Director Martin Danziger
Author David Greig
Assistant Director Andrew Panton
Composer Nick Underwood
Musical Director Matt Rogers
Cast 12 male / 6 female
World Premiere at the Arches Theatre, Glasgow, June 2002
Jarry’s notorious and iconoclastic
masterpiece, led by the foul Pa Ubu, the world’s first truly unredeemable
character, leaves a trail of destroyed illusions, conventions and manners in its
A grotesque and violent piece;
part farce, part parody, part tragedy,
In a imaginative new translation by David Grieg this twisted work of genius was given new life and modern resonance. This was matched by a highly physical ensemble production that brought to the fore the exuberant, hysterical and disturbing excess of the piece.
The beauty of Martin Danziger's production is that it gets down and dirty in Jarry's world of violence, avarice and sexual depravity. Using the large ensemble he creates a scene of grotesque clowns which tempt us continually to see ourselves in their faces.
The tale of Dad Ubu, the man who would kill a king to be a king, the piece casts humanity as earning the world it has got. When Ubu instigates an obscene race for a bag of gold, we are treated to a pure theatrical representation of social Darwinism...
The strength of the piece goes beyond this. Constant rotating of the roles of Dad and Mum Ubu, is wonderfully democratic and dovetails with the universalising dynamic of the play.
Joni Clark's hellish cabaret set is supreme. The ever-present David Greig's superb adaptation of Jarry's script completes a startlingly original, tremendously accomplished production.
Scotland on Sunday
... directed by Martin Danziger, who has already shown an inspired empathy with this space, in a cabaret setting on a carnival set - hall of mirrors, puppet theatre, the works... the performances are as disciplined as an appearance of barely contained anarchy requires...the work of an extraordinarily athletic ensemble which interacts alarmingly with the audience.
But beyond being riotous good fun, the production could hardly be more timely. In its rude irreverence it is the perfect antidote to all the jubilee jubilation and soccer shaped nationalism. Don't miss.