Edinburgh 2013: Ciara - A complex and rewarding meditation on gangland Glasgow
Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.
Monday 05 August 2013
The Traverse Theatre has always been the powerhouse of new Scottish writing for the stage and, as it enters its 50th year, now under the tutelage of its impressive new artistic director Orla O’Loughlin, it is once again at the top of its game.
Its festival centrepiece Ciara is a complex and rewarding dramatic monologue by the aptly-named David Harrower which charts the changing psychological landscape of the scarred streets of Glasgow through the story of a gangster, Mick, and his journey from the world of ordinary decent crime to the moral quagmire of drug-dealing.
That sounds grim. And in lesser hands it could be. But Harrower is a clever and subtle writer who moves skilfully through deft observation, dark psychology, bitter humour and violent melodrama. He is brilliantly served by a formidable piece of acting from the award-winning Scots TV and stage actress Blythe Duff (Jackie Reid in Taggart) as the art gallery-owning daughter who begins as a sardonic scrutineer of the scene but slowly emerges as involved, compromised and tainted by a world in which the old criminal codes of honour dissolve and require the sacrifice of even the protagonist’s children.
O’Loughlin, as director, navigates a skilful path through the play’s jump-cut writing which is as full of ambiguity as the metaphor of the painting of a giant woman draped across the city which resurfaces throughout the work. The play is dotted with references to Glasgow, which kept the Edinburgh audience chortling, but as the classical Greek dress of the central character reminded us, the themes are epic and universal. Compelling quality drama.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 2 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 3 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 4 Germanwings plane crash: Transcript reveals passengers 'screamed for over five minutes' before plane crashed into mountain
- 5 Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams to make special guest appearance in Doctor Who
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Jay Z launches streaming service Tidal with help from Kanye West, Rihanna and Coldplay
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew