Skip to main content

The Venetian Twins

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

The accordion-led overture that ushers in Tony Cownie's new version of Carlo Goldoni's eighteenth century comic cut of mistaken identity speaks volumes about what follows. Sure enough, as soon as Angela Darcy's servant Columbina and her nice but dumb mistress Rosaura open their mouths, we're in old-school sit-com land.

Separated at birth, twins Zanetto and Tonino arrive separately in Verona for very different reasons. Where Zanetto is a bumbling half-wit who seems to have met his perfect match in Rosaura just as his servant Arlecchino does with Columbina, Tonino is a bum-slapping charmer who has been followed by Beatrice, a Freud-referencing suffragette who just can't help herself. Jessica Hardwick's Beatrice is pursued both by Tonino's man Florindo and by the flamboyant Lelio, played by James Anthony Pearson as a a ginger-wigged fop resembling a creature who looks somewhere between The Joker and Sideshow Bob.

While Cownie's own production has the action leap a century or so on from Goldoni's eighteenth century original, there's something wilfully unreconstructed about it, even as the patter is pure dead gallus. The manic result is a Victorian seaside vaudeville complete with a riot of painfully bad jokes which probably haven't been heard since a 1970s Crackerjack panto but with extra added innuendo. And yes, the pub really is called The Two Cocks.

Amid a coterie of cartoon style grotesques, Dani Heron's Rosaura is like a vicious pink cupcake in drag, mixing her metaphors with dolly dimple abandon. At the play's centre, however, is a gloriously schizophrenic turn from Grant O'Rourke, who as both siblings flits between pomposity and uselessness in this most self-consciously vulgar of carry ons.
 
The Herald, April 30th 2015

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Carla Lane – The Liver Birds, Mersey Beat and Counter Cultural Performance Poetry

Last week's sad passing of TV sit-com writer Carla Lane aged 87 marks another nail in the coffin of what many regard as a golden era of TV comedy. It was an era rooted in overly-bright living room sets where everyday plays for today were acted out in front of a live audience in a way that happens differently today. If Lane had been starting out now, chances are that the middlebrow melancholy of Butterflies, in which over four series between 1978 and 1983, Wendy Craig's suburban housewife Ria flirted with the idea of committing adultery with successful businessman Leonard, would have been filmed without a laughter track and billed as a dramady. Lane's finest half-hour highlighted a confused, quietly desperate and utterly British response to the new freedoms afforded women over the previous decade as they trickled down the class system in the most genteel of ways. This may have been drawn from Lane's own not-quite free-spirited quest for adventure as she moved through h