Arts: Driven to destruction
Theatre: THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE/SUMMIT CONFERENCE CITIZENS' THEATRE, GLASGOW
Tuesday 08 December 1998
The contexts in which these concerns are played out, however, could hardly be more different. Frank Marcus's 1965 drama - best remembered via the film version, starring Beryl Reid - posits the imminent axeing of the long-running soap character played by a middle-aged lesbian actress, while Robert David MacDonald's three-hander, originally written for the Citz 20 years ago, stages an imagined meeting between Hitler's and Mussolini's mistresses.
However, Eva Braun andCarla Petacci are not so far removed from Sister George (as the actress is generally known off screen as well as on). She responds to her imminent televisual demise by lashing out at those around her, especially her younger lover Childie. As she seeks solace or takes retreat playing the dominatrix to Childie's girlish victim, the chain- of-repression scenario is obvious enough - rather too pat to shed much real light on the issue, besides being rooted in some rather dated stereotypes of lesbian behaviour.
A more interesting angle of approach, especially in our own era of docusoaps and human-zoo talk shows, would be George's continual blurring of her own and her character's personality. But while director and designer Kenny Miller attempts to point up this dimension, editing out the original period references and putting Jerry Springer on George's TV at the start, again Marcus himself fails to delve sufficiently into the psychological dynamics he sets out.
The four-strong cast, especially Anne Myatt as George and Ellen Sheean as her increasingly sinister producer, bring as much complexity as they can to their parts, together with a good deal of humour, but ultimately the play defies their efforts.
The two lead characters in Summit Conference certainly don't lack in complexity, speaking not only in their own voices, but periodically in the guise of their respective lovers, parties and countries. MacDonald's characteristically rigorous dramatic disquisition explores all manner of power-plays - personal and political, sexual and military - together with the mental and emotional contortions that are required to either justify or deny injustice.
Exploiters and exploited both, the two women come across as far more than mouthpieces for MacDonald's moral philosophising, thanks equally to the honed suppleness of his language and to laser-sharp performances from Anthea Hart and Kathy Kiera Clarke, pitting icy elegance against kittenish shrewdness as, respectively, Braun and Petacci.
Until 23 December; box office: 0141-429 0022.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Batman v Superman: Side-kick Robin to be 'woman played by Jena Malone'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world