I went to Glasgow on Saturday 18th March to watch Bridget Christie’s show Because You Demanded It in the evening. I had managed to miss all of her highly praised shows in Edinburgh last year as I was committed to something else at the time of each of her performances during the Fringe.
Travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow nowadays is a fair commitment in terms of time and to an extent, money. A proper country would have a bullet train or some similar arrangement between that country’s capital and its major city; here, it takes nearly two hours to travel the forty-four miles from city centre to city centre on a bus; although the train does not take as long, you’re less likely to get a seat and it is (to me) too expensive for too little gain in time.
(But hey, we’ve got trams in Edinburgh which take you from the airport to a shopping centre to a business park to Haymarket Station to quite near Waverley Station and then terminate before they do the return journey.)
So it is desirable to maximise the bang per buck, or the power per hour for the Edinburgh/Glasgow journey. Luckily, I’d noticed that there was a production of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage on at the Tron Theatre and there was a matinee on the afternoon I would be making my lengthy journey. The final selling point was that Lorraine McIntosh was among the cast; I had enjoyed seeing her act in NTS’s production of Men Should Weep some years ago (she is, of course, also the focal point of Deacon Blue’s stage) and was keen to see how she would do comedy. (The answer to that question is “very well indeed…”)
This is a rehearsal picture from the director’s Twitter…
I was first aware of God of Carnage from Polanski’s film version (called Carnage) in 2011, although as I wrote at the time, my enjoyment of the movie was somewhat compromised by having seen two cuts of the trailer so many times that there were few surprises in the actual film.
It’s a simple enough story; two well-off, well educated couples meet to resolve the aftermath of a fight between the respective couples’ sons and during the course of a couple of hours, what starts off as a civilised discussion turns into a bunfight involving rum, projectile vomiting and regression to feral gender and societal archetypes. Polanski set it in New York, the Tron’s production was set in France.
The Tron Theatre is a lovely experience. There’s a pleasant, well lit bar and sufficient staff to provide excellent customer care to get you to your seat. A word also for the lovely lady who sat at the edge of the stage interpreting the play in sign language – I am always so impressed at the stamina that must take.
I was in the front row, which allowed me to take in Karen Tennent’s excellent design for the stage. All the action of the piece is set in one room of an apartment and that one room was indeed represented, but the main stage was surrounded by a moat of softplay balls, which I thought were simply for effect until the first time one of the cast fell into them. Thereafter, submersion in the balls allowed the characters to fight and bicker like the children the play has them become; or to freeform drunkenly, protected from physical harm.
Direction by Gareth Nicholls was bright, to the point and allowed the cast to shine. God of Carnage is not deep, but it’s not meant to be. Nothing wrong with a fun afternoon at the theatre watching a well written play which is well designed, directed and acted. We are blessed.
It runs until 25 March.