By Robert Burns and Gerry Mulgrew. A Communicado review.
TO DESCRIBE a production based on the songs and poetry of Robert Burns as being especially Scottish may seem redundant. After all, that is only what you would expect with a figure who has become synonymous with the national identity. There is tartan, there are Highland games and there is the bard from Ayrshire. As Gerry Mulgrew's witty script points out, "Burns the brand" is a cornerstone of the country's marketing strategy.
4 October 2011 The Guardian
IT'S a road that really exists. Nearly two miles long, it goes from South Arnish to Brochel Castle on the Inner Hebridean island of Raasay. Built in the 1960s, it is the single-handed work of Calum MacLeod, an islander who grew so frustrated with the council's failure to construct a road that he just did it himself.
4 October 2011 Northings
WITHOUT telling anyone, the National Theatre of Scotland has mounted a mini-festival of the work of Gerry Mulgrew, the celebrated founder of Communicado. By day, you can see a revival of his Tall Tales for Small People, an exuberant show for children (and adults with good taste) that the director first staged in 1995. By night, you can see Calum's Road, Mulgrew's latest work, performed by the same six-strong ensemble.
4 October 2011 Northings
IN ESSEX the row is rumbling on at Dale Farm where the local council is trying to evict 86 Traveller families from what it is says is an unauthorised site. On a smaller scale, there is a similarly frosty reception for the family that pulls up its caravan on a patch of former common land in Tall Tales for Small People. Night may be drawing in, but the game keeper wants them to move on. There is no alternative site nearby, but the family must pack up.
THE gag about Barclays bank is not strictly necessary. The modern relevance of Nikolai Gogol's small-town satire has hit us long before the actor's off-the-cuff quip about bankers' bonuses. Such is the atmosphere of venality in Gerry Mulgrew's hilarious Communicado production that, despite the period setting, we are never far away from financial profiteers and expense-fiddling MPs.
18 February 2010 Northings
"IT takes a lot of jockeys to run a one-horse town," says Andy Clark, playing Ivan Khlestakov, the man mistaken for a powerful St Petersburg official in Nikolai Gogol's hilarious satire. To cover up their corrupt behaviour, the locals have been only too willing to pay him off with cash bribes. No mean opportunist himself, Khlestakov has accepted their favours with enthusiasm.
ROBIN Jenkins' 1979 novel Fergus Lamont is a wonderfully eccentric rags-to-riches story that speaks powerfully about the peculiarities of the class system and the events of the early 20th century. It echoes the story of Pip in Great Expectations, but in Jenkins' book, the hero sets out to claim the noble heritage he believes he deserves as the illegitimate son of a Scottish earl. Despite his lowly background, he wears a kilt and prefers to be known as Fergus Corse-Lamont.
30 March 2007 Northings
WE should be grateful to Gerry Mulgrew and Communicado for drawing our attention to Robin Jenkins' 1979 novel, ‘Fergus Lamont’. It’s the second of the author's works Mulgrew has tackled (for the last one, ‘The Cone Gatherers’ in 1991, he built a life-size wood in Glasgow's Tramway), and you can see the attraction.
By Vaclav Havel. Communicado review .
GROWING up in communist Czechoslovakia, future president Vaclav Havel knew all about food shortages, state surveillance and rampant bureaucracy. His 1965 comedy, The Memorandum, might be an example of theatre of the absurd, but its vision of an office driven mad by the introduction of Ptydepe, an impossibly precise new language, is rooted in the reality of life in a centralised economy.
SINCE Communicado came to an unhappy end in 1998, founding artistic director Gerry Mulgrew has kept himself busy with freelance work, but has yet to recapture the zest and drive that characterised his company in its glory days. He’s hung on to the Communicado name, however, and we’d like to think it’s only a matter of time before he reclaims his place as Scotland’s most thrilling director.
25 May 2004 The Guardian
THE first 20 minutes are banal. That's deliberate. It's all trips to the country, woodwork lessons and piano practice for Zlata Filipovic, 10, and her middle-class family in sunny Sarajevo. Her everyday enthusiasms, for Michael Jackson and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, make it all the more poignant when the shells and sniper fire descend on her city. This is a vision of war as a robber of childhood.
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