With a bit of planning, a reasonably-priced day-pass and a cup of strong coffee, it’s possible to cram as many as six shows into a single evening at Arches Live. It’s a real celebration of the best emerging new artists from Glasgow and further afield - with last Tuesday’s offerings being a typically diverse and entertaining bunch.
Thomas Hobbins’ ‘Lands’ End’ provided one of the opening night highlights. Mentored by fellow Arches alumni Gary McNair, Hobbins takes centre-stage on a stationary bike, cycles and sweats. His hobbit-obsessed monologue takes the audience from Lands’ End to John O’Groats via childhood, friendship, loyalty, loss, Mordor and Mount Doom. It’s an assured performance which exudes warmth and marks Hobbins out as one to watch.
Less assured, but with passion to spare, is a work in progress from Deb Jones and Alison Peebles entitled ‘Cuff’. Taking their lead from a recent history of protest, particularly from a feminist standpoint, the duo take events from their own lives to illustrate how direct political action can change the way people think about the world, and the people around them. Highlights include a strike at a fish processing factory and the moment when angry lesbians invaded the BBC news studios.
Scattered throughout the evening - providing a palate cleanser between more lengthy productions - are three performances from a collaboration between Fish and Game and the Arches Community Choir. These ‘Songs of Scotland’ are as arch as the venue itself - turning the past, present and future of the country into wickedly funny songs about national identity and how others see the Scots.
Slightly less successful, yet as ambitious as anything else on offer, was the cumbersomely-named ‘Between Atoms and the Stars...or How To Describe Art To A Dead Astronaut’. The solo performance by Steve Slater attempts to splice together art, cosmology and string theory into a 50 minute genre-defying show. The plot-adverse result has flashes of real inspiration, particularly when Slater disposes with his makeshift astronaut’s helmet and connects with the audience. Ultimately though it’s all a little too muddled to be truly satisfying.
Arches Live continues this Wednesday, with highlights including Calum MacAskill’s ‘Every Pound’s a Prisoner’ - an improvised performance and art installation created by visiting Poundland with a budget of £49.99.
Meanwhile, in ‘Bonny Boys are Few’, writer and performer Michael John O’Neill explores the father and son relationship from the perspective of somebody who grew up without a biological father.
To book, or for more info about all the shows on this month, go to: www.thearches.co.uk