JOYCE MCMILLAN on I’D RATHER HUMBLE THAN HERO at Tramway, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 31.3.14.
4 stars ***
WHAT IS IT they do, at the Tramway’s acclaimed young people’s theatre group Junction 25, to make their shows so unforgettable? It’s not always a matter of huge thematic coherence. This latest 45-minute show, devised and directed by Tashi Gore and Gary Gardiner with a company of 16, dodges through three fragmented sequences titled “I’m Telling You Kid You’ve Got Potential”, “Dead Flowers Aren’t Pretty” and “I’m Losing My Edge”. Often using the insistent backbeat of Lorde’s subversive global hit Royals, it explores ideas of success, status and desirability, and how they impact on teenage identity; but there’s plenty of individual self-expression, no through argument, no conclusion.
The secret of the show’s success, though, lies in two areas. The first is the sheer technical excellence of the production; Lynfryn Mackenzie’s lighting is unobtrusively beautiful, the audiovisual images by Colin Chaloner are witty and subtle, and the choreography is quietly superb, as the sixteen move around the stage with a terrific sense of freedom, yet in perfect co-ordination, flinging on party clothes and wigs, discarding them, swirling through simple formations that always express the tension between individuality and the crowd.
And finally, there’s a creative process that somehow enables the young performers to take complete ownership of the show they present; so that their faces glow with commitment, and a complete presence that’s moving to witness. You have to be there, to sense the full force of Junction 25; but although the opening run of I’d Rather Humble is over, my guess is that this gorgeous show will be back, before very long.