Skip to main content

Company

Aberdeen Arts Centre

Four stars

Birthdays couldn’t come more bittersweet for Robert, the swinging bachelor at the centre of Stephen Sondheim and lyricist George Furth’s Me-Generation dissection of the life and loves of the terminally single male. At the grand old age of 35, Robert is the last man standing among a set of couples, managing to court three different women in-between playing gooseberry at a string of dinner dates where the artifice of domestic bliss is exposed in various ways. Mid-life crisis gives way to peppy epiphany, as Robert realises that just because he got hurt doesn’t mean he can’t still have a ball.

Revived here in appealingly boutique fashion by Aberdeen’s s Castlegate Arts in association with David Adkins, and born of the new freedoms afforded by the 1960s collective loosening of belts, Sondheim and Furth’s series of navel-gazing vignettes more resembles a Neil LaBute compendium than standard Broadway fare.

As the couples orbit around Oliver Savile’s handsomely crumpled Robert in the chic minimalism of his tellingly empty apartment, it’s as if the song and dance they make about it all are bursting out of his ennui-ridden psyche like good and bad angels egging him on to settle down like them.

Delivered with flair and panache, with Lee Crowley’s choreography creates a set of great stage pictures, while an unseen ten-piece band bolster every word. There is a fine solo too from Anita Louise Combe as hard-bitten cynic Joanne on Ladies Who Lunch.

Of course, the very idea these days of being past-it at 35 is ludicrous, and some of the social mores such as the pot-smoking scene are now normalised relics from less enlightened times. Yet, despite the period self-absorption, it’s a knowing portrait of how learning to grow up gracefully doesn’t always work out.

The Herald, February 5th 2018

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