THEATRE; Highlands and Irelands
Mayfest round-up Glasgow
Saturday 20 May 1995
Kenneth Glenaan directs his excellent cast with pace and vigour, never allowing the anger of the play's confrontations to boil over into melodrama. O'Kelly's command of his material is masterful, not least in the way he slips lyrical and sometimes painfully resonant images into otherwise naturalistic dialogue. With perfect English and a love of Churchillian prose inherited from his father, David Baker's Omara is perhaps an unusual immigrant but without doubt a magnificently articulate champion for O'Kelly's cause. Omara cannot escape from the "smell of smoke" associated with his ordeal in Uganda; Asylum! Asylum! alerts us to the dangers of similar fires already ignited in Europe.
John Binnie's adaptation for Clyde Unity of Margaret Thomson Davis' popular novel Breadmakers offers a rich slice of Govan life in the late 1920s. Opening on the eve of the annual Govan Fair, Breadmakers centres on the owner and workers at the McNair bakery, who ride the hard times of the Great Depression on monopolistic (and metaphorically life-affirming) clouds of flour.
In a largely light-hearted first half, Binnie leads us into the lives of his characters in a deft series of encounters, more sketches than scenes. There's an irresistible cheek about the performance style, too. But all the while, Binnie is preparing the ground for the darker events of the second half. In his writing and under his direction, the change in tone is unobtrusive and compelling. Comic grotesques, such as Hope Ross's Mother Fowler, become genuine monsters, while Linda Duncan McLaughlin as frail Sarah Fowler and Mari Binnie as wide-eyed Catriona Munro metamorphose unassumingly into authentically tragic figures.
Carl MacDougall's new play The Climbing Boy is set in the maelstrom of 1840 Glasgow, straining at its seams with a constant influx of immigrants cleared from their homes in the Highlands and in Ireland.Unfortunately, MacDougall finds himself torn between telling the story of the Nolan family, whose five-year-old son becomes the chimney sweep of the title, and describing the wider drama of the society into which they have fallen. The (real) events The Climbing Boy follows are enough to keep you in your seat but the play never takes off as it should.
n `Asylum! Asylum!' is at the Arches Theatre (0141 221 9736) to 20 May, then on tour: 0131 557 5918. `The Breadmakers' is at the Citizens' Theatre to 20 May (0141 429 0022), then on tour: 0141 353 0905. `The Climbing Boy' is at the Cottier Theatre (0141 357 3868) to 20 May, then on tour: 0141 631 2267
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Original Rick Astley 'rickrolling' video removed from YouTube
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains