The Hit List
Four-page preview of the big events of the next seven days
The big events in Scotland over the next seven days ... and why you’d be crazy to miss them
• Comedy David O’Doherty
Oct 14, Webster Theatre, Arbroath; Oct 15, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
In 2014, David O’Doherty tried to reassure everyone with his show David O’Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything.
If you are able to prise your hands off your face long enough to get a peek at the news, you will know that the Dublin-born comic has failed utterly at that task – and winning the bronze medal in East Leinster’s under-14 triple jump in 1990 is not going to make up for it.
What may, at least for an hour or so, is his new show You Have To Laugh, which he takes to Arbroath’s Webster Theatre tonight after two sold-out nights at the Aberdeen Comedy Festival.
Rather than hiding away from the retreat of democracy, environmental disaster and a world set to a spin-cycle of chaos, O’Doherty says he wants to stride right up to the madness and laugh in its face.
“What is laughter, if not happy screaming?” he asks. Never without his shoogly keyboard, he offers astute observations on how tech is embedded in our lives, Brexit’s impact on Irish politics, Australian traffic cones and how to, in the words of a current song, “Get Your Shit Together” by focusing on achievable, everyday tasks of such as fixing the wobbly screws on the toilet seat.
• Theatre The 306: Dusk
Until Oct 27, Perth Theatre
Set on November 11, Armistice Day 2018, The 306: Dusk explores the relevance of the First World War to contemporary people, especially young people.
A collaboration between the National Theatre of Scotland, Perth Theatre and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme marking the centenary of the conflict, the musical play sees a pregnant teacher go AWOL from a school trip to the Somme.
In a forest inspired by Delville Woods, one of the First World War’s bloodiest battlefields, she is joined by an injured veteran of the Iraq war and a blindfolded soldier who has just woken up after 100 years.
He is Private Louis Harris, a young soldier who was executed for desertion on November 7, 1918, just days before the Armistice. Harris was the last of “the 306”, the exclusively working-class British soldiers shot for military offences during the conflict, and the inspiration behind a trilogy of recent plays by playwright Oliver Emanuel and composer Gareth Williams of which 306:Dusk is the final part.
Whereas the previous two parts told the story of three of the soldiers condemned during the Battle of the Somme and the troubles of their bereaved and stigmatised families back home, 306: Dusk is a “kind of contemporary ghost story,” says Emanuel.
“These three characters, the teacher, the soldier from the Iraq war and this soldier who is waking up, are all there in the wood for different reasons and you find out how they are all connected,” Emanuel continues. “In northern France and in Belgium you have all these beautifully-kept, very moving little cemeteries just on the edge of a field, at the side of a road, in a wood. During the First World War they buried the men where they fell. So these memorials are exactly where it happened.” Emmanuel says he is motivated as a writer by exploration and reflection.
“I want to find what I really think about something,” he says. “I start with the questions. My question here was why we should remember and why our children should remember.”
• Event BBC Good Food Show Scotland
Oct 19 to Oct 21, SEC, Glasgow
Returning to Glasgow’s SEC for its 12th year from Friday to Sunday is the BBC Good Food Show Scotland, a celebration of fine food and drink and culinary inspiration from producers, top chefs and restaurants.
Highlights this year include the return of The Big Kitchen where visitors can learn tips from TV chefs such as Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge, MasterChef’s John Torode, chef, author and TV presenter Nadiya Hussain and Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood.
Each will host half-hour cookery demonstrations over the course of the weekend, which can be booked in advance or signed up to on the day, subject to availability.
New demonstrations for this year include Travelsphere’s A Taste Of Italy, hosted by Marcus Bean with guest chef Eleonora Galasso.
Also new for 2018 is Taste The World, a “sampling theatre” presented by members of the Glasgow Restaurant Association and hosted by Anne Mulhern from The Willow Tea Rooms.
Some of Glasgow’s best restaurants will host pop-ups, with Chez Mal, Malmaison Glasgow’s French-inspired restaurant, on Friday, Two Fat Ladies At The Buttery on Saturday and, on Sunday, Grill On The Corner, based on the city’s Bothwell Street.
• Film Make Me Up
Oct 14, Glasgow Film Theatre; on tour
Make Me Up, the new film by multi-media artist Rachel Maclean, was not made in response to the allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh or Harvey Weinstein or to the election of a man to high office who says he grabs women by their genitals.
In fact, she had written a large part of it before the Weinstein scandal erupted. And even if Trump hadn’t been elected, the cultural pressures and contradictions faced by contemporary women which her film satirises would still be there.
The brutalist, candy-coloured world depicted in Maclean’s film feels just a few steps removed from the real one as viewed through our hand-held devices: a world of Instagram filters, of rigid conformity and where violence and exploitation are but a few clicks away.
Maclean will follow today’s screening of Make Me Up at the GFT with a Q&A, as she will after Oct 16’s screening at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse. Further screenings in Scotland this month before BBC4 broadcasts it later this autumn are at An Lanntair, Stornoway (Oct 18), Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist (Oct 19), and The Barn, Banchory (Oct 31).
The film stars Maclean alongside Christina Gordon and Colette Dalal Tchantcho, performers who play make-up vloggers Siri and Alexa. Trapped inside a cutesy “Dreamhouse” they must compete for survival in a series of demeaning tasks.
Presiding over the group is a fuschia-haired authoritarian (Maclean) who lip-syncs to the voice of Kenneth Clark from landmark 1960s series Civilisation.
Both recognisable and sinister, this is a place where the dominant, money-making culture defines and constricts women. There’s subversion and feminist backlash here too – among those voices that come from the pinked-up Siri and Alexa are those of suffragette Mary Richardson, Rose McGowan and a member of feminist art group The Guerrilla Girls.
Kirkcudbright Festival Of Light wraps up today with a closing concert by leading string orchestra Scottish Ensemble at Kirkcudbright Parish Church.
In a programme inspired by the theme of light, the Ensemble will play the classic clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms and The Wind In High Places by John Luther Adams.
The concert will be a majestic soundtrack to the final evening of the festival, which has seen the town glow with illuminated designs beamed onto historic buildings and artistic light installations – not least Alex Rigg and Trevor Leat’s 18-foot wicker horse (pictured), which towers over visitors at Kirkcudbright’s Harbour Square.
Irish comic David O’Doherty describes his new show You Have To Laugh as ‘made up of talking and songs played on a crappy keyboard from 1986’
From left: The Good Food Show is at the SEC from Oct 19; Danny Hughes in First World War play The 306: Dusk, at Perth Theatre until Oct 27