last updated July 1, 2012

Theatre and Theatre


'Big Sven' is a man I have known for a few years. He serves the coffee in a shop I used to frequent and still do occasionally. A gentle giant, like many peers, he is also an artist. I knew he rented off the fishmonger-owner of the coffee shop in a space nearby but I had never really found out much more about his art. I was too slow the last time he had a gathering but I heard enough of the experience to make me hungry for a view and so with luck, I secured the last ticket for last Friday's performance.

Congregating in the semi industrial setting of a back street in Finnieston, the typically Glaswegian summer weather was dripping from our hoods. We met the few fellow audience members under a street light until well after our designated time: the information supplied was very precise about entry and we would not be admitted if we were late. Already acquainted and intrigued, we were given numbers on entry before climbing up the 1940's block, the reek of fish the most memorable part.

Once inside we were welcomed, shown around, given very basic instructions about where we were welcome to roam in the large warehouse floor. There was a bar too where we picked up a drink. The rest we took in ourselves: some form of office / workshop, an old exercise bike, a slight girl up some ladders, an unorthodox band in tails comprising; cello; electric guitar; piano; dj, electrified umbrellas hanging with orange light bulbs, a few candles here and there. There was a butler as well, with what appeared to be an assistant.

It was all quite intriguing and conjured a feeling of uneasiness. Soon music started for real and the girl on the stepladders, who had been completely still, now stared to dance the space, held back by a rope running through a pulley with a few shaped object on the other end. She would occasionally try to run out of her trap but never would. Then the music stopped. The butler smashed a wall bell with an ivory headed stick and the music stopped. "Number 37" he called out. A woman went forward hesitantly and was put in a swivel feet and asked to look into an optometrists implement. The assistant nodded and the butler took her into another space. The audience all looked at one another, eyes wide, cheeky smiles, slightly worried. We had no time to regroup - a man started talking - hunched over with his back to us: a taxi driver reading notes into a small handheld microphone attached to a megaphone. He's smoking, with a reluctant tone telling his story under and other umbrella. He goes on for sometime until the butler breaks his monologue. Another number is called and then the girl starts to dance.........

I'm not going to tell you what was next door - other than it was great, inspiring, exceeded my expectations, made me relaxed, excited, happy to be there. After a while I rejoined the group, out of breath and exhilarated. Coming to the Tramway later in the year - 5 wonderful stars.

'Whatever gets you through the night' at the arches had popped up, visually, around the city for some time - posters in the underground, posters through the middle of town, leading article in the Skinny: it was what people were talking about. The Skinny even talked about rumours that the floor of the arches would be skimmed in real turf. I was looking forward to the show but as son as I walked in and noticed the artificial grass I knew there was an element of loud mouthed, overhyped bullshit about the whole production. As a basic, if you're going to tease: don't let your audience down.

We were given a glow stick on the way in but no programme (they weren't quite ready) although the set had an understated appeal - three small stages with projector screens as back drops, cushion seating for the audience or bus seats (which we opted for).

The show was various tales of Scottish cities at night - relationships, habits, highs and lows. Some were fantastic, some were pretty average. The acting, on a whole, was that overstated, over-confident type. I had to look away a lot, embarrassed. There was a male and female dancers who worked a pole (very well) and also did the whole getting-caught-up-in-a-curtain thing which I didn't see the relevance of. Some of the language was good but a lot of the projected moving imagery had been done before or was just unrefined: the train-spotting chase scene was awful (the actors running on the spot in front of a street scene behind); the old couple dancing on their own would have been much more successful taken at an actual dance.

I enjoyed the comedy in it - Eugene Kelly's chips 'n' cheese was a heroic song, with great choreography of being thrown about a taxi ride and ending in a parody of Jesus Christ Superstar. Ricky Ross sounded great (I'm not traditionally a fan) and the beat boxers were highly skilled. I just wish the other elements had been as accomplished. 2.5 stars.

Posted by stupot at July 1, 2012 04:23 PM