Reviews: Deathtrap and Bug

Craig Angus

Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow

How far would you go for adulation, success and critical acclaim?  Could you kill somebody?  This is the question posed by Ira Levin’s ‘Deathtrap’ – the play within a play that was one of the biggest ever successes in the history of Broadway.  On this particular evening, I’ve come to consider my own murderous impulses with the Stirling based company Theatre Broad, whose job it is to make this broadway mega-hit work in the intimate surroundings of Cottiers Theatre.  The results are wonderful, and make for an evening of thoroughly entertaining theatre.

Twists are the order of the day in Deathtrap, lots of them, and while Levin’s tale is clearly outstanding, the cast do a remarkable job keeping the suspense in the air.  There’s a moment during the performance where I am so shocked and surprised at one of the twists, that I spray a half pint of Sagres over the row in front of me, and while this may not to be everybody’s tastes, it’s my own special way of praising actor Mark Harvey – who is fantastic as aspiring dramatist Clifford Anderson, veering effortlessly between nervous artist and a cold hearted alter ego.

Elsewhere the set cracks that difficult trick of being minimal but also detailed, with the plethora of potential murder weapons hanging on the walls, and old mementos of successful plays of days of yore adding to the authenticity of the performance.

It can be difficult taking such a popular and iconic drama, and presenting an original and compelling version of events, but Theatre Broad succeed – I’ll be keeping an eye out for future performances, and also for the very talented Harvey.  Hopefully the next time I’ll keep the beer in my mouth.

Bug  by Adam Buxton
Filmhouse, Edinburgh

The concept of Bug rather amuses me, a grown man talking us through the… lets say immature, world of youtube comments, a congress of irrationality, stupidity, and worst of all bad grammar.   I am, naturally, in awe of Buxton though – with Bad Dad a long time favourite, and I’m intrigued to see how this live performance of Bug turns out, and I am not disappointed.

Bug is fantastic, surprising educational and engaging – but also outright hilarious and surreal.  Buxton talks the audience through the wonderful world of music videos, from a rather bold Dizzee Rascal number, to a recent Yeah Yeah Yeahs cut that was more akin to a Christopher Nolan film than MTV material.  There are also some lesser known gems, with belgian act ‘Willow’ and their recent video for track ‘Sweater’ a kaleidoscopic feast that begs belief.

Interspersed with all this, we see Buxton’s ongoing fascination with David Bowie (or should that be ‘Zavid Bowie’) through a few tribute films, including some ‘insight’ into how Warszawa from the seminal ‘Low’ was written.  There’s also evidence that Brad Pitt has written an album about the highs and lows of going to the toilet, a piece of lowbrow humour that has me in tears.

Buxton is a comedian, but is also a bona-fide geek, and it’s this enthusiasm and talent which makes him such an engaging performer.  Fingers crossed that he brings this show back up north of the border pronto.


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