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 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…