about two female jailbirds who find they're able to 
break out with ease after prison budget cuts mean less bricks in the 
walls even had the added bonus of two different actresses playing the 
cell-mates to add a different energy to proceedings. It is Spine, 
however, that should be downloaded and distributed (free of charge, as 
with all Theatre Uncut contributions) post-haste. Rosie Wyatt's 
rendering of Brennan's beautiful play about a pan-generational alliance 
in care of a horde of stolen library books has twice now proved to be 
one of the finest and most touching moments of this year's Fringe.

Of the new works, The Birth of My Violence, translated from its 
original Spanish by Roberto Cavazos, is a monologue in which one man 
wrestles with the contradictions between art, action and artistic 
action, while Blondie, by twenty-two year old Hayley Squires, finds a 
drop-dead gorgeous demagogue interrogated by police before going to the 
gallows in a dystopian Britain on the verge of collapse.

After a brief if slightly chaotic ad hoc nod to the incarceration of 
female Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, the main event of the morning 
came in The Naked Rambler, a new piece by David Greig so fresh that the 
entire event was delayed slightly so the cast of Tam Dean Burn and 
Ashley Smith could read the script through to the end – for the first 
time. Burn and Smith play two bored Fife PCs whose time watching the 
Olympics on TV is interrupted by the arrival of Stephen Gough, aka the 
real-life Naked Rambler, who was recently re-arrested in Fife after 
spending six years in Perth and Saughton prisons for consistently 
appearing nude in public.

While highlighting the absurdities of Gough's sentencing, Greig moves 
into the realms of magical-realist farce, as the landscape visibly 
changes around them. While one blames Olympic opening ceremony director 
Danny Boyle for the spectacle, the other gets back to nature and joins 
the increasingly naked throng.
Things may be rough round the edges, but all of the plays are 
thrillingly of the moment. Presuming that the cuts will go on getting 
deeper, Theatre uncut will return in November with a set of even newer 
works. Run ended.

The Herald, August 23rd 2012

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom 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 d…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …