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by Mark Fisher

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28 Jan 2018 The Guardian

Bold Girls

By Rona Munro. A Citizens Theatre review.

ON the face of it, Bold Girls is not a violent play. In form, Rona Munro’s 1990 four-hander has the raucous girls-night-out shape of the kind of comedy perfected by Kay Mellor or Marie Jones. It looks as if it’s all about the bonds of female friendship as three working-class Belfast women, plus mysterious hanger on, go from front room to nightclub and back again, growing loose lipped as the drink kicks in. None of that would suggest the male menace of Pinter or the macho explosiveness of Mamet, still less the shadow-of-a-gunman gangster dramas of Northern Ireland’s Troubles era. Yet Bold Girls is absolutely about violence – male violence. Director Richard Baron reminds us as much from the start when a helicopter searchlight casts its roving beam across the audience, glaring into our eyes, before a dishevelled young woman is spotted in the haze of Stuart Jenkins’s severe side lighting. In this context, the living room of Lucianne McEvoy’s cool, calm and collected Marie is a refuge, a place of safety in a dangerous city.


26 Jan 2018 The Guardian

The Lover

By Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick. A Royal Lyceum/Stellar Quines/Scottish Dance Theatre production

THERE'S a theme in Marguerite Duras’ semi-autobiographical novel about the objectifying gaze. Looking back at her 15-year-old self living in what was French Indochina, when she engaged in an illicit affair with a man 12 years her senior, the author sees a girl whose sexual desirability is in her very presence. “I’m used to people looking at me,” she writes, knowing her attractiveness is not in what she says or does, but in what others see in her. And it works two ways. Whether because of her age at the time or the passing decades since, Duras gives us the scantest details about the girl’s lover. He is Chinese and the son of a millionaire. He is prone to weeping and feels oppressed by his father. That’s about it. We don’t even learn his name. He is the love object. He asks her whether she is attracted to him only for his money; it isn’t quite her reason, but it’s as good as any.

16 Jan 2018 The Scotsman

The Lover, preview

Preview of the Royal Lyceum/Stellar Quines production

IT'S Fleur Darkin’s job as a choreographer to let her dancers’ bodies speak for themselves. That’s why one phrase leapt out when she re-read one of her favourite books, The Lover by Marguerite Duras: “When you let the body alone to seek and find and take what it likes… then everything is right.” Letting the body take what it likes feels right to Darkin. “To me it feels so real, that we do exist with drives, hungers and libido,” she says. “Not many writers name it so powerfully.”And by naming it, Duras seemed to be giving Darkin permission to trust her instincts. Working in close collaboration with theatre director Jemima Levick, Darkin is creating not simply a straight adaptation of the semi-autobiographical 1984 novel – and its companion piece, The North China Lover – for Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum – but a dance-theatre hybrid. Together, they are thinking as much about the language of movement as the language of speech.


27 Sep 2017 The Guardian

Drinking and thinking: raise a glass to Glasgow's plays, pies and pints

A Play, a Pie and a Pint review feature

IT defies all the rules of theatre marketing. Scarcely past midday on a Monday lunchtime, a full 45 minutes before curtain up, the queue for the box office is already snaking on to the road. Inside Òran Mór, a spacious pub-cum-performance venue in Glasgow’s West End, the line of ticket holders is even longer. They are here for A Play, a Pie and a Pint, a lunchtime series launched by David MacLennan in 2004 and not so much a success as a phenomenon. Nobody could have predicted its popularity back then, but today is typical. They line up like this six days a week for 40 plays a year (plus summer and winter pantomimes), almost all of them new with just a handful of classical adaptations. The tally to date is in excess of 400, making A Play, a Pie and a Pint a bedrock of the Scottish theatre industry.









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