Friday, October 21, 2011

I craft, nimbly

I've always found Anna Hafsteinsson, of the Journal, to be one of Scotland's wisest, most perceptive and astute young critics. I've felt this way ever since I first encountered her work early yesterday morning online.

Judge for yourself, though, below:

"Two eccentric, turban-wearing, fat bottomed dames present to you, their captive audience, THE END OF THE WORLD. Yes, 'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Apocalypse and the last hour and seven minutes of your life. We hope you enjoy the show'.

This daring little performance, brought to you by The Occasional Cabaret and directed by Peter Clerke, is creative, thoughtful, and wickedly dark at times. All in all, an hour and seven minutes thoroughly well spent. This show, however, was much more than your typical Cabaret performance, boasting a real depth and intelligence in John Clancy’s nimbly crafted script and in performances from Catherine Gillard and Nancy Walsh that bring it to life with such vigor and panache. Apocalypse boldly confronts our terrifying modern world, in all its brazen glory.

After this performance it might feel as though you’ve been bombarded with few textbooks worth of existential philosophy to process. This, though, is not necessarily a bad thing. It is brilliantly audacious theatre that asks us to question ourselves and our assumptions, that attempts to uncover the real heart of the human condition, that endeavors to wake us from our ‘21st century sleep'.

There are points in the production where it seems like this dynamic duo might just have crossed the line of what is morally acceptable, even for progressive theatre, but those wildly inappropriate moments (for example, an awards show sketch honouring the greatest mass murderers of all time) are somehow transformed into a device used to flip our perceptions and prompt our brains out of their dozy stupors.

The musical direction, from Tim Brinkhurst, flawlessly combines biting satirical numbers with country inspired ditties that would not seem out of place at a Dolly Parton show. The accompanying singer/guitarist – a silver fox of a gentleman with a voice like butter and very cool shoes – must also have a mention. Even in our seemingly bleak world of overpopulation, famine, floods, hurricanes and terrorist attacks, one leaves the depths of the Traverse feeling hopeful, even excited, and very glad that it wasn't the end of the world."

See what I mean?

Off to Fife tonight, things are about to get interesting...

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