CHOICE OF THE WEEK AHEAD:
1 DUNEDIN CONSORT QUEEN’S HALL, EDINBURGH, TODAY, 7PM; EDINBURGH ROYAL CHORAL UNION ST CUTHBERT’S CHURCH, TODAY,7PM
It is Palm Sunday tomorrow and in Edinburgh there is a battle of the Passions. The leaner team is the awardwinning Dunedins, who have followed up their prize-winning Messiah with a new three-disc Linn recording of Bach’s Matthew Passion (reviewed by Michael Tumelty on page six). Director John Butt takes a one-voice-per-part approach to the score and in this concert Nicholas Mulroy will replay his performance as the Evangelist, while Roderick Bryce sings the words of Christ. Choristers from St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral will provide the bolstering choral forces here. The disc may be new but this is the ninth consecutive year that the Dunedins have turned in an Easter Matthew Passion for the home crowd. Other forces first performed it on Good Friday 1727 and it found a new champion a century later in Felix Mendelssohn.
The Edinburgh Royal Choral Union performs JSB’s St John Passion, an earlier work, but intended for the same date in the calendar at Leipzig. This larger force, which also performed their New Year Messiah at St Cuthbert’s – in the absence of the Usher Hall – features tenor Simon Wall as the Evangelist, and Episcopal Bishop of Argyll and the Isles Martin Shaw singing the words of Christ. As befits a piece derived from the slimmer of the gospels, it is a briefer work and less incident-packed. It is also, arguably, more meditative, if not downright gloomy in places. The conductor is the man who has done so much to revitalise the Choral, Michael Bawtree.
It is possible to catch both choirs and both Passions by going to the performance in Dunblane Cathedral tomorrow at 6pm.
2 CARNEGIE HALL,DUNFERMLINE, TONIGHT,7.30PM;MOTHERWELL CIVIC THEATRE, MONDAY, 7.30PM; REGAL COMMUNITY THEATRE, BATHGATE, TUESDAY, 7.30PM; RYAN CENTRE, STRANRAER, WEDNESDAY, 7.30PM; MACROBERT, STIRLING, THURSDAY, 8PM
THE WALL A week from today, DC Jackson’s debut full-length play will have reached the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine, but the current crop of gallus pupils at Stewarton Academy weren’t prepared to wait that long to see what that august institution’s old boy had made of his youth in their neck of the woods. So a large posse of them turned up at Glasgow’s Tron in the show’s opening week to make like the liveliest, most reactive audience anyone but the hardto-please author would wish for. Such an evening makes clear that it is not true that young people have no interest in the theatre, they just need to see more in the theatre of the stuff that young people are interested in.
Borderline’s production is exactly what a touring show should be, and Fife, Lanarkshire and West Lothian are likely to find that Jackson’s Ayrshire experience is awfully like the local lives of teenagers most places. It’s a kind of obvious comparison, but The Wall hits the same targets as Bryan Elsley’s Skins on Channel Four or the controversial contemporary books of Melvyn Burgess. The sex, drugs and swearing are all part of the mix, but there is a moral core that youngsters want and their guardians are glad for. Directed by the Tron’s most recent ex-director, Gregory Thompson, he and Jackson are well-served by an excellent quartet of performers: Scott Hoatson as the confused Barry, RSAMD CPP-course graduate Kirstin McLean as his gothy love-interest Michelle, Finn den Hertog as hilarious Ned philosopher Rab, and Sally Reid as Barry’s young sister Norma, revelling in a role written specially for her.
3 THE BLANK ALBUM ARCHES, GLASGOW, TUESDAY TO THURSDAY, 7.30PM
Choreographer Natasha Gilmore continues on her mission to make vivid, entertaining and honest dance theatre in The Blank Album. The things real people do and feel as they go about their everyday lives is her subject and past projects seen in Glasgow have involved the true stories and experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers in Mother May I? as well as her own solo show Madam Bazie. This touchingly autobiographical piece emerged from Gilmore’s own reflections on cultural heritage, relationships and the ongoing effect of moving from her native North London to Glasgow. Asked at the time to sum up Madam Bazie in five words, Gilmore chose “comic, intimate, ridiculous, emotional, intricate”. This list could just as easily apply to the new company work that’s now on tour, for alongside the high-energy influences of rock music and popular culture that have widespread public currency, Gilmore introduces an emotionally charged
intimacy that invites audiences into the characters’ inner worlds.
On-stage, the five performers create a live soundscore (composed by Quee MacArthur of Shooglenifty) – not just playing their instruments, but dancing with them in moves that apparently take the art of air guitar to the next level. And because Gilmore, who has worked on several youth and community shows, is keen for younger audiences to connect with contemporary dance, The Blank Album is especially suitable for those who are 14+ (whether in real time or in their own air guitar-playing imaginations).
4 SCOTTISH DANCE THEATRE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE, WEDNESDAY, 7.30PM
A week ago the dance critic of the Guardian, not a woman to lavish praise unthinkingly, raved fulsomely about the appearance in London of Janet Smith’s Dundee Repbased ensemble after it took its latest programme down to the Robin Howard Dance theatre at The Place. Here is something we in Scotland knew already: it is not just the revival in fortunes at Scottish Ballet that make dance in this country something to be proud of. The excellent company at SDT have not only Smith’s witty choreography to work with, but also her sharp taste in new dancemakers – over the past 10 years, SDT has commissioned no fewer than 34 new works. Attention in this double-bill, entitled Defined, has tended to focus on Hofesh Shechter, whose hipness extends to choreographing the opening of the new series of Skins on C4, but the other piece, Tenterhook, is by Liv Lorent, whose wonderfully sensual Luxuria won a Bank of Scotland Herald Angel back in 2005.
The company is on the road until May and comes back to Scotland to do the S’s in April: Skye, Strontian, and Stirling.
5 MAKE MODEL LIQUID ROOMS, EDINBURGH, THURSDAY, 7PM
Back in December, Make Model appeared in Edinburgh’s Out of Blue gallery under the I Fly Spitfires club banner alongside sound sculptors Found, who had remixed a thick slab of seven-inch vinyl by the band to give away on the night. Although the release of Found’s This Mess We Keep Reshaping album was at least 50% of the excuse for the evening, the recent signing of the Glasgow-based band to EMI and the presence of the record company’s mobile recording van outside pretty much made it Make Model’s night.
The six-piece choose who they play with and where they play with some care, as recent supports to British Sea Power, Blood Red Shoes, and The Twilight Sad would suggest. Currently they are off at SXSW in Austin, Texas where they will surely be making many more friends.
Songwriters Lewis Gale and Gordon Skene share frontline vocals with the effervescent Aimi Gold, whose diminutive presence recalls Altered Images’ Clare Grogan at her young skippiest. The band’s first independent release, The LSB (as in Less Said the Better), has now been reworked by Stateside producer Rich Costey for April release on EMI. There is little typically Glasgow jangly and indie about either it or the band’s live show, and their music tends to look across the Atlantic to trendy modern names like Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire. Lyrically, while their songs may be prosaic in inspiration, they employ a most distinct and individual approach to the English language. This is a post-US one-off in Scotland before the band head south, but there are gigs in Aberdeen, Dundee, Tuts in Glasgow and Edinburgh’s Cabaret Voltaire in the run up to the release of the single on April 14.
Clockwisefrommain:FinnDen Hertog and Sally Reid in The Wall; Philippa White in Scottish Dance Theatre’s Tenterhook; Make Model;theDunedinConsortsingBach;The BlankAlbum