JOYCE MCMILLAN on CANNIBAL WOMEN OF MARS at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 10.7.13.
3 stars ***
A CRISIS OF MASCULINITY IS ONE THING; but any men who have ever found themselves wondering what it means to be a man in a world where work is scarce and women are stroppy, should count themselves lucky not to be living in the 22nd-century Scotland of the Tron’s new science-fiction-fantasy musical. Jointly written by Alan Wilkinson, Gordon Donaldson, and Mick Cooke of Belle and Sebastian, the show conjures up a grim image of a blasted planet earth governed by an evil President, where ordinary young men – including our naive young Glasgow heroes Largs and Jackson, engagingly played by Mark Prendergast and Darren Brownlie – are so surplus to requirements that they’re forbidden to have sex, and sent off by the spaceship-load to Mars, where the women literally eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s an engagingly silly story, told with great vigour by Andy Arnold’s six-strong cast, and greatly enlivened by Kenny Miller’s fabulous gold cannibal woman costumes, sported with style by Marj Hogarth as the queen, and Helen McAlpine and Fiona Wood as her daughters. The show might be funnier if it had a slightly clearer idea of what it was being satirical about; it finally blames the evil macho capitalist President for everything, but expends plenty of energy suggesting that men should be very afraid of strong women who want to devour them. The heart and soul of the show, though, lies in its series of almost twenty jolly new songs, some fairly routine pop-opera stuff, others memorably strong and satirical. It’s not a smooth show, nor always as amusing as its tone suggests; but for energy in performance, brand-new songs, a four-piece live band, and a vivid glimpse into the minds of a paranoid generation of men, it’s pretty lively stuff, and an excellent Glasgow summer night out.