Skip to main content

Ballyturk

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

A spirit of Eden pervades throughout Enda Walsh’s deceptively madcap play, first seen in 2014 and revived here for the Tron by way of Andy Arnold’s production. Here we take a peek behind very closed doors, where two seemingly nameless men embark on their daily domestic rituals, incorporating a series of dance moves to 1980s pop hits before they role-play imagined scenes from the world outside.

The series of routines that follow look somewhere between Morecambe and Wise’s breakfast sketch and a Samuel Beckett off-cut set in an undiscovered suburb of The League of Gentleman’s Royston Vasey neighbourhood. Into this steps a worldly-wise deity who looks like an insurance salesman, but in their smarmy hard-sell, holds the fate of both men in their hands.

Cocooned away from the world outside but with their lives flashing before them, there’s a wonderfully obsessive innocence to Simon Donaldson and Grant O’Rourke’s co-dependent double act. As the birds and the bees fly through their decrepit and barely furnished room, Wendy Seager’s snake-in-the-grass uninvited guest becomes a slyly corrupting influence. In the end, the bubble they’ve created for themselves, possibly the result of some mind-wiping experiment or long-term kidnap by Seager’s Big Brother-like presence, is no longer sustainable. As they wake up to reality, that bubble bursts like a leftover balloon from a children’s party.

There’s always a gloriously unfiltered audaciousness to Walsh’s writing, which is here offset by a sense of everyday existential dread and the absurd constructions we hide ourselves inside to survive it. If Ballyturk is a state of mind in which Donaldson and O’Rourke are runaways from their own scrambled psyche, the play’s final moment is a heart-rending nod to how the world keeps turning as the baton is passed for the next life to come. 

The Herald, October 8th 2018


ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

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…