PICK OF THE WEEK
Blonde are Bristol producers Jacob Manson and Adam Englefield, a duo with a great handle on infectious house monsters. To date, tracks such as Foolish, I Loved You and Higher Ground have enjoyed plenty of chart and radio love. Last year’s releases, All Cried Out with Glee actor Alex Newell on vocals and Feel Good with Karen Harding, showed that Manson and Englefield’s approach is well capable of finding favour. HOUSE Pleasurekraft Since 2009, Kaveh Soroush and Kalle Ronngardh have been producing deep, intoxicating, infectious grooves which make the biggest club spaces around purr with delight.
Tracks such as Taranatula and Chloroformd have ensured good times while their Kraftek label has released tracks by Bontan, Stacey Pullen, Oliver $, Green Velvet and many more. THEATRE Cyprus Avenue “This is a safe place,” a psychiatrist tells Eric Miller, the sullen Belfast loyalist at the centre of David Ireland’s provocative new comedy. “Here it’s okay to say anything you want to say. About anything.”
As a playwright whose scabrous work has often explored the mindset of loyalism, Ireland rarely sticks to safe places, and it takes Eric – played with masterful melancholy by Stephen Rea (above) – roughly 60 seconds to test her patience. For Eric, though, nowhere is safe: with both his identity and the future of unionism under threat, the unimaginable has happened: Gerry Adams has disguised himself as Eric’s newborn granddaughter to infiltrate the family. “It’s very unusual, yes,” he agrees, with grave concern.
The greater provocation of Ireland’s play is to make Eric’s identity crisis stand for the predicament of loyalism, a culture defined through rigid opposition, and the challenge for the Abbey and the Royal Court’s co-production, directed by Vicky Featherstone, is to move beyond comedy and bring the audience deeper into his paranoid delusion.
Rea, who presents a man as alarmed as he is convinced by his beliefs, does well with monologues of painfully funny isolation. But beyond Eric, Ireland is prone to both underwriting (in thinly conceived female characters) and ludic overwriting (such as a prolonged visitation from an absurd “angel of the UVF”), while Featherstone’s production seems to prefer the anchor of realism, making the play’s later transition into horror harder to pull off.
Ireland’s play, though, is a bold undertaking, a neat inversion of tragicomedy, which – unlike the doomed Eric, who can only define himself in opposition – is able to be two things at once.