Skip to main content

The Devil Masters

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
It's Christmas Eve in Edinburgh New Town, and in the ornate interior of
legal power couple Cameron and Lara's Georgian des-res, the fire is
roaring, the wine is uncorked and their beloved dog Max is frolicking
in the garden. Set to a classical music soundtrack, the scene is almost
too perfect in Orla O'Loughlin's production of Iain Finlay Macleod's
new play, as if lifted from the pages of some high society magazine.

Enter John, an intruder from the opposite end of the social spectrum,
whose rude intrusion and kidnap of Max sees the veneer of
respectability rapidly unravel as Lara at least shows her true colours.
The name of the game for what follows is survival, as John first
becomes trapped, only to use his animal mentality to turn the tables on
his captors. As played by John Bett and Barbara Rafferty as Cameron and
Lara, and Keith Fleming as John, the heightened grotesquerie in the
cartoon class war that follows resembles the sort of treatment Mike
Leigh might give his subjects. John in particular is cut from the same
cloth as underclass anti-hero Johnny in Leigh's film, Naked.

As increasingly absurd as things become in the play's comically cutting
dissection of snobbery, prejudice and just how divided a city
Scotland's capital can be sometimes, to fully hit home it could be even
more manic and even more savage in its delivery. Despite this, the
local references from Irvine Welsh to Jack Vettriano which are peppered
throughout Macleod's script provoked instant recognition from the
first-night audience in this enlightened tale of two cities occupying
the same urban jungle.


The Herald, December 12th 2014

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 …