THEATRE | PREVIEWS & REVIEWS R E V I E W
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P H O T O :
M H A E L A B O D L O V C A N D N A L L
CLASSIC ADAPTATION AN INSPECTOR CALLS Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 24–Sat 28 Mar. Reviewed at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh lllll
Perhaps driven by its resonant themes of social injustice and the looming presence of revolutions and wars, An Inspector Calls has become one of the most familiar scripts from the past century. Director Stephen Daldry’s production has been touring since 1992, reaching around five million theatre-goers around the world, and emphasising how it retains popularity in spite of its raw left-wing intentions.
The plot (a mysterious inspector arrives at a wealthy home and exposes how each member has contributed to the death of a working-class young woman) is a simple analysis of capitalist oppression and sexual hypocrisy that manages to condemn an outdated economic philosophy and hint at a future socialism that would assuage its extremes. The characters all represent an aspect of how wealth corrupts, while the twist is less a dramatic denouement than a cheap coup de theatre. Daldry’s direction is sharp as it invokes both the First and
Second World Wars (set before the former and written during the latter, JB Priestley’s prediction of a coming conflagration is hardly prescient). Meanwhile the scenography of a large house manages to emphasise the pettiness of the wealthy, lending an element of surrealism to a measured and largely traditional dramaturgy.
The message is delivered clearly while the cast is strong and captures the broadly drawn characters (the inspector is appropriately clinical) and the production is tailored to the needs of students considering the script for examination. Liberals wanting a reminder of how bad capitalism is will be cheered, even though the historical remove blunts its contemporary resonance. (Gareth K Vile)
P H O T O
: L A U R E N C E W N R A M
CLASSIC ADAPTATION THE METAMORPHOSIS Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 10–Sat 21 Mar; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 1–Sat 4 Apr
From contemporary opera, through re-imagining the life and work of the legendary Scottish musician and poet Ivor Cutler, to sharp analyses of death and illness, Vanishing Point’s director Matthew Lenton has established himself as one of the most dynamic and provocative contemporary theatremakers. For The Metamorphosis, the company take on Kafka’s classic tale of alienation. Although Lenton’s approach often takes shape in the rehearsal process, here he works with a well-known text, in contrast to many of his recent productions which have been more personal. Lenton notes that The Metamorphosis ‘is a beautiful and crystal clear
metaphor, a funny but tragic story, with a contemporary relevance about how someone becomes the other.’ Seeing parallels in the experience of migrants and refugees, Lenton is aiming for a production that ‘has to pack a punch and show how someone is othered in a visceral not an ideological way.’
While The Metamorphosis marks another shift in Lenton’s career, it continues his international collaboration with Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione and Glasgow’s Tron Theatre and will have a scaled-down touring version in a similar format to last year’s Dark Carnival. Plus it holds true to Lenton’s vision of an engaged, experimental theatre, ‘to tell a story that entertains and have people think about how the show affects their actions.’ (Gareth K Vile)
92 THE LIST 1 Feb–31 Mar 2020
MULTIMEDIA MAIM Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 6–Sat 14 Mar, and touring
Evolving from a symposium held in Uist discussing climate change, Gaelic theatre company Theatre Gu Leòr have collaborated with activist group Ceòlas to develop MAIM, an examination of the relationship between the decline of languages and landscape. With words and music provided by Ross Whyte and Alasdair C Whyte, it is a raging cry against the threat of extinction that takes Theatre Gu Leòr into a new, dynamic dramaturgy, incorporating live music, video projection and Alasdair’s research into Scottish place names.
‘Place names tell us how our ancestors saw and engaged with their landscape,’ he explains. ‘They tell us that there was once a symbiotic relationship between us and the land and that’s a major theme of MAIM.’ By recognising how Scotland was once a rich, multilingual nation – and how ‘mono-linguism’ was a deliberate policy of the state – the piece examines how culture and the environment have become victims of degradation and neglect. ‘The crisis in relation to the environment and the loss of minoritised
languages and cultures such as Gàidhlig is something that affects us all,’ says director Muireann Kelly. ‘MAIM is our response to a crisis and we hope people will come away having been provoked, inspired and moved.’ (Gareth K Vile)