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Showing posts from June, 2019

Debbie Hannan – The Ugly One

Debbie Hannan has lost her voice. Not theatrically, you understand, as anyone who has seen the Glasgow-born director’s work since she first appeared on the scene a few years ago will already know from her productions of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground Howard Barker’s Lot and His God in the Citizens Theatre’s Circle Studio.
Now comes her production of The Ugly One, German writer Marius von Mayenburg’s play, which opens at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow next week. By that time Hannan will have hopefully got her voice back after falling prey to an infection which has given both rehearsals and interviews an extra edge as she attempts to explain what is required for an already intense work.
Von Mayenburg’s play looks at what happens when a seemingly normal man called Lette is told that he can’t be the public face of his potentially life-changing new invention because he’s too ugly. Talked into having plastic surgery by his wife, Lette’s world is turned upside down when the operation i…

Blithe Spirit

Pitlochry Festival Theatre Four Stars
More than one ghost needs purging in Pitlochry Festival Theatre's revival of Noel Coward's brittle satire of the spirit world. Gemma Fairlie's production updates Coward's cut-glass society of poshos at play to today, as parasitic writer Charles and his prim second wife Ruth decide to host a séance overseen by village eccentric Madame Arcati with their equally well-heeled chums.
The idea is to mine her for material while slumming it with the common people as if Arcati’s mediumship is a parlour game for cheap thrills. When things go wrong, however, and Madame Arcati inadvertently conjures up the scarlet-clad spirit of Charles' drop-dead first wife Elvira, chaos ensues beyond the bantz that will have life - and death - changing consequences for all.
It's a bold angle Fairlie has gone for against the pristine plushness of Adrian Rees' luxury apartment set. With a mobile phone brought out here, and a Uri Geller reference there…

Paul Duane and Tam Dean Burn – Bill Drummond, Best Before Death and White Saviour Complex

Film-maker Paul Duane was following Bill Drummond around Kolkata in India and Lexington, North Carolina, when he told the sixty-something artist what he’d heard some people say about his work. The former stage designer turned band manager turned pop star turned artist was on the latest leg of his twelve-year world tour. During this time, he aims to travel to twelve cities in twelve different countries, spending three months in each.
Having begun the tour beneath Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham in 2014, Drummond has proceeded to paint over twenty-five already existing paintings with text pertinent to each stop. With missionary-like zeal, he will also commit a series of actions that engages with the local community. This includes building beds, baking cakes, making soup and shining shoes.
Drummond’s Kolkata and Lexington sojourns feature in Best Before Death, Duane’s portrait of Drummond over a two-year period, which screens at Edinburgh International Film Festival this week. As one mig…