Glasgow in May might not have the romantic implications of Paris in April, but it still has its charms. The flowers have sprung forth in the parks and the leaves are on the trees. Young lovers dart between raindrops and into coffee shops to whisper sweet nothings over some hot chocolate; and as the football season nears its end, talk on the buses turns from penalties and pies to Proust and painting. Ok, that last one’s probably wishful thinking. However, regardless how you spend May don’t forget to take in a few of the theatrical goodies on show. Otherwise frankly I’m just wasting my time…
The Tron, after a minimalist April, are back with plenty on show, not least their regular bringing together of political work – Mayfesto. The month begins however with Ramesh Meyyappan and Iron Oxide who bring to the theatre their dark comedy of family dysfunction Snails & Ketchup. Based upon Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, this is physical and mental stimulation with Meyyappan taking to the rafters to test the meaning of family and affection.
History shapes much of the material on offer at this year’s Mayfesto, in the shape of No Time For Art 0 & 1 with tales of those who lived through the turbulent months of the Egyptian revolution, and Chalk Farm, a monologue written by Julia Taudevin and Kieran Hurley looking at events closer to home by exploring the recent riots, those involved and the culture of blame that followed. Further back in time, but still present to so many, 15th Oak’s production Minute After Midday is a powerful and haunting evocation of the events of 15th August 1998 in Omagh.
More distant but no less important are the 60 years of German history outlined in Marius von Mayenburg’s The Stone, from The Visitors and Confab’s Going Back Home viewing the US Civil Rights Movement through the experiences of Nina Simone and Lorraine Hansberry. Back in the present day, Jenna Watt’s FLÂNEURS examines urban violence using real experiences to look at the psycho-geography and the phenomenon of bystander apathy. This is whilst Fight Night looks at the world of violence from a different angle with a monologue from a boxer on the edge of a big bout. Outside the politics and history there’s some lighter fare with Ian Bustard premièring his cabaret telling of the life of Cole Porter – Night and Day; and John Osborne’s Fringe 2011 hit John Peel’s Shed, a love letter to records, radio and the comforts of sitting alone with music as your friend.
Ideas of identity and ethics are looked into across at the Arches in Adura Onashile’s one woman show HeLa based on the life of Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cancer cells. Meanwhile the Actors Lab, the Arches’ own theatre project, has Lawrence Crawford’s King of Hearts – a play very literally about the madness of war. Money matters in the form of the great financial meltdown get the flesh and blood approach as students of the Diploma in Physical Theatre Practice course use their discipline to examine the greed and consequences of buccaneer capitalism in Cash Flow.
As it so often does at the Tramway, dance is the order of the day (or should that be month) as Trisha Brown Dance Company bring a retrospective of the great contemporary choreographer’s work to the space.
Of course, David Hayman’s King Lear will continue to dominate the headlines at the Citz but the prevailing feature of this month is The National Theatre of Scotland’s Reveal festival, giving audiences the chance to catch the newest talent in Scotland. Reveal plays at the Citz this month include: Tortoise In A Nutshell’s Feral, their take on the London riots using puppetry, Alan Bissett’s political allegory The Red Hourglass, Martin Travers’ murderous drama The Roman Bridge, as well as rehearsed readings and snippets from up and coming plays. Finally, there’s the opportunity to wallow in the complex, masterful and curious world of Samuel Beckett with Krapp’s Last Tape and Footfalls, two of the aquiline Irishman’s very best short plays directed by Dominic Hill.
The Cottiers begin the month in musical mode with Sondheim’s Company and the bittersweet atmosphere of that show continues throughout with Motherwell College students giving us A Slice of Saturday Night and BA Repertory offering 70s retail drama The Fashion Floor. The mood does lighten a little bit however with jazz hands aplenty with Musical Mayhem.
Òran Mór in conjunction with The National Theatre of Scotland offer Jaouad Essounani’s dark tragicomedy about the lives of young people in modern day Morocco, Hadda and Hassan Lekliches! The Middle Eastern theme continues with Abdullah al-Kafri’s look at homosexuality in a middle class Damascus family: Damascus Aleppo.
The Theatre Royal begins its month with Scottish Opera’s final show of their current season: Giacomo Puccini’s tale of love and sacrifice, Tosca, before peppering the month with song and dance including Scottish Dance Theatre’s trio of works Lay Me Down Safe, Pavlova’s Dogs and Drift.
Sister theatre The King’s is playing some musical one-upmanship and this month has not one, not two, but four all singing, all dancing shows on their bill, starting with the legend that is The Steamie celebrating its 25th anniversary in a production directed by its creator Tony Roper. Also taking to the stage is Leonard Bernstein’s musical comedy love letter to New York, Wonderful Town with Connie Fisher and the saucy puppet show Avenue Q. That last show, despite its foam rubber characters is definitely not for kids, unlike the final offering this month, Julia Donaldson’s wonderful and much beloved tale of imagination The Gruffalo given the musical touch.
So there you have it: a jam-packed, festival of tragedy, comedy, politics, philosophy, youth, experience and tap shoes. As diverse a line up as you’ve come to expect from Glasgow’s theatres and hopefully something for everyone. So do take time to smell the roses this month, but not too long as you don’t want to miss the curtain going up.
Snails & Ketchup: Tues 1st – Wed 2nd May @ 19:45
No Time For Art: Fri 4th – Sat 5th May @ 19:30
Chalk Farm: Fri 4th May @ 20:00
The Stone: Sat 5th May @ 20:00
Minute After Midday: Wed 9th – Sat 12th May @ 19:45
Going Back Home: Fri 11th May @ 20:00
FLÂNEURS: Sat 12th May @ 20:00
Fight Night: Tues 15th – Thur 17th May @ 19:45
Night and Day: Tues 22nd – Sat 26th may @ TBC
John Peel’s Shed: Sat 26th May @ 19:45
HeLa: Fri 11th – Sat 12th @ 19:45
King Of Hearts: Fri 25th @ 19:00
Cash Flow: Wed 30th to Fri 1st Jun @ 19:00
Trisha Brown Dance Company: Sat 12th @ 19:30 & Sun 13th @ 14:30
King Lear: Tues 1st – Sat 5th @ 19:30 / Tues 8th – Sat 12th @ 19:30 & Sat 5th @ 13:30
Feral: Tues 1st – Thur 3rd @ 20:30
The Red Hourglass: Wed 2nd – Thur 3rd @ 19:30
The Roman Bridge: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th , 9th , 10th & 11th May @ 19:30 & 5th & 12th May @ 17:00 & 20:15
27: Thur 17th – Sat 26th May @ 19:30 & Sat 26th @ 14:30
Krapp’s Last Tape/Footfalls: Tues 30th May – Sat 9th June @ 19:30 & Sat 9th June @ 14:30
Company: Tues 1st – Sat 5th @ 19:30 & Sat 5th @ 14:30
Musical Mayhem: Tues 15th – Sat 19th @ 19:30 & Sat 19th @ 14:30
The Fashion Floor: 22/24/30 May @ 19:30
A Slice of Saturday Night: Fri 25th – Tues 29th May @ 19:30
Hadda & Hassam Lekliches!: Tues 1st – Sat 5th @ 12:00
Damascus Aleppo: Mon 7th – Sat 12th @ 12:00
Tosca: 4/8/10/12 May @ 19:15 & Sun 6th May @ 16:00
Scottish Dance Theatre: Friday 18th – Sat 19th May @ 19:30
Sing-a-long-a-Grease: Sun 20th May @ 19:30
The Steamie: Tues 1st – Sat 26th May @ 19:30 & 5th + 26th @ 14:30
Wonderful Town: Tues 8th – Sat 12th @ 19:30 & Wed 9th @ 14:30
Avenue Q: Mon 14th – Thur 17th May @ 19:30 & Fri 18th @ 17:30 + 20:30 – Sat 19th @ 16:00 & 19:30
The Gruffalo: Thur 10th 13:30 – Fri 11th 11:00 & 13:30 Sat 12th 10:00 & 12:00