Daniel Kitson – As Of 1.52pm On Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title, Traverse Theatre


The first surprise of Daniel Kitson's new show is his appearance. The stand-up turned sit-down story-teller's shaggy locks and beard of old have been excised in favour of a shaven-head that makes him look, well, harder. Second, it's his material. As the title hints at, there is the possibility that Kitson didn't have a clue what he was going to do when he signed up for the run. Or maybe he did, because the script he reads from while sat at a trestle table on a bare stage is a self-reflexive form of anti-theatre cum artistic suicide note that would put Alfred Jarry to shame.

The story Kitson reads is not the sort of lo-fi affirmation of life that he could have dined out on and charmed audiences. Rather, it's an angry two-fingers to expectations which charts his unwillingness to kowtow to commercial forces as he spectacularly fails to come up with anything for his new show beyond writing about not writing about it.

As a masterpiece of wilful self-sabotage, it's on a par with getting the smartest kid in the class to read the lesson at assembly, only to watch them tear it into pieces and throw them in the air. But whatever Kitson does will only make his core fan-base love him more for a show that manages to be artistically pure, cantankerous, bone-idle self-indulgent rubbish and smash hit all at the same time.

Until August 26

Theatre Uncut, Traverse Theatre


THE second of three Theatre Uncut programmes of work delivered in a lo-fi script in hand presentation in the Traverse bar is as revelatory as the first. Of the four plays designed as rapid responses to the world's ongoing financial crisis, Stef Smith's contribution, 250 Words, is the most recent. Inspired by a story in a national newspaper, it charts would-be suicide Blythe Duff's life measured in column inches. Indulge finds a quartet of bankers including Phil Nichol and Molly Taylor attempting to rebrand their image via the seven deadly sins in Icelandic writer Andri Snaer Magnuson's pithily pertinent piece.

A Chance Encounter is Syrian writer Mohammed Al Attar's study of a young man's encounter with his friend's father on a beach in Beirut.

Best of all is the opening piece, Spine, by Clara Brennan. A beautiful monologue performed equally wonderfully by Rosie Wyatt, Spine's narrator is a young student looking for somewhere to live who chances on an old woman who, along with her neighbours, has stashed all the books that were dumped after the local library was closed down.

The young woman becomes an autodidact, effectively inheriting her accidental mentor's vast store of wisdom. In its simple set-up, Brennan presents a devastating portrait of standing up for yourself in broken Britain. Wyatt's character is a 21st century Beattie Bryant in a heart-wrenching miniature that's about learning to care and caring enough to learn.

August 20 only.

The Static, Underbelly


WHEN troublesome teenager Sparky hears voices in his head, it's the start of an awfully big adventure in which he finds out how special his powers can be. Sparky only really finds his potential when he meets kindred spirit Siouxsie in detention one night. Together, they could move mountains if they wanted to.

Davey Anderson's play for the young Thickskin company taps into the sort of generic amalgam of science-fiction and yoof TV that made Misfits so great to work through adolescent neuroses that nods to John Wyndham's The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos in terms of dealing with being different. Stylistically it's something else again in Neil Bettles' high-octane multi-media production, featuring video projections and a fine electronic soundtrack.

While the central story is Sparky and Siouxsie's, played by Brian Vernel and Samantha Foley with wide-eyed brio, the back-stories of love-lorn teachers and step-parents illustrate lives equally out of kilter. The energetic charm that flows throughout this telling fable is as captivating as the kiss that puts everyone back on the right track.

Until August 26