CHOICE OF THE WEEK AHEAD:
1AYE: AN AFFIRMATION OF MARTYN BENNETT MACPHAIL CENTRE, ULLAPOOL, TONIGHT; EASTGATE, PEEBLES, WEDNESDAY;EASTWOOD PARK THEATRE, GIFFNOCK, THURSDAY; AN TOBAR, MULL, FRIDAY. ALL 7.30PM The Scottish Arts Council’s Tune Up tours are all fine things, but this is an especially fine one. Chamber music reinventors Mr McFall’s Chamber are joined by percussionists Tom Bancroft and James Mackintosh, and sax’n’piper Fraser Fifield to play the music of Bennett, who died three years ago, alongside responses to his extraordinary talent from the pens of Fifield and Edward McGuire. With musicians such as violinist Greg Lawson ideally equipped to bring their world-music virtuosity to Bennett’s compositions, this is another example of the careful curatorial attitude most who knew him have to his legacy. In other words, the best thing to do is to get our there and play the stuff. And Tune Up tours have a suitably expansive attitude to the concept of “out there”.
2IN YOUR ROOMS/UPRISING TRAVERSE, EDINBURGH, TODAY, 8PM This one-night-only showing by Hofesh Shechter’s own dance company is definitely akin to night-time star gazing. Perhaps that should be comet watching, for Shechter is currently blazing a brilliant trail across the national and international dance scene. Janet Smith, artistic director of the Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT), instantly recognised Shechter’s flair. Not only does he create dance with a playful, provocative edge, he also mixes his own soundscores (with a taste for driving percussion that could well hark back to his days as a drummer with the band Human Beings). However, it took Smith a good two years to secure enough free time on Shechter’s crowded schedule for him to make Dog, one of the works on SDT’s new touring programme – it played in Edinburgh just last week.
Traverse regulars may, as it happens, remember Shechter’s own previous stopover there in October 2006. If so, they’ll already know that the all-male Uprising is one of those swaggering, athletically combative pieces that take the lid off simmering social situations and personal conflicts, and that it’s both cleverly humorous and serious at the same time. In Your Rooms, his most recent company project, goes even further in exploring the tensions between surface behaviour and innermost fears and feelings, generating dance that is amazing to watch, but also truly moving in the loneliness and lack of control it portrays. One to catch if you can.
3THE MOTHERSHIP TRAVERSE, FROM TUESDAY, 7.30PM With D C Jackson’s Borderline show The Wall still out on the road, here’s another writer with a sure touch when it comes to portraying the trials and delights of youth. Douglas Maxwell first came to the world’s attention as a fresh-faced youth who claimed to have written hundreds of plays before Decky Does a Bronco toured swing parks to acclaim for both company and author. Now a father, Maxwell still has the skill of connecting with a young audience – a public which, he acknowledges, is not slow to announce the fact if it is bored.
This play has been staged by Birmingham Rep and is visiting Scotland on tour, although it was really designed to play schools. Its 18-year-old protagonist has a pregnant step-mum, no girlfriend and has told his disabled brother Gerry that he is an alien and that one day The Mother Ship will come and take him home. Then Gerry disappears. The policeman involved in the ensuing chase is, naturally, no less credulous when it comes to believing in science fiction phenomena. And the name of our hero in the tale of extra-terrestrial influence on ordinary lives? Why Elliot, of course.
4SUGABABES CLYDE AUDITORIUM, SECC, GLASGOW,WEDNESDAY,7PM Although musically Girls Aloud are streets ahead these days, the sassiness of the Babes still gives Cheryl and Co a real run for their money. Keisha Buchanan never misses an opportunity to add to the spurious war of words between the two groups, recently using a newspaper’s make-up column to draw attention to the more sparing use of the stuff you are likely to notice on a Babe as distinct from a Girl. Although Girls Aloud hardly go around pontificating like they are Radiohead, Sugababes can sometimes manage to make them look a tad po-faced. New recruit Amelle has the best voice of the trio and she was a stranger to most of the fans when they last played the SECC. Hence the amusing I Want to Be the Next Sugababe T-shirts available at the merchandise stall. New single Denial will surely be getting big licks, but make sure to shout for their cover of Primal Scream’s Get Your Rocks Off.
Support is 16-year-old Gabriella Cilmi, Australia’s entry in the Amy Winehouse replacement handicap chase, who has
Clockwisefrommain:The Mothershiplands at the Traverse; Sugababes play SECC; Jenna Reid mixes it up at The Blend; In Your Rooms/Uprising; Mr McFall’s Chamber