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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Theatre review: Glimmer

Published in the Guardian
Glas(s) Performance at Tramway, Glasgow
Four stars

’TIS THE season to be jolly. Unless you’re Megan Reid and you’re just not feeling it. No matter how many decorations, Christmas jumpers and festive movies your big sister Rosie throws at you, you’d sooner be snuggled up on the couch, keeping it mellow.

As far as plot goes, that’s about the limit of this two-hander by Glas(s) Performance, but that doesn’t stop it being a warming mince pie of a show, quietly digging into an ordinary family history to bring to the surface the bonds that hold us together. Inside this everyday relationship, they find something uplifting, tear-jerking and true.

Megan and Rosie are real-life sisters, graduates of the superb Junction 25 youth theatre run by directors Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore. Megan is 22 and Rosie one year and two days older. Those two days, she insists, are important, which gives an idea of the quarrelsome territory we are in.

A kind of lopsided cabaret, Glimmer is powered by Rosie’s ebullience and disrupted by Megan’s laidback indifference. Even when persuaded to pick up her guitar, Megan offers only half-tempo indie-folk renditions of Christmas favourites, sweet-voiced but morose. Her downbeat vibe almost – but only almost – brings Rosie’s puppy-dog bouncing to a halt. After 22 years together, they have been here before and will be again.

But, just as neither has shaken off the squabbles of their childhood, neither has let go of the shared experience, the kinship and all those Christmases together. However mismatched they may seem physically and temperamentally, they have a relationship closer than any other. Just look at the gorgeous sequence where they watch It’s a Wonderful Life in positions more intimate than even lovers would adopt.

There is cruelty to come but beyond it a reconciliation rich in seasonal sentiment. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

© Mark Fisher 2014 
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