Skip to main content

Handel's Cross

CCA, Glasgow
Three stars
A man sits onstage at a candle-lit table adorned with wine goblets and 
other dinner party accoutrements. Dressed up in eighteenth century 
finery, the man could be some kind of role-playing maitre d if it 
weren't for the leather trousers and shades that give him more the air 
of the Marquis de Sade. As it turns out, both are true in Martin 
Lewton's new piece for Theatre North that forms part of Glasgay!'s 
twentieth anniversary programme.

Newton comes on dressed in suit and tie in what turns out to be an 
approximation of a fetish dungeon in Andrew McKinnon's production, 
though over the next fifty minutes he will deliver his unflinchingly 
intimate monologue almost naked while chained to a wooden St Andrew's 
Cross as McKinnon himself takes on the role of the de Sade like 
gate-keeper. As Lewton unveils his fantasy of the man he calls Fat 
Handel and his imagined lust for a boy castrato, McKinnon administers 
assorted physical aides to Newton to help move his story along. That 
these include nipple clamps, dog food and hot candle wax speak volumes 
about where Newton is coming from.

As the brief flourish of Giorgio Moroder and  Donna Summer's ultimate 
hedonist's anthem, I Feel Love, suggests alongside the triumphal blasts 
of the Messiah, Newton's concern here is with  the sexual charge behind 
great art which in turn can result in a form of quasi-religious 
transcendence. There's the blurred lines too between agony and ecstasy 
that fuel them all. None of which is anything new, though even laid 
bare so publicly, it makes for an oddly un-erotic theatre of voyeurism.

The Herald, October 17th 2013

ends 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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 …