Charlie Sonata

The Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Thu 4 – Sat 6 June

14.45 & 20.00

£7.50 – £10

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Watching Charlie Sonata for the first time is a bit like going out into town with no intention of going shopping, yet coming back with a massive grin on your face knowing you’ve ended up buying that thing you never knew you wanted but really bloody needed! A sugar-sweet treat of epic proportions, we follow the story of social misfit Charlie, played with a wondrous confidence by burgeoning talent Nebli Basani. Clinging to the classical unities, with the occasional dream-sequence flashback, Charlie is desperately attempting to assist the recovery of his recently hospitalized, thirteen-year-old niece,  Audrey. This forms the nuclei about which the nine actors spin, corybantes-style, like planets orbiting the sun as Basani crashes & burns magnificently through his mediocre world. Great praise should go to the production team – led by director Matthew Lenton – who managed to create some genuinely emotional physical set-pieces, including ballet-dancing fairies, along with an atmospheric set surrounded by empty glass beer bottles. Towards the end of the play they also plunged us all in darkness – apart from a single, flickering torch – a rare moment of cinematic mood-making in the modern theatre.

Douglas Maxwell

Douglas Maxwell

Finally, we have the play itself, a new creation by award-winning Douglas Maxwell, finished in 2013 & getting its premier in the hands of an exciting crop of young uns graduating in their respective BAs in acting and the production arts. A genuinely heart-warming play, its full of obscure mimesi, from the Sleeping Beauty folk-motif to retro time-travel. In the latter segment, I was especially thrilled by his references to the quality of teenage life in 1994 – the age of phonecards & Blur’s seminal album, Parklife – & one line in particular seemed to reflect Maxwell’s muse : ‘I did like superheroes, but I’m 40.’ I also discerned a touch of the 1999 film Dogma in the mix, for the fairy godmother, played with panache by the superb Carly Tisdall, is a traditional avatar roughly masticated  with the reckless untraditionality of our creative zeitgeist.

*

An energetic, chic & witty piece… & tho of its time it also feels rather timeless. FOUR STARS   imgres

Reviewer : Damo Bullen 

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Posted on June 5, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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