Dir. Paul Brotherston, Tron Theatre, 20th – 22nd April
Near the end of the experimental performance based on Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by the University of the West of Scotland, one of the actors blames the budget for not actually having a T-Rex on stage. To me this was an amusing comment, as the extraordinary number of props give the impression of a limitless budget. With ladders, globes, ice picks, deckchairs, measuring tape, bottles of gin, boxes of fish and even a shelf from a bookcase, no other set is needed to depict the world of 1863 Germany and Iceland.
Tramway, 11th march
As part of Glasgow’s Tramway-based Take Me Somewhere festival, Panti Bliss – Ireland’s foremost drag queen and prominent gay rights activist – brings her acclaimed stand-up/monologue show High Heels in Low Places in front of a packed auditorium in the Pollokshields theatre. There’s little warning of what to expect, and the production – much like Panti herself – refuses to stick to any rigid format or convention. She breaks up the story-telling core with several departures in several different mediums: an immersive experience which reins itself in every so often, with frequent reflections on the very serious topics of Panti’s beginnings and rise to international fame.
Dir, Noël Coward, Citizens Theatre, 5th-22nd April
The best word I can find to describe Hay Fever, directed by Noël Coward, is ‘good’. It contains all of the necessary parts to make for an incredibly production, it ticks all of the necessary boxes, but put together it lacks something essential to pull it all together. Thus some scenes are brilliant and have the theatre echoeing with laughter, whilst other scenes seem to fall flat.
Dir. Nora Wardell, The Citizens, 28th March – 1st April
Drunk Enough To Say I love You? is a very masculine play, and this is obvious from the moment I walk into the small Circle Studio upstairs at the Citizens Theatre. The audience is greeted by a sparse set that includes a punch bag, guitar case, stereo and mini bar. The lack of stage means I first mistake the two actors for audience members as they pace about the small space. Chairs are placed against the walls around the room, creating a space almost like a boxing ring, which is enhanced by the flashing lights and techno music.
Dir, Adura Onashile, Tron Theatre, 30th March – 1st April
I walk into the auditorium not sure what to expect. A toilet attendant? Two clubs in different continents? Dreams of dancing? I am not sure this is going to work. Yet what I encountered is an intelligent, thought-provoking and sensitive performance. Somehow, it manages to connect two seemingly separate worlds by focusing on the universality of themes like dreams, power and the rights of women’s bodies.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2017- Liberté, March 18
Aptly named ‘Walk of Shame’, Eleanor Conway delivers all of the associated sensations of that experience in her debut comedy performance, as part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Unapologetic and often abrasive, she delivers a feeling of self-awareness, reflection and discomfort throughout the show. Held in the basement of Liberté, a venue where a gin and tonic will take a fiver out of your pocket, the performance feels intimate and special due to the close confines of the candle lit room. While not an unpleasant space, it means that when a joke falls flat, discomfort becomes certainly palpable.
Dir. Mary McCluskey, Beacon Arts Centre, 8th – 9th April
Scottish Opera’s Youth Company puts a contemporary spin on Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, a tragic love story about a Trojan warrior who leaves his beloved Queen of Carthage to fight in the war. The piece, created and performed by singers, instrumentalists and stage managers all aged between 16 and 21, opens with the image of a gauzy screen through which a golden backdrop can be seen. As soon as the music starts, the actors enter the stage. Their shadowy silhouettes can be seen through the shimmery gauze, which has a slight surreal feel to it. The lights dim, the screen slides away and Dido stands centre stage, draped in gold and looking imperial.