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Review: Theatre

The Tin Forest

The Tin Forest

Reidvale Neighbourhood Centre, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

Regeneration lies at the heart of The Tin Forest, the children's book by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson, that underpins the National Theatre Of Scotland's contribution to Glasgow's Culture 2014 programme.

And regeneration is the heart-beat of the Tin Forest East End community project, with the theme of honouring the past - through film footage of the area's industrial hey-day overlaid with lively contributions from local pensioners - more of an incentive to look forward with the same resourceful spirit than back, in wistful nostalgia.

Outdoors, a still image of youngsters thrown on the junk-heap explodes into dance-y action, with black bin bags tossed aside as everyone hits the beat in a sharp, kicking routine that crackles with energy. Indoors, we pass a snoozy old geezer who has fallen asleep reading … yes, The Tin Forest.

We move on, into his dream-scape, and a room where the furniture is unfashionably retro and dingy - home to the loneliness that sees the old guy (a twinkly Harry Ward) start fashioning flowers out of tin cans.

If the creative team, led by Simon Sharkey, has gone into overdrive - making trees from plastic drainpipes, sourcing soundscapes from local people and places, encouraging young and old to perform in public - what really shines out is the wholehearted commitment of those recruits who re-enact the process of transformation with style.

As the trees bloom into fairy lights, so a community comes together round an old man's table, one generation bonding with another over the teapot, regaining a sense of place and pride in that place.

A final, rousing chorus of Michael Marra's Mother Glasgow seals it with a flourish.

l More information at thetinforest.com

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