Religion and sex dominate Linda McLean’s new theatrical offering with Magnetic North, exploring the lives and loves of four women throughout different periods of the 20th century. McLean’s lyrical exploration of the 20th century woman is touchingly poignant, but sadly there is something uncertain and unfinished that holds this piece back.
Time and space appear to be nonexistent as the four characters’ monologues intertwine to present how women today may experience familiar historical hardships. Without defining the era in which they live, the four women are all hunting for something painted as seemingly unreachable: freedom from their family, some simple solitude, time to work, or the love of a good man. And as each woman tries to better herself with every passing era, the repercussions for them and for younger generations are nothing short of devastating.
It’s clear that McLean is promoting a message against sexual conformity, that if women obey premeditated social roles they risk isolating themselves further. However, the text is at times hard to follow, as McLean tries to develop each woman’s personality in the play’s tight, sixty minute running time. The crisscrossing of narratives occasionally distracts from the subtly and nuance of the women’s situations and it becomes all too clear how the piece will climax. McLean’s women may be abstractions that themes and ideas can be pinned to as they act as voices of differing eras, but what really lets the piece down is its briefness. It abandons so many answers after throwing out reams of questions, and even though McLean has prompted a thoughtful investigation into the shifting paradigms surrounding women in society, Sex and God frustratingly leaves you wanting much more.
Thu 27 and Fri 28 Sept, 7pm Platform Easterhouse (0141 276 9696)
Mon 1 Oct, 7.30pm Swallow Theatre Whithorn (01988 850368)
Thu 4 Oct, 8pm CatStrand New Galloway (01644 420374)
Fri 5 Oct, 7.30pm Brunton Theatre Musselburgh (0131 665 2240)
Sat 6 Oct, 8pm Birnam Arts Dunkeld (01350 727674)
Mon 8 Oct, 8pm Lyth Arts Centre Caithness (01955 641434)
Wed 10 Oct, 7.30pm Eastwood Park Theatre Giffnock (0141 557 4970)
Thu 11 – Sat 13 Oct, 7.30pm Traverse Theatre Edinburgh (0131 228 1404)
Tue 16 Oct, 7.30pm Perth Theatre (01738 621031)
Wed 17 Oct, 7.30pm Paisley Arts Centre (0141 887 1010)
Thu 18 Oct, 7.30pm FTH Falkirk (01324 506850)
Fri 19 and Sat 20 Oct, 8pm Tron Theatre Glasgow (0141 552 4267)
Tue 23 Oct, 7.30pm Carnegie Hall Dunfermline (01383 602302)
Thu 25 Oct, 7.30pm Eastgate Arts Centre Peebles (01721 725777)
Fri 26 Oct, 7.30pm Byre Theatre St Andrews (01334 475000)