22 February 2019 The Guardian

The Dark Carnival

By Matthew Lenton. A Vanishing Point review.

IF you have ever been to the theatre with someone recently bereaved, you'll have noticed how often death crops up. It used to be an incidental detail but in recent years, from Jo Clifford's Every One to Theatre Ad Infinitum's Translunar Paradise, grief has become one of theatre's central preoccupations. So it is with Vanishing PointÕs The Dark Carnival, an underworld cabaret about the yearning of the dead and the living to communicate with each other.


28 February 2016 The Guardian

The Destroyed Room

Devised by the company. A Vanishing Point review.

YOU'LL have had the same conversation yourself. It will have started with some innocuous banter between friends. Then someone will have mentioned Facebook and, from there, you’ll have been talking about viral videos, footage of natural disasters and images you’d rather not see. Before you know it – and after a few glasses of wine – you’ll have been tearing into each other about refugees, Isis executions and babies on beaches. That’s the form of Vanishing Point’s fascinating production, which takes us from improvised coffee-table chit-chat to a vision of biblical deluge in a few troublingly short steps.


Guardian 21 April 2014

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

By Matthew Lenton and Sandy Grierson. A Vanishing Point and NTS review.

IF THERE was ever an unlikely candidate for a tribute musical it's Ivor Cutler. An acquired taste even in his lifetime, the self-styled "oblique musical philosopher" existed in a hinterland between late-night John Peel, homespun poetry and post-Goons comedy. Seeing him on stage in the 80s, I was always fascinated by a figure who seemed to have invented himself, a performer with neither precedent nor peer.

30 August 2012 The Guardian


A Vanishing Point review.

THE play by Arthur Miller that became Death of a Salesman was originally called The Inside of His Head, but the title could apply equally to Vanishing Point's nightmarish contribution to the final week of the Edinburgh international festival. The head in question belongs to a "normal and healthy" middle-class father, played by Paul Thomas Hickey, whose exterior reality Ð cosy nights in watching The X Factor Ð contrasts with his predilection for sadistic chatroom porn.


14 October 2011 The Guardian

Saturday Night

By Matthew Lenton. A Vanishing Point review.

FOR a mesmerising 90 minutes, we don't hear a single word from the six actors in Saturday Night, a new work from the company Vanishing Point. They appear to hear each other, but, being on the other side of a glass window – a palpable fourth wall Ð we have to guess what they are saying. In Kai Fischer's monumental set, we peer voyeuristically into an old lady's sitting room, a young couple's living room, and even their bathroom.

14 October 2011 Northings

Saturday Night

By Matthew Lenton. A Vanishing Point review.

SILENT MOVIES survived for decades before audiences got to hear what the actors were saying, so perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised by Vanishing Point's Saturday Night. Like its companion piece Interiors, from 2009, this international co-production is entirely wordless. It's like theatre for the pre-talkies generation. The 90-minute performance is not mime either. The actors do appear to be talking to each other, it's just theyÕre on the other side of a windowpane and we can't hear them. As in a silent movie, they communicate primarily through gesture and facial expression.

30 September 2010 Northings


Vanishing Point review.

IT SEEMS odd to praise the acting in a production in which nobody speaks, but in Vanishing Point's remarkable show, the performances are of a very high standard indeed. I'd go further and say Matthew Lenton's actors are the best ensemble on stage in Scotland this side of Black Watch. So how can this be?

21 September 2009 The Guardian

The Beggar's Opera

By John Gay. A Vanishing Point/Royal Lyceum review.

YOU have a great idea. You imagine John Gay's 18th-century satire could be set in some cyberpunk future, where the highwayman Macheath is now a "super-thief" at large in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. It would be an oversexed society in which the outlaw's girlfriends, with their nostalgic obsession for early 21st-century designer gear, would be motivated by lust, while the older generation would care only for money. At the age of 121, Madonna would be the last surviving celebrity from the time of the global floods, and the world would have descended into dog-eat-dog violence.


9 April 2009 The Guardian


Vanishing Point review.

IMAGINE watching Festen with the sound turned off. You would see family and friends gather for their celebratory meal, you would have a sense of the tensions and attractions between them, but on a dialogue basis you would be left guessing. This is the effect of Interiors, an audacious production by Glasgow's Vanishing Point - en route to the Lyric Hammersmith and the Naples Theatre festival - performed behind a glass window that turns the audience into voyeurs and the actors into characters whose actions speak louder than words.

9 April 2009 Variety


Vanishing Point review.

FACED by a multinational cast of English, Italian and Serbian speakers, helmer Matthew Lenton has devised a novel way of leaping the language barrier: cutting out the dialogue. But far from coming across as gimmicky, his wordless production for Glasgow's Vanishing Point company -- which travels next to the Lyric Hammersmith in London en route to Naples -- is a beguiling piece of social observation. Even in its funniest moments, "Interiors" is tinged with sadness, building from gentle comedy to a sweet meditation on the nature of life and death.

2 June 2008 The Guardian

Little Otik

Vanishing Point review.

THE creepiness kicks in from the start. The house lights are still up when a young girl in a plain dress appears in the aisle distractedly bouncing a ball. Making a tremendously assured professional debut, Rebecca Smith is like an otherworldly spirit, enigmatic and all-knowing, as if possessing secrets denied the adult world. In Vanishing Point's adaptation of the Jan Svankmajer film, she becomes the focal point of a nightmare fairytale that is a cross between Eraserhead and Little Shop of Horrors.

28 May 2008 Variety

Little Otik

Vanishing Point review.

AS arguments over the baby go, "When was the last time you varnished him?" is one of the less common accusations made by a wife to her husband. But when your child has been fashioned from a tree stump and you have to keep him hidden in case the neighbors notice his stick-like fingers, it's the kind of thing that matters. Thus it is, in Vanishing Point's visually striking adaptation of Jan Svankmajer's surreal 2000 movie, "Little Otik," that an infertile couple have their wishes fulfilled, only to be propelled into a nightmarish fairy tale of gothic dimensions.

23 May 2008 Northings

Little Otik

Vanishing Point review.

“ARE you barren?” asks the creepily precocious girl of her next door neighbour. The woman is indeed barren – and as desperate to be fertilised as the dark earth that covers Kai Fischer's set. So desperate is she that when her husband teasingly pretends that the tree stump he's dug up is a baby, she takes him at his word and bonds with the piece of wood.

19 August 2007 Scotland on Sunday


Vanishing Point review.

BACK on a big scale, Vanishing Point's Subway is a highly enjoyable show powered by a band of musicians from Kosovo. A dystopian tale of a Leith 10 years from now when the gap between the haves and have nots is fomenting a revolution, it features superb performances by Sandy Greirson and Rosalind Sydney, in a highly unusual theatrical concoction.


9 May 2007 The Guardian

Home Hindrance

By David Leddy.

IN the face of mass-media uniformity, theatre-makers are turning to intimate venues to offer us something unique. In Homemade, Chris Goode brought the show into his audience's living rooms, and in Spend a Penny, Andy Arnold's actors staged one-to-one sessions in the Arches' toilet cubicles. Here, we find ourselves on the top floor of a Glasgow towerblock, sharing a bathroom with actor Louise Ludgate as she strips off and nips into the shower. Theatre doesn't come more up close and personal than this.

September 2006 Northings


By Douglas Maxwell. NTS/Vanishing Point review.

CYCLING home beneath a full moon after the first night of Douglas Maxwell's ‘Mancub’ I passed two full grown foxes and a fox cub. It was if the strange animalistic world of the play, in which a dog bays endlessly at the moon "because it's full" and a teenage boy thinks he's taking on the form of rhinos, flies and birds, had seeped into the evening landscape.

18 March 2004 The Guardian

Sauchiehall Street

By Iain Heggie. Vanishing Point review.

YOU'VE heard of an in-joke, well this is an in-play. Iain Heggie's new comedy, set in the office of an actors' agent, is a satire of the industry that the audience has paid money to see. With its gags about modish Scottish playwrights, over-educated English directors and returning famous actors (a certain Ewan Carlyle is in town to shoot a movie), the play is always on the verge of short-circuiting itself.

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