Skip to main content

Midsummer

Bharatiya Ashram, Dundee
Four stars

The central wisdom of playwright David Greig and composer and songwriter Gordon McIntyre's lo-fi musical rom-com as gleaned from an underground car park ticket machine is that change is possible. With this in mind, director Ros Philips takes such everyday philosophy by the scruff of the neck and runs with it to blazes in her Dundee Rep Ensemble production that forms the company's latest community tour.

Where the play was originally performed in 2008 by two actors, Philips does it with a cast of eight, as thirty-something lost souls Bob and Helena's wild weekend after falling together in an Edinburgh bar is charted by a cagoule-clad chorus who double up as assorted waifs, strays and hangers-on the pair meet en route. While this may lose something in terms of manic urgency, it also fleshes out what begins as a drunken one-night stand and ends with what might just be a dream come true. As they pause for breath inbetween scampering from one end of the city to the other, both Bob and Helena must also face up to some pretty serious home truths.

With Jo Freer and Martin McBride playing the couple with a mix of booze-soaked swagger and after-hours vulnerability, on one level this is a blurred set of snapshots of what passes for the twenty-first century dating game in all its messy state of apparent independence. As performed on designer Leila Kalbassi's Google Earth image of auld Reekie, it's also a love letter to the city that sired it and, with McIntyre's bittersweet songs ringing in your ears, an affirmation of love, lust and the power of yes in a glorious seven year itch of a show.

The Herald, October 28th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

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…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…