There’s no point crying over spilt milk...

Tron, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


Bit by bit – sometimes with an all-out daft energy, sometimes with an almost meditative tranquillity – this performance gathers an intensity that is touchingly elegiac.

After an upbeat start – with Alexander Horowitz at the piano and Aby Watson leading us in the children’s action song "Head, shoulders, knees and toes..."– we’re ready for more musical hi-jinks from them, and maybe more opportunities for us to singalong. Well, we do get to singalong but while the rum-ti-tum little tune stays the same, the words that are (rather faintly) projected on the back drapes become a stream of family memories that mark the “spilt milk” of life as it turns into retreating history.

Actually, the chirrupy-familiar tune doesn’t stay exactly the same: it takes on different identities as a metaphor for growing up, discovering who you are. Horowitz obligingly bigs it up to operatic heights for Watson’s trilling aria-batics, sends it boogie-ing on down when she goes all razzama-jazz, spoons it out like syrup for her pop-diva mode, with its sugary-winsome salutations to Glasgow.

These sequences are so accomplished, so entertaining, that it comes as quite a jolt when the projected verses speak of death, cancer, the fear that it might be hereditary. That’s when the little tune becomes an echo of a vanished childhood, the gradual absence of words and action no longer playful but akin to a loss of anchoring memories.

The layers of music, movement, humour and insight are woven together even more effectively than when the piece had a try-out at the Arches last year. Ah.. the Arches – cruelly spilt milk we still feel like crying over.