Tag Archives: Easterhouse

REVIEW: The Monster and Mary Shelley – Platform, Glasgow

The Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva. Summer, but not any old summer. This was 1816, dubbed “the year without summer”, incessant rain, thunder and lightning, cock’s crowing at noon and orange snow covering the mountainsides. Months previously Mount Tamboro in Indonesia had erupted, spewing clouds of volcanic ash northwards, but this is the 19th Century, news travels slowly, superstition, not science still abounds. These sinister, portentous happenings lend an almost supernatural aura to events at the Villa. So, when Lord Byron challenges the gathered company to write a ghost story, it is no wonder that this special set of circumstances gave birth to both John Polidori’s The Vampyre, the tale that inspired Bram Stoker’s Draculaand Mary (Godwin) Shelley’s enduring masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of the novel, theatre company The Occasion take us on “an outlandish trip through the mind of one of literature’s most influential imaginations”. In doing so, they address the oft asked questions and rumours that have endured surrounding the writing of Frankenstein. How could a women, let alone an 18 year old, write this? It was really Percy Bysshe Shelley who wrote it. But this is no ordinary 18 year old. The daughter of feminist and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin, this was a child born for greatness. A woman who, as a small child, received a tiny lectern as a present so she could join her father’s intellectual salon. Laudably, The Monster and Mary Shelley shines a light on the life of Mary. Did she write Frankenstein as a direct result of her unconventional past, or despite it? Tellingly she shouts to the monster, “you, you were the light relief”.

Stewart Ennis’ captivating script sparkles, weaving the contemporary with the classical. There’s high melodrama, horror and a huge dose of comedy. It also draws parallels between celebrity then and now, the hacks of the day following the perceived debauchery at the Villa Diodati as keenly as every move of a Kardashian. There’s also an ear-pleasing contemporary score from Richard Williams.

Catherine Gillard delivers a tour de force performance as Mary. Switching from child to teenage rebel to adult dealing with love, lust and loss. This is a well-judged piece of writing, one that will appeal to those interested in the historical events in the colourful life of Mary, and appeal to young audiences thanks to its quick, modern and witty prose. Highly recommended.

Reviewed on 25 April 2018 then touring | Image: Marc Marnie

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE REVIEWS HUB.

 

 

REVIEW: Ricky McWhittington – Platform, Easterhouse, Glasgow

Senga McWhittington presides over the Oldie Weegie Sweetie Shoppie in dear old Glasgow town, but her son Ricky has different ambitions – he’s set to head to the bright lights of the big city. When Senga’s shop becomes over-run with vermine, all under the control of the stinky Queen Rat, Senga needs her boy back to help save the day. Helped by Fairy Gallus Alice and a cast of colourful pals, will the shop be saved, will Ricky fulfil his destiny and will Senga get her man? That’s the story of Ricky McWhittington, this year’s festive offering from Platform.

Every panto trope is here: the goodies and the baddies to cheer and hiss and boo; the rhyming dialogue; the fantastically clad panto dame ready to harass some unsuspecting (male) audience members; a young couple falling in love, some up-beat pop numbers to dance to, and the traditional ‘cloot’ so we can sing along together at the end.

This is a panto full of charm and heart and perfectly pitched to its young, local audience. The cast are universally excellent, the acting so good, the tiny audience members know exactly who to boo and hiss for from the start, and hearteningly the girls kick ass and can stand their ground against any foe.

This is a panto who knows its audience well – both child and adult friendly, the audience is fully engaged from start to end. An absolute charmer from a fantastic cast, in a wonderful theatre with the friendliest and most welcoming staff in the city.

Tickets are almost sold out, so be fast, details here: http://www.platform-online.co.uk/whats-on/event/392/

 

REVIEW: Rudolph – Platform, Easterhouse, Glasgow

Esmerelda is one unhappy chicken, not only does she want to be called Joyce now, she’s also in no mood to provide the much needed eggs for the poor storytellers Christmas dinner – two poor storytellers who have no cards and no presents either. Esmerelda decides that she’ll only lay an egg if the pair re-tell her favourite story, that of Rudolph the famous red-nosed reindeer.

Rudolph (for pre-schoolers) is as far removed from the brash, candy-coloured pantomimes on offer around the city, this is the gentlest of storytelling, played out on a beautiful, naturalistic cottage-yard set, illuminated by the most beautiful lighting effects from Sergey Jakovsky.

While it does tend to stray on the side of the bizarre – there’s a strange ‘birthing’ sequence for Rudolph and Olive (the other reindeer) relishes her torment of poor Rudolph at reindeer school, it’s a gentle introduction into modern theatre for the tiniest of audience members.

The highlight of the night is when the only song of the evening plays from the radio Edwin Starr’s HAPPY Radio and the tiny dancers in the auditorium burst into life. The creators would do well to take note of the effect of music on young children – it speaks to their very soul. At only 45 minutes long it should fly by but it lacks the necessary life it takes to make it a real hit with its target audience, there’s a lot of restlessness around. A work of quality but not without its faults.

Runs until 17 December at various times

Tickets from £4.50 (local links) /£5/ £8.50

https://platform-online.ticketsolve.com/shows/873580110/events/128296769?_ga=2.1147190.662329583.1512841957-1557944836.1492164954

Sun 10 Dec
2:00pm—3:00pm
Tues 12 Dec
10:00am—11:00am
Tues 12 Dec
1:15pm—2:15pm
Weds 13 Dec
10:00am—11:00am
Weds 13 Dec
7:00pm—8:00pm
Thurs 14 Dec
10:00am—11:00am
Fri 15 Dec
10:00am—11:00am
Sat 16 Dec
10:30am—11:30am
Sat 16 Dec
2:00pm—3:00pm
Sun 17 Dec
2:00pm—3:00pm

REVIEW: Shrimp Dance – Platform, Glasgow

Shrimp Dance began with conversations between dancer Paul Michael Henry and marine biologist Dr. Alex Ford. Ford had shown that Prozac levels in the rivers and coastal waters of the UK are now so high they’re affecting the behaviour of shrimp, with the creatures abandoning their dark habitat to swim up towards the light to be eaten by predators.

Henry describes it as “a great wave of human sadness sent out to sea”. Utilising Butoh dance theatre and self-composed music, Henry performs a hypnotic hour of dance drama. The themes explored are huge: ecological crisis, mental health and consumerism, yet the moves are minute and precise – the sheer range, expressiveness and emotional impact of these are a testament to Henry’s considerable skill.

Performed as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, it opens up conversations on how mental health and its treatment can have a wider global impact and how the arts can be an avenue through which these conversations can be generated.

Utterly compelling, the astonishingly talented Henry has much to say and hopefully the dialogue will continue.

 

REVIEW: The Sunshine Ghost – Platform, Glasgow

Loosely based on the 1935 Rene Clair film, The Ghost Goes West, The Sunshine Ghost from Richard Ferguson (the pen name of conductor and RCS guest lecturer Richard Lewis) and Andy Cannon, (founder of Wee Stories Theatre for Children) is a work in progress, a co-production between Scottish Theatre Producers and Edinburgh’s Festival and King’s Theatres. The cast of six developing the work as they tour Scotland.

It’s 1958 and love-struck US billionaire, Glen Duval buys a Scottish castle and ships it across the Atlantic for his fiancée, Hollywood astrologer Astrobeth, only to discover that the castle’s ghost refuses to be parted from his ancestral home. Mayhem ensues between Ranald the ghost, Duval’s archaeologist daughter and her soon-to-be-step-mother, including curses, ship-wrecks, a séance, a swipe at Donald Trump, and a Scottish history lesson on Bonnie Prince Charlie, via Prestonpans to the battle of Culloden!

While a work in progress, it runs at a very fully formed two and a half hours. The problem is there are just too many songs, many of them merely filler. There are no costume or set changes to cover and a fair number of them fail to advance the plot in any way. That’s not to say that they are unpleasant or unentertaining, they’re not. Most are evocative of those black and white Saturday afternoon movie musicals of the 40s and 50s, a bit cha-cha-cha and samba-like, there even seems to be a new genre invented – 1950s rap! There’s also an under the sea parody with some fabulously funny lyrics. We could however be doing with a few less songs, a greater variety of musical styles and the story moving at a faster pace.

There’s huge scope for comedy in the story and with the characters. There are some great comedic moments, especially when pianist (and composer) Richard Ferguson gets his chance to shine as the Library of Congress librarian – with comic timing like that he’s woefully underused behind the piano. It’s great fun as it is but the whole thing would be elevated if it tipped even further towards comedy.

The performances are universally solid and the set and props as they are – are cleverly utilised. It’s easy to see how this could be scaled up to a full-blown touring musical – with the rolling hills of Scotland and the castle looming in the moonlight, it could be a tartan shortbread tin of nostalgia.

With shades of The Ghost and Mrs Muir and Blithe Spirit, this has HUGE potential: it just needs a few less songs, more musical variety and more comedy and it could easily be a winner.

Production images: Eoin Carey

SEAT REVIEWS: Platform, Glasgow

OVERVIEW:

Platform, Easterhouse is a 210 seat tiered auditorium.

There are ten main rows of tired seats with a gallery row directly behind that separated by a rail. Two small sets of slip seats are also located on this level.

The seating is unreserved, however, this is not an issue as the sight lines from all seats in the auditorium are excellent. and the size of the auditorium is such that in any seat, you feel close to the action.

The legroom is good, there is a footboard at the back of each seat to prevent kicking the one in front.

The seats are straight backed with arm rests and firmly upholstered.

IF YOU HAVE A REVIEW OF A SEAT IN THIS THEATRE PLEASE CONTACT glasgowtheatreblog@gmail.com or on Twitter @LaurenHumphreyz for your review to be added.

**PLEASE GET IN TOUCH EVEN IF THE SEAT YOU SAT IN HAS ALREADY GOT A REVIEW – WE WANT ALL OPINIONS OF THE SEAT – VIEW/LEGROOM/COMFORT/TEMPERATURE/IS SEAT OFF-SET OR DIRECTLY BEHIND ONE IN FRONT/ IS IT OK FOR TALL or SHORT THEATRE-GOERS? LET US KNOW.

REVIEW: Eastern Promise Festival – Pictish Trail – Platform, Easterhouse

From the isle of Eigg via Edinburgh, Johnny Lynch aka Pictish Trail, delivers an accomplished set to round off the first night of Platform’s Eastern Promise festival.

At times: folk, rave, hip-hop, trip-hop, electro and wearing the legacy of jangly Scottish pop on its sleeve, Lynch manages to pack more styles and sounds into this one performance than a festival-load of artists.

Wistful, ethereal, harmonious, soaring, screaming, but at all times original and entirely pleasing to the ear, Pictish Trail deserve to be heard.

REVIEW: Eastern Promise Festival – Visible Cloaks – Platform, Easterhouse

Portland, Oregon’s ambient duo Visible Cloaks are well known in the electronic music world. Tonight at Platform, the pair recreate their newly-released album Reassemblage, live, accompanied by live digital and installation artist Brenna Murphy.

A highlight of the evening at the Eastern Promise festival, the American duo are masters of their craft and their affecting music is the perfect counterpoint to the visual madness which abounds on the rest of the programme.

The visuals by Brenna Murphy don’t exactly gel with music, they are reminiscent of the glaring primary coloured graphics of 1980’s TV show The Krypton Factor and are simplistic rather than original or ground-breaking. That said, the music more than transcends the limp visuals.

Visible Cloaks music has the power to physically and emotionally change your state of mind and body – surrender to the sound, you won’t regret it.

 

REVIEW: EASTERN PROMISE FESTIVAL – Pauline and the Matches

If gold medals were awarded for sheer eccentricity then the collective behind Pauline and the Matches would be world-beaters.

A group of multi-media performance and sound artists create a performance and installation based on Heinrich Hoffman’s cautionary tales, Hoffman best known for his work Der Struwwelpeter (Shockheaded Peter) demonstrating the disastrous consequences of children’s misbehaviour. This work appears to be based on Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug (The Dreadful Story of the Matches), a little girl plays with matches and burns to death.

Giant matches, drawing lots to squash tiny straw doll Pauline’s, walking spotlights, cigarette smoking legs, tinfoil blanketed screaming and drumming women, a bicycle-driven panoply of instruments and a man with a shed-load of cassette tapes, are only a small sampling of what’s on offer.

Chaos abounds and the main presenter of the work (who looks as if she’d rather be anywhere else than here) appears not to have a full grasp of what she’s meant to be doing.

Amusing for all the wrong reasons.

 

 

REVIEW: EASTERN PROMISE FESTIVAL – Sita Pieraccini presents Make a HOO

Sita Pieraccini’s work Make a HOO is billed as: “a play set in the tropical hills and the Sri Lankan plains which witness a young woman’s journey as she strives to reconnect with her identity and the world she lives in”; save for some pre-recorded sounds from the Sri Lankan forest, this rambling mish-mash does nothing to either evoke a sense of place or stimulate discussion or the emotions.

Several years ago, I saw a production about the ancient myth of the Phoenician princess Europa, a show  I thought was the worst thing I have had the misfortune to endure, however, Make A HOO surpasses even that in awfulness. It is one of those works that makes you question the very reason for its existence, other than the self-indulgence of the creator.

Comprising something akin to visual and aural torture, there is no dialogue, Pieraccini performs to a pre-recorded soundtrack of natural and industrial noise, and her movement skills are not particularly well developed. There is little artistry or originality to the choreography. It captivates neither the eyes nor ears.

The themes this professes to address: “connectedness/disconnected-ness with nature”, need to be explored and discussed, however this laboured and poorly executed work does nothing to further the conversation. At one point there are the sounds of wild forest animals, one can’t help wish that the creatures of the night would eat her up and be done with it.

The kind of show that makes you lose all faith in the visual arts.

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