JOYCE MCMILLAN on TOMORROW at the Tramway, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 6.10.14.
4 stars ****
ON A dark stage like a landscape of dream or nightmare, three gowned figures stand at a bench, putting final touches to what look like a series of death-masks. They smooth, they brush, they blow glittering clouds of dust through the air ; then one by one, the young actors approach, to carry away these haunting masks of their aged future selves. Then we see an old man shuffling across a snowy landscape, a vigorous young man pausing to help, and unable to shake him off; the heart and soul of this new show from Glasgow’s internationally-acclaimed Vanishing Point company lies in the truth that the two men are the same, the man called George, the young husband and father now trapped inside the body of an aged, confused and helpless man.
Already seen in Brighton and Brazil, this latest show by Vanishing Point’s Matthew Lenton marks his boldest experiment yet in shaping theatre that leaves behind the demands of narrative, to become a kind of 75-minute sculpture in space and time, full of haunting images and surging sound. In the home where George now lives, we meet the staff who care for him, the other residents, the children they once were, strolling and playing through the space. As drama, the show is perhaps stating the obvious – that old age is a slow shipwreck for all of us, and that we should perhaps be allowed to leave at a time of our own choosing. As a beautifully-made cry of grief, empathy and rage, though, this show is unforgettable; and it draws from all of Lenton’s team – including his company of eight actors – a level of artistry that leaves audiences almost breathless, and often moved to tears.