Skip to main content

The Cone Gatherers


His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
4 stars
Robin Jenkins’ World War Two set novel is a broodingly strange affair. 
Peter Arnott’s new adaptation takes all of Jenkins’ concerns about 
class, good, evil and the self-destructive fear of otherness on the one 
hand and an empathetic desire to transcend one’s own station on the 
other, and makes a big serious statement on the human condition that 
retains its human heart.

Set on a remote Highland estate, the leafy splendour occupied by what 
are here referred to simply as Lady and Captain, as well as Lady’s 
liberal-minded twelve year old Roddie,  is ripped asunder by the rude 
intrusion of two brothers, the dour Neil and his brother Callum, the 
latter of whom would be classed today as having learning disabilities. 
Watching over all this is game-keeper Duror, who, with a terminally ill 
wife in her sick-bed, resembles a contemporary vigilante on the verge 
and is already on the shortest of fuses. In Callum, Duror recognises 
imperfections he can’t bear, with tragic consequences as he goes into 
psychological meltdown.

With enough space left for the play to breathe through a set of fine 
turns led by John Kielty and Ben Winger as the brothers, Ireland brings 
all this to rich poetic life on Hayden Griffin’s mighty-looking set 
awash with back projections that lend a panoramic scope from the play’s 
opening image. Duror’s wife Peggy, played by Helen Logan, moves as if 
operated by puppeteers. The deer being hunted down becomes a 
Bambi-esque solo dance by Maxine Hamilton. It’s Duror’s speech 
betraying his own potential fanaticism, however, juxtaposed here with 
Pathe news footage of Hitler’s holocaust, which chills the most.

The Herald, September 17th 2012

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

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…

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…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

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…