By David Priestley, Iain Finlay MacLeod and Morna Pearson. Traverse Theatre review.
THE Traverse has commissioned more plays than it can put on. So, as part of its Cubed season of new music, theatre and art, it is playing catch-up by fielding three plays performed by four actors in a five-hour marathon.
By Henry Adam. Traverse Theatre review.
LAST year the Traverse, Scotland's home of new writing, kicked off its Edinburgh Festival Fringe program with "Petrol Jesus Nightmare #5," a violent broadside by Henry Adam that raged against American involvement in the Middle East. This year, helmer Philip Howard returns to the Middle East, but with a more peaceable vision of 21st century cultural conflict. Set in the Syrian capital, David Greig's "Damascus" is an ironic comedy of middle-class manners that delights in up-turning prejudice and preconceptions. Although by the end the play loses much of its initial clarity of purpose, it remains a witty, thought-provoking challenge to cultural stereotypes.
THERE was a time when the Traverse's script-reading panel would throw away any play requiring a sofa. Today, living room dramas are the official house style. To her credit, first-time playwright Jules Horne tries to wrestle free of Gorgeous Avatar's naturalism with a series of Dennis Potter-style musical interventions, but dancing cowboys aren't enough to disguise the domestic modesty of her play's ambition.
May 2006 Northings
WOULDN'T it be great to have a play that smashed through the fourth-wall realism of a conventional well-made drama and filled the stage with action movie heroes and singing cowboys? You'd think so, but in Jules Horne's debut, in which an agoraphobic Borders copywriter awaits the arrival of her internet lover only to be shaken by her over-active imagination, the surreal interventions are more laboured than liberating.
IBSEN was never great at the wisecracks. But if he had been, and if he'd been brought up in a nondescript Ayrshire town, you can imagine him writing something like Douglas Maxwell's Melody. Like a latter-day Ghosts, the play is about the way secrets of the past have a nasty habit of creeping up on the present. Unlike the earlier tragedy, however, this one can't let a moment of poetic truth pass without a gag to wash it down.
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