by Lynda Radley.
Traverse Theatre (Traverse 1) Cambridge Street EH1 2ED To 28 August 2011.
10am 19, 24, 28 Aug.
12.30pm 16, 20, 25 Aug.
5.45pm 17, 21, 26 Aug.
8.45pm 18, 23, 27 Aug.
Audio-described/BSL Signed 17 Aug.
Runs 2hr No interval.
TICKETS: 0131 228 1404.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 6 August
Strange world whose humanity becomes apparent.
One aspect of this year’s Traverse Festival programme is the number of major Scottish companies involved in productions. Futureproof comes from Dundee Rep, an ensemble which has attracted and developed some fine actors, as Dominic Hill’s production of Lynda Radley’s new play shows.
Hill, soon to leave running the Traverse to take over at Glasgow Citizens’, has also co-run Dundee’s theatre. So he knows the work of many actors here, one possible reason for the confident atmosphere in Radley’s story of a Victorian cabinet of human curiosities (unkindly called a freak-show).
As with John Buick, playing Riley, owner of the travelling human circus. Buick has shown how fine an actor he is in a range of characters during his time in Dundee, and his Riley has an apt mix of command and worry, a need to shift the direction of his operation while seeing the opposition he’ll face.
Or Irene Macdougall’s commanding Marketa, authoritatively still as she makes comments with aristocratic certainty, regretting the loss of the beard which has been her most obvious, if not only, unusual feature.
And Robert Paterson’s Tiny, ironically named in view of his huge bulk, now forced on a slimming programme, as Marketa is to shave in order to meet the commercial demands of changing public taste. She regrets the loss of the hair which was the one feature she shared with her father. Despite temptation, Tiny takes up exercising anything but his palate. Painful as the change is, it’s nothing like conjoined twins Lillie and Millie whose separation works out differently, a shocking individuality after their common pattern of existence.
Ironically again, the only continuing success in the show is the mermaid whose act is trickery. But the world, as a market, has no respect for truth or for feelings. The points Radley makes are given substance by Hill’s controlled production, and a cast who create a variety of temperaments, placed in their own areas, on a set by Colin Richmond that creates the fantastication of a Victorian entertainment, its dark complexion and deliberately unfocused layout giving a sense of backstage and disorder.
Riley: John Buick.
George/Georgina: Lesley Hart.
Marketa: Irene Macdougall.
Tiny: Robert Paterson.
Lillie: Ashley Smith.
Millie: Nicola Roy.
Serena: Natalie Wallace.
Director: Dominic Hill.
Designer: Colin Richmond.
Lighting: Guy Hoare.
Composer: John Harris.
Movement: Janet Smith, Sally Owen.
Audio-visual: Kim Beveridge.
Wigs: Annemarie O’Neil.
Prosthetics: Morag McLain.