By Chris Hannan. A Traverse Theatre review.
IF there's a rule to be broken about family-centred theatre, playwright Chris Hannan breaks it. His brilliant version of the Alexandre Dumas stories is rude, anarchic, witty, intelligent, irreligious and coarse Ð the more so in Dominic Hill's production, designed by Colin Richmond to look like a scene of plague-ridden theatrical dilapidation in sore need of a good revolution.
IT must have been tempting to go down The Inbetweeners route. However outrageous the E4 teen comedy gets, there is little in its portrayal of adolescent angst that Frank Wedekind didn't do first in Spring Awakening. By using translator Douglas Maxwell, a playwright with a catalogue of coming-of-age dramas, Grid Iron theatre company could have opted to refashion Wedekind's 1891 play (banned in the UK until 1965), as a modern-day black comedy about sexual repression and ignorance.
By Linda McLean. A Traverse Theatre review.
WITH a Linda McLean play, you can bet on two things. One is characters who are held together by the bonds of family loyalty and the memory of some past trauma. The other is a mould-breaking dramatic structure that reflects the characters' emotional fragmentation. In Any Given Day, which is as bold, unnerving and fraught as anything she has written, you get both.
IT is 7.30am and I have woken up in a parallel universe. It is one in which Radio 4's Today programme takes cultural matters seriously and routinely weighs into the second collapse of Enron, Paul McCartney's meat-free Mondays and the novels of David Mitchell before I've even finished breakfast. How fantastic it would be if the programme was always like this. But on this day of all days, it's enough to leave a man rudderless. How to vote in the general election without the early-morning instruction of a tub-thumping politician?
By Edward Albee. A Traverse Theatre review.
STEVIE finds out about her husband's affair in Edward Albee's thrilling drama from a letter sent by their old friend Ross. What he wrote, she says, was "awful and absurd, but it wasn't a joke". The awful and the absurd are constants in Albee's career, from the excruciating battles of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to the talking lizards in Seascape. You expect The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, first seen in 2002, to fall into the absurd category. After all, Stevie's 22-year marriage is under threat because husband Martin has fallen for a goat.
27 March 2010 The Guardian
I HAVE been at the theatre when an audience member collapsed, but never have I seen two keel over at once. Such was the unfortunate, not to say unlikely, scene at Oran Mor for this lunchtime performance, bringing Zinnie Harris's two-hander to a premature end. Having consulted the script, I realise we missed only the final few lines of a domestic drama that, like many plays in these apocalyptic times, is about the impossibility of a future.
18 March 2010 The Guardian
IT is the democrat's dilemma: what if, having given someone a voice, you don't like what they have to say? That is the situation faced by Kate in Gregory Burke's apocalyptic comedy, a lunchtime collaboration between the Traverse theatre and the Play, a Pie and a Pint series. Kate is an undercover activist who has infiltrated a futuristic "contentment facility" in which old people are stored in life-support units before being fattened for human consumption. While freeing the occupant of row NN, pod 777, Kate is alarmed to discover he was responsible for the death of the environment.
24 February 2010 The Guardian
I HAD assumed Simon Stephens would have reworked his short two-hander since the summer when the Traverse gave it a breakfast reading on the Edinburgh fringe. But here it is in a fuller but still bare-bones production for A Play, a Pie and a Pint, the lunchtime theatre season, with the same oddball charm and the same feeling that its deeper meaning is just out of grasp.
23 February 2010 Unpublished
WE live in a society disconnected from death. For a certain generation this messy inevitability takes place unseen in far away hospitals and care homes. When finally it intrudes, as intrude it must, it generates a sense of outrage in the bereaved, as if it had no right to be there. This is why so many contemporary plays treat death as the starting point of a study of mourning and not, as in the less sentimental classical tradition, the end point of a tragedy.
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