Tag Archives: Liam Lambie

REVIEW: You Go to My Head – Live@TheShed, Shawlands, Glasgow

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This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

This new cabaret show from Tram Direct is the latest offering in the fledgling Live@TheShed lunchtime theatre programme. You Go to My Head takes us on a trip back in time to the golden age of the Hollywood musical. Presenting an hour choc-full of classic tunes, it not only endeavours to entertain but educate a little too. The songs are entertainingly interspersed with information about the origins of each song and some biographical detail about the colourful lives of their composers. There’s even a bit of a musical theatre quiz thrown in to keep the audience on its toes.

The three engaging performers: Reaghan Reilly, Filipa Fallow and Liam Lambie, keep the proceedings going apace and their complimentary voices make for an interesting and varied show. The programme is a pleasing mix of solos, duets and company numbers and the block-busting musicals represented include: Kiss Me KateGuys and DollsHello Dolly, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Showboat. There are changes of pace and tone throughout with ballads, big show-stoppers and some comedy to lighten the mood. There is something for everyone here, there are even some big songs from unknown shows which have in turn become pop standards: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” to name a few. Particular highlights include Reilly’s spirited rendition of “I Hate Men”, Lambie’s “Luck be a Lady Tonight”  and Fallow and Reilly’s duet on “A Bushel and a Peck”.

As well as delivering high quality, entertaining and original shows which give new and young performers a platform to showcase their talents, Live@TheShed brings theatre right to the doorstep of residents in the south side of Glasgow. With a drink and a snack lunch thrown in for the ticket price it really is a winner.

Runs on Saturdays and Sundays until 6th October

REVIEW: Letters From Home – Live@The Shed

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This review was originally written for and published  by The Public Reviews

Writer: Liam Lambie

Directors: Liam Lambie & Filipa Fallow

Musical Director: Filipa Fallow

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Liam Lambie’s Letters From Home is a cynical exploitation of Britain’s current obsession with nostalgia: as a nation we are drowning in a sea of Cath Kidston tea towels, festive bunting and vintage china tea parties, instead this musical play is an impressively accomplished, vivid and genuinely moving evocation of Glasgow life in the 1930s and 40′s.

This two-hander charts the story of Hughie McGuire (Liam Lambie) and Margaret Hamilton (Filipa Fallow), two young people who grow up in the tenements of Glasgow. We follow the pair as their love story develops in the early 1930s, watch as their lives are torn apart by the declaration of World War Two and walk the rocky road through to V-E Day with them as the troops come marching home. Seamlessly interwoven into the dialogue are some of the biggest and most emotive hits of the era.

This isn’t a rose-tinted spectacles version of the 40′s, instead it confronts head-on some of the less palatable aspects of life in wartime. Writer and actor Lambie resists the temptation to cheapen the piece with a predictable story-line and lazy caricatures, preferring to imbue his characters with depth and deliver a story-line with genuine originality, and as a result the piece packs real emotional punch. The dialogue is sharply crafted and vibrant and there are belly laughs a-plenty peppered throughout the piece, which make the dramatic highs when they come, all the more affecting.

On such a simplistic set, with few props and costume changes, the story-line and acting have to do all of the hard work. Lambie and Fallow are an extremely talented pair, in particular Lambie as Hughie has an appealing charm that’s hard to resist; part rogue, part charmer, but ultimately flawed hero with a heart of gold, the depth of the emotion displayed by the young actor is worthy of the highest praise as are his vocals. Fallow too is an accomplished performer, exuding a real warmth, her singing voice perfectly evoking the wartime era.

This is a funny, moving and affecting little corker of a play which leaves a lasting impression. That it was written and performed by a pair of young professionals at the beginning of their careers is all the more impressive.

REVIEW: Tenement 12 – Cottiers Kelvinbridge, Glasgow

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Opening on a 1950’s tenement living room replete with the trappings of Catholic observance, Liam Lambie’s Tenement 12 tells the tale of Mamie McClure – single mother, housewife, good neighbour, friend and backstreet abortionist.

This gritty and relentless work presented by Shoogalie Road Productions highlights the attitudes towards unwanted pregnancy and mental health in the 50’s, presenting the background to Mamie’s life and the circumstances behind each abortion as a series of vignettes which offer no opinions, just the facts as each protagonist sees it – leaving the audience to draw its own conclusions.

It cleverly presents both sides of the coin – was she doing it purely to survive as she claims; the only person desperate women could turn to in an age when abortion was illegal, contraception hard to come by and poverty rife, or was it for the £5 a time fee, in an era when the average working man’s weekly wage was just that amount. Just how could any practising Catholic, especially of that time, assuage her conscience so easily? The ease with which she can talk about holidays or the weather while she carries out the procedure, with equipment stored in an innocent looking biscuit tin, is chilling. Was she an angel or a devil in disguise – an early pro-choicer, or an opportunist – you decide.

As Mamie McClure, Clare Rooney carries a lot of the weighty dialogue on her shoulders and possibly because of the effort of remembering it she loses something in the delivery, her performance was lacking a little light and shade and certainly variety of expression. That said, she portrays Mamie’s warmth and reassuring presence well. Stand out amongst the supporting cast is Carol Pyper Rafferty whose finely nuanced portrayal of Pat is utterly convincing, her surety of touch makes her a compelling presence on stage. Worthy of praise too is Nicola Clark as Sadie – neighbour, mother and woman whose life ambitions have been erased by eight children, no money and limited choice.

Lambie’s writing captures the era well, the dialogue cleverly echoing the banter between working class women of the 50’s, peppered as it is with Scottish homilies and colloquialisms. This is not an easy watch nor could it be labelled “entertainment”, instead it offers an interesting and compelling insight into a side of life that is so often swept under the carpet – but it is a tale which deserves to be told. With a little trimming and maybe more contrast in tone this work could have legs. New Scottish writing should be applauded and encouraged and Lambie’s play is a welcome addition.

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