Looking for something to do on our last night in Glasgow, my mam and I decided to check out some new writing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The plays have been developed in conjunction with the Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland, and students from the MA in Classical and Contemporary Text. Two out of three plays are performed on each night of the run: we saw 1914 Machine by Clare Duffy and Blind Eye by Isabel Wright (the third, called White Ted and the Right to Die, is by Jo Clifford).
1914 Machine is set in July 1914, as pioneering Frenchwoman La Marquise flies over the English channel to deliver war plans to the government, radium to the king and cocaine to the bohemians. As the evening progresses in the Bohemians’ home, we learn about the different characters and get a snapshot of life for different people during that time: the writer, the pacifist, the Suffragette, and others. A twist in the tale leads to a very different kind of ending, a meditation on progress and scientific developments. All the actors were excellent, but I was particularly impressed with Isobel McArthur as the Marquise. The show employed some unusual scene changes and movement, but it really worked.
The second play, Blind Eye, was equally good but completely different. Set in the world of politics, it explores a PR firm who claim to be able to save any politician’s reputation. However, problems arise when an idealistic young intern joins the firm. Again, the acting was excellent, particularly from Jason Vaughn and Ayana Major Bey as John and Kim, the owners of the PR firm. The play explored serious issues while also managing to be very funny, particularly during the almost farcical end.
These two short plays are incredibly promising and, while they are by no means perfect, are hugely entertaining and excellently performed. The three plays are transferring to the Cockpit Theatre next week for a very short run – do catch them if you can.