PREVIEW NEW PLAY SATURDAY NIGHT Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 7–Sat 15 Oct, and on tour

In 2009, one play dominated the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Picking up the gongs for best director, ensemble and production, Interiors, by Glasgow’s Vanishing Point was a performance of startling originality. Inspired by a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, it took place behind the window of some northerly house on a bitterly cold night and turned the audience into voyeurs peering through the glass at a stranger’s dinner party. Audiences loved it as much as critics, but for

director Matthew Lenton, it wasn’t the end of the story. As he saw it, the technique was not just a novelty but a fascinating way of exploring other people’s lives. There was still more mileage in the idea, which is why he is back in similar territory with Saturday Night. ‘In Interiors we found something that I wasn’t completely ready to move on from,’ he says. ‘I was fascinated by it and wanted to push it further.’

This time, we get to snoop on the goings on in three different rooms and, unlike Interiors, there is no narrative voice to keep us straight. ‘Someone asked me why do another show behind glass, but my answer is why shouldn’t every show be behind glass?’ says Lenton. ‘For me, it’s more interesting than watching a play where the fourth wall is invisible and everything is neatly explained to you.’ His intention in Saturday Night, a dark meditation

on solitude, is to encourage audiences to make their own interpretations of his dreamlike images. ‘Saturday Night is the flip side of Interiors,’ he says. ‘Where Interiors celebrated the ephemerality and delicacy of life, this is abut the darker and more chaotic forces of nature. I was interested in creating something that was like a dream, that doesn’t add up, that doesn’t explain itself.’ (Mark Fisher)

PREVIEW MODERN CLASSIC A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 19 Oct–Sat 12 Nov

Phillip Breen is only 32, but already he has the honour of straddling three regimes at the Citz. Straight out of university in 2003, he was taken on by Philip Prowse to direct The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, returning at the invitation of Jeremy Raison to direct The Shadow of a Gunman and The Caretaker. Now, with the arrival of Dominic Hill as artistic director, he is back with A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Peter Nichols’ bittersweet comedy about a couple and their disabled child.

By chance, it was a play he always dreamed of staging at the Citz without realising it was here in 1969 that it had its premiere. For him to open the autumn season with the play with Miriam Margolyes and Miles Jupp in the cast is a particular thrill. ‘It must have been in the walls somehow,’ says

Breen, who directed Humphrey Ker in Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!, winner of the best newcomer gong in this year’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. ‘The play wasn’t conceived for the Citizens, per se, but there is something about the self-conscious vaudeville nature of the first half that lends itself to an old variety hall.’ (Mark Fisher)

106 THE LIST 22 Sep–20 Oct 2011

PREVIEW CABARET APOCALYPSE Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 5–Sat 8 Oct; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 13–Sat 15 Oct

Two years after they folded their lauded theatre company, benchtours, Catherine Gillard and Peter Clerke are touring with a new outfit: Occasional Cabaret. Apocalypse, their first full-length production, developed from a two-week residency at Edinburgh’s Dancebase in 2010, was penned by award-winning American John Clancy (Fatboy).

‘The show is built around the idea that it’s cabaret to celebrate the end of the world,’ explains Clerke, who directs the piece. ‘With all this talk of raptures and the Mayan calendar running out, there appears to be something about apocalypse every week in the papers. That was the initial mover for the piece, and we wanted to combine that in a cabaret style and to use bouffant-esque technique.’

Clerke was previously actively involved with Edinburgh’s infamous Café Grafitti, where he experimented with the cabaret format. It’s an approach that he hopes will enhance this new, chaotic work. ‘I hope it’ll be a different atmosphere,’ he says, ‘Quite a lot of the action will go in and around the audience, but in a nice, non-threatening way.’ (Yasmin Sulaiman)

PREVIEW NEW PLAY CALUM’S ROAD Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 4–Sat 8 Oct, and on tour

It’s nearly 40 years since Calum MacLeod single- handedly built a much-needed stretch of road on Northern Raasay, after decades of unsuccessfully lobbying the local council. Now, this inspirational islander is the subject of a new National Theatre of Scotland-backed play. The impetus behind the production came from actor Iain Macrae, who plays Calum. After reading Roger Hutchison’s book on the tale, he convinced Communicado’s Gerry Mulgrew to direct the project and David Harrower (Knives in Hens) to write the script. ‘I think the story has national if not universal resonances,’ Macrae says. ‘We all know what it’s like to be told by authority that you can’t have or do this or that. Calum takes matters into his own hands and changes things we all like to imagine we can do that.’

The tour of Calum’s Road ends up in Raasay in late November. And its arrival may already be spurring the local council into action. ‘At the moment,’ Macrae explains, ‘the road is completely pot-holed it’s a challenge to move above second gear. I hear the council roads department were in Raasay last week perhaps they’re nervous of impending publicity!’ (Yasmin Sulaiman)