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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me @markffisher and @writeabouttheat I am an Edinburgh-based freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success, published in February 2012 and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers published in July 2015. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide. See my website for more information and comprehensive Scottish theatre links.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Smalltown, theatre review 2

Published in The Guardian

Smalltown

Tron, Glasgow
It will be remembered as the show with the masturbating fox sitting at the head of a bed with a masturbating stag. Yet this scene isn't some troubling piece of psychodrama from Anthony Neilson, but the culmination of a deliriously funny two-hander by DC Jackson. A kind of condensed version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, it is half bad-sex romp, half atavistic nightmare, and all hilarious.

What's more, it is only a third of a joyfully frivolous evening in which three thirtysomething Ayrshire playwrights club together to suggest possible consequences of a poisoned batch of bottled water on their hometowns. For Jackson, writing about a teenage night of passion-free sex in Stewarton, the water has Jekyll and Hyde properties, superbly demonstrated by Sally Reid, a master of the deadpan double-take.

For Douglas Maxwell, the water is rebranded as "Rabbie juice" to commemorate the anniversary of Robert Burns losing his virginity (nobody said this was subtle) and is causing a spate of deaths affecting anyone not native to Girvan: hellish for the tourist board.

And for Johnny McKnight, who doubles as director for this Random Accomplice production, the water has led to a lunchtime of the living dead as - in a cross between Dinner Ladies and 28 Days Later – two Ardrossan catering staff lose their temper with a zombie in the freezer who is playing havoc with their work schedule.

As if to underscore the inconsequentiality, the audience votes on which of the three scenarios it wants to see the end of, merrily forgetting about the other two. On press night, Ardrossan was victorious, Stewarton was robbed, and everyone went home with the kind of daft grin you get from eating too many sweets. (Photo: John Johnston)

© Mark Fisher 2011
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