Skip to main content

Creditors

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

The sun may be shining on the wooden huts at the start of David Greig’s version of August Strindberg’s vicious dissection of a power-fuelled love triangle, but things take a darker turn within seconds of boyish artist Adolph swimming ashore. The conversation that follows between Adolph and an older stranger, Gustav, who is staying at the same seaside resort as Adolph and his wife Tekla, moves from befuddlement at the mysterious ways of the opposite sex, to messianic woman-hating bile.

Much of this stems from Stuart McQuarrie’s Gustav, whose cranky paternalism takes advantage of Edward Franklin’s sickly and easily-led Adolph. When Adura Onashile’s smarter and more worldly-wise Tekla arrives, the couple are at loggerheads until Gustav intervenes in Adolph’s absence, with tragic results for all.

Over the play’s three lengthy duologues, Stewart Laing’s production may retain Strindberg’s original nineteenth century roots, but the uncensored extremes of Gustav’s misogyny are frighteningly of the moment. Yin to his Yang, Adolph is possessed with a terminal infantilism that falls willingly into the arms of anyone who’ll take responsibility for his actions. It’s telling that the sculpture he makes here is a wooden mannequin construction he can cling to without it ever answering back. As for Tekla, she may understand her own power, which both men dote on despite themselves, but in the end she is neither saviour or saved.

Tekla’s intimate confrontation with Gustav is seen in close-up by way of live video feed, so every emotional tic is apparent, while each scene is punctuated by Pippa Murphy’s hip-hop-led sound design. A troupe of silent young women prove themselves eminently capable, even though, like Tekla, they’re left to pick up the pieces of whatever’s left behind in this most destructive of amours.

The Herald, May 4th 2018

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …

Kraftwerk

Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Four stars

A flying saucer orbits over Edinburgh Castle before landing outside the Usher Hall. That's the story anyway according to the animated visuals for this 3D extravaganza from the original electronic boy band. Whether the alien craft is responsible for depositing the over-excited stage invader who briefly manages to jump aboard mid-set isn't on record. The four men of a certain age lined up hunched over fairy-lit consoles and sporting LED laced Lycra outfits as they pump out their hugely influential back-catalogue of retro-futuristic electro-pop remain oblivious.

There is nevertheless a sublime display of humanity on display. The quartet of Ralf Hutter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Falk Grieffenhagen lend a surprising warmth to compositions given fresh pulse by the state of art visual display. While the band stand stock still at what appears to be a set of old-school keyboards, sound and vision are in perpetual motion. This is the case whethe…