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Review: Theatre

The Tin Forest Show

The Tin Forest Show

South Rotunda, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

NEW uses for old, discarded stuff is the inspirational theme of Helen Ward's magical book for children.

With that in mind, the National Theatre of Scotland has fixed on the South Rotunda, once thrumming as a portal for traffic crossing under the Clyde, as its performance hub during the Commonwealth Games.

There are all kinds of dark nooks and corridors in this building and director/designer Graham McLaren - in cahoots with puppet-maker Gavin Glover - has, as it were, recycled them into a tantalising labyrinth where the Tin Forest story of a crabbit auld geezer and his junkyard experiment lurks behind hidden doors. It all begins with a phone call - and yes, it's for you.

Don't worry: there are enough little art-deco booths for everyone to lift a receiver and listen to the storyline. Even so, nothing quite prepares you for the sheer intensity of atmospheric detail that McLaren has layered into each cluttered wee room, or each miniature model illustrating the narrative.

As for the unwitting codger-hero, he's an almost life-ize saggy-baggy Glesca puppet of limited vocabulary - most objects are a "hingummy" - but with a mind that can dream fantastical life-form possibilities and the tangential imagination to engineer them into life.

Your own imagination gets greedy for more of the quirky, resourceful inventiveness that morphs old cans, forks, road signs into a metal forest that does, in fact, bloom as nature intended.

We surface into the airy Rotunda dome, itself now a haven of live song and aerial 'birds' - All Or Nothing performers on silks - and a wrap-around vista of green open spaces. Social and political strands are woven through our promenade, but for young and old, this is a revelatory promenade through the transformative alchemy of theatre.

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