By Sue Glover. A Borderline/Hirtle Theatre review.
SOMETIMES a playwright writes a character who is bigger than the play she inhabits. Without Rachel Chiesley, real-life wife of James Erskine, the 18th-century Lord Grange, Sue Glover’s 1988 drama The Straw Chair would be a historically interesting but theatrically unexceptional evocation of life on St Kilda. We’d see Aneas Seaton, a standard-issue minister clutching his Bible and taking offence at the islanders’ godless ways. We’d see his new wife, Isabel, who, for all her youth and naivety, has a keener instinct for injustice than her bookish husband. And we’d see Oona, the salt-of-the-earth local, more uncomplicatedly good than any of them, despite her pagan superstitions..
Borderline theatre company is brandishing a lethal comedic weapon with DC Jackson's workplace rom-com. The first gag comes after less than 10 sentences and, from then on in, the laughs strike home with machine-gun efficiency. Jemima Levick's production is like a standoff between actors and audience, a tense exchange of laugh-lines from the stage and guffaws from the stalls with neither party giving an inch.
Daniel Jackson has a gift for the kind of knock-'em-dead speech, usually followed by the character flouncing off stage, that leaves the audience no option but to burst into applause. He did it in The Wall when Sally Reid first played the guileless Norma, then a 14-year-old, who brought the house down with her indignant volleys. And he does it again in The Chooky Brae, the concluding part of his coming-of-age trilogy, in which Jordan Young, as Norma's secret lover, delivers a ludicrous diatribe about circus monkeys that brings the show to a standstill.
9 September 2010 Northings
THE SON is a pot-smoking waster, the daughter is a teenage mum, the father is allowed in the house only because he is recovering from a stroke and the mother is realising this is unlikely to be a happy Christmas. Things go from bad to worse in DC Jackson's final instalment of the very funny trilogy that began with The Wall and The Ducky. The inevitable burnt dinner is the least of their problems.
By DC Jackson. Borderline Theatre review.
THIS play - DC Jackson's sequel to last year's The Wall - starts off light and breezy, charting the lives of a group of Ayrshire teenagers with a throwaway charm. It is neither adventurous nor deep, yet, in the middle of the second half, the play catches you unawares. Suddenly, you realise you care for these young people and their amplified sense of their own significance. Behind the rites-of-passage laughs, Jackson reveals a beating heart.
11 May 2009 Northings
WE think nothing of feelgood pop songs and lightweight movie rom-coms, but the breezy piece of popular romantic theatre is a rarer beast. Playwright DC Jackson has no weighty statement to make and no inclination to challenge the theatrical status quo, but in The Ducky – a sequel to the equally delightful The Wall – he demonstrates his gift for boy-meets-girl comedy that is as funny as it is tender.
By Daniel Jackson. Borderline review.
IT seems they don't do subtext in Ayrshire. The teenagers in Daniel Jackson's gossamer-light rom-com cannot let a sentence go by without releasing an explosion of unsuppressed emotion. They accompany every moment of boy-meets-girl confusion, every foot-in-mouth misunderstanding, every clumsily expressed sexual urge with a pained gesture of adolescent turmoil. It is not subtle, but in Gregory Thompson's production for the Tron and Borderline it gets many a throwaway laugh.
By Simon Mendes Da Costa. Borderline review.
SIMON Mendes Da Costa is a young playwright who has quickly found favour with audiences in London. ‘Losing Louis’, only his second play, transferred from Hampstead Theatre to the West End after a sell-out run. A new production has just begun a three-month stint on Broadway. One critic called him "the kind of popular comic dramatist the West End has long been pining for".T hat's just the kind of writer favoured by Borderline, the Ayrshire company which prides itself on its popular touch, but faces an uncertain future now the Scottish Arts Council has withdrawn its funding.
By Alistair Hewitt. Borderline review.
DOUGLAS Maxwell's latest comedy, ‘Melody’, is about a woman dealing with pangs of guilt after she snatched – and later returned – a baby from its real mother. It opened in Edinburgh the day before the Glasgow opening of Alistair Hewitt's ‘Spending Frank’, a comedy about a woman dealing with pangs of guilt after she snatched – and later returned – a baby from its real mother.
By Dario Fo. Borderline review.
BORDERLINE Theatre has a long and honourable history with the plays of Dario Fo. In 1985, the left-wing Italian farceur even attended the company's production of ‘Trumpets and Raspberries’, starring Andy Gray, and yelled his approval in one word: "Carnivale!"
PASSING Places is one of the funniest Scottish plays of the past decade. Not that you’d know it from this production. Instead of taking us on a rip-roaring ride through the Scottish landscape, director Anna Newell drags us on an are-we-nearly-there-yet hike.
By Liz Lochhead. Borderline review.
YOU never see a fairy tale heroine older than her teens, but in Good Things, playwright Liz Lochhead has fashioned a Cinderella for fortysomethings. The woman destined for the swanky red shoes is 48-year-old Susan Love (Annette Staines), dumped by her husband for a girl half her age and left doing voluntary work in a charity shop, hoping speed-dating will sort her out.
4 October 2004 Northings
By Liz Lochhead. Borderline review.
GOOD things come to those who wait, and for divorcee Susan Love romance is a long time coming. We usually talk about teenagers being at a difficult age, but what could be more difficult than for a woman in her late-40s to get back into the dating game after decades of marriage?
By Terry Johnson. Borderline review.
THIS is what I was going to say: I was going to say that Terry Johnson’s comedy is showing its age. That despite premiering only a decade ago, it is already looking anachronistic in its focus on dead British comedians – the likes of Frankie Howerd, Benny Hill, and Morecambe and Wise. I was going to say that this production by Borderline Theatre Company, well acted though it is, seems out of step with the times in a way that the last Scottish production did not – and that was at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum as recently as 1997.
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