The National Theatre of Scotland seems to be going through a real purple patch right now. Hot on the heels of their successful adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s Room comes this wonderful free family event,which stretches the length of Speirs Wharf, all the way along to Firhill Football Stadium.
Written entirely in rhyme and directed by Simon Sharkey, with dramaturgy by Martin O’Connor and sound/music by Ross Brown, it had to be a winner. Fusing visual wonders with strong storytelling, it runs the gamut of styles-from whimsical (1934’s The Boy Who Pulled The Plug) to a moral fable on greed (The Treasure Hunter from 1954, as pertinent now as then). There’s gallus weans, fairies, fitba, wartime words and fisherman’s tall tales.
But it’s Jo Freer and her gorgeous telling of 1789’s The Hart and The Fox which is most moving-an ill-fated love ballad of a stag and fox. It’s also performed in a gorgeous follow-up version by four water nymphs using BSL, which draws out the lyricism of the tale, without using a single word.
Alan McHugh is the titular Submarine’s captain and the supporting cast, whose age range varies, are dynamic and charismatic:even some typically Glasgow summer rain can’t dampen their spirits. The patter is no’ like watter here-better to dive right in and embrace it all, rather than just paddle.
Main photo of Alan McHugh as the Captain by Johnny McLauchlan courtesy of the NTS, all other pictures by me.