Skip to main content


Tramway, Glasgow
Four stars

Imagine waking up one morning and the world you thought you knew appears to have been taken over by what you previously regarded as something other. That’s kind of the starting point for this audacious collaboration between director Stewart Laing and writer Pamela Carter, which draws on ideas and iconography from the 1950s piece of Cold War sci-fi paranoia about giant insects that gives the show its title. It duly explodes all this into a piece of total theatre that explores the ever changing ways of being we’re living through today, with one eye on tomorrow, and, with any luck, a bright new future ahead.

Carter and Laing frame this in the form of a prime time TV chat show, hosted by irrepressible actress Kiruna Stamell. The house band led by Carla J Easton is in place, and special guest for the evening is, for a while at least, the real Stewart Laing, who’s here to talk about his Glasgow-set musical remake of Them!

This is as straight as things get in Laing’s National Theatre of Scotland production, as identities are swapped, reinvention is all the rage and ridicule is nothing to be scared of. As guests go off-script on Nick Millar’s TV studio set, it feels like anything might happen, and probably will. And that’s just the first part, as all notions of what theatre is, was and could be are confounded and subverted by the sheer array of ideas laid bare by more than twenty performers on stage, all dressed in uniform black tracksuits.

The second and third acts feature a whole lot more bodies, with the third part in particular showing off a cast of thousands at work, rest and play as the collective body politic transcends wanton individualism in surprising and radically different ways. The end result is a bold, playful and ever-expanding theatrical mash-up that provokes, meditates, sings, shouts and dances its way through a mixed-up, muddled up, shook-up world with glorious abandon.

The Herald, July 1st 2019



Popular posts from this blog

Ron Butlin - The Sound of My Voice

When Ron Butlin saw a man who’d just asked him the time throw himself under a train on the Paris Metro, it was a turning point in how his 1987 novel, The Sound Of My Voice, would turn out. Twenty years on, Butlin’s tale of suburban family man Morris Magellan’s existential crisis and his subsequent slide into alcoholism is regarded as a lost classic. Prime material, then, for the very intimate stage adaptation which opens in the Citizens Theatre’s tiny Stalls Studio tonight. “I had this friend in London who was an alcoholic,” Butlin recalls. “He would go off to work in the civil service in the morning looking absolutely immaculate. Then at night we’d meet, and he’s get mega-blootered, then go home and continue drinking and end up in a really bad state. I remember staying over one night, and he’d emerge from his room looking immaculate again. There was this huge contrast between what was going on outside and what was going on inside.” We’re sitting in a café on Edinburgh’s south sid

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

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