Theatre review: Blood Lines/44 Stories (The Arches)

44 Stories
44 Stories

If the opening night is anything to go by, the Arches’ programme for the Commonwealth Games ‘Culture 2014’ strand is a serious gold medal contender.

Featuring a range of performances and exhibitions running until August 4, it launched with two brave and inspiring pieces of theatre.

First up was Lou Prendergast’s ‘Blood Lines’ - a beautifully-staged account of the life of the writer/performer’s father, who arrived in Glasgow from Jamaica in the 1960s.

Stories of the charismatic pimp are ingeniously woven around the broader topics of the Commonwealth, immigration, slavery and Scottish identity - with musical interludes provided by a band who double as cast members.

Lou Prendergast and her sister Sophia provide satisfying multifaceted performances - whether nattering inside a car or expertly delivering the lyrical storytelling.

The only fault is with a supporting cast who are often hesitant and nervy, breaking up the flow of the show.

There’s no such performance issues in the wonderful ‘44 Stories’ - which sees writer Drew Taylor take to task every one of the 44 members of the Commonwealth who continue to criminalise homosexuality.

A faultless cast of four breathe life into the 44 true stories - which range from comic to tragic, via inspirational and unbelievable - by way of a splendid all singing and dancing camp cabaret.

Aware of its own importance, but never po-faced, it joyously highlights the sheer stupidity of homophobia in all its guises on every continent. To quote from the show itself; you’ll know it’s amazing.