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A truly satirical piece of work involving the current descent of man!

Traverse Theatre




This play from the pen of Two Destination Language that has been percolating for a couple of years but with the onset of Brexit it’s now ready to serve. The company is a duo of Alister Lownie and Katarina Radeva who deal with a lot of social metaphors in relation with their work usually with a flavour of similarities and differences between cultures. Which is apt as Lownie is Scottish and Radeva is Bulgarian.

And their current show “Manpower” is no different. When you walk into the small theatre in the Traverse the stage floor is strewn about with lumber, but at the back almost as a juxtaposition, is a neat desk with some rather expensive looking speakers and a pristine vinyl record set. Which we get a rather detailed soliloquy about it from Lownie. He goes into such minutiae and takes his sound quality all so seriously, it makes it really funny in a dry but quirky humoured kind of way.  And these idiosyncrasies certainly help to set up the mood of the night itself. Apart from his opening monologue he genuinely doesn’t say much throughout the rest of the show, and the rest of that talking is mainly performed by Radeva. At first when she appears, tottering through the wood strewn stage in pink high heels, the way she simpers over Lownie is truly avantgarde. What with the manner she swoons as he doffs his red denim jacket from his lumberjack shirt. You can see there are definitely some Superman/ Clark Kent kind of vibes going on here. But as the performance progresses, it’s interesting as while it has Lownie diligently building the frame for a shed on stage, Radeva waxes lyrical at her podium about the evolution of the man’s role and how it has been influenced by British politics over the past twenty years.

She came to this country many moons ago because of the British men. How they were real lads who worked in mines and shipyards. True builders and makers of the land. Real men who could really provide for their women and how they have now devolved into coffee sipping hipsters! As if it was a dark mirror version of descent through modification! This is all relayed in a rather satirical fashion, but you can see that this duo has put a lot of research into their work. There’s certainly plenty of mirth to be had in relation to Tony Blair a man who championed new labour. Or as Radeva calls it “Playtime” for the men of the nation.

The nature of the show is a bit askew in some fashion but that plays well into the overall nature of the experience and it definitely becomes a curious and interesting evening that’ll certainly raise a few eyebrows, questions and laughs.

Markus Helbig.

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