JOYCE MCMILLAN on BRECHT AND THE SOB FACTOR IN 21ST CENTURY THEATRE for the Scotsman Magazine, 6.9.14. _________________________________________________________
IN THE LAST WEEK of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, a show swept into town like brisk, sharp wind of change, first felt two generations ago, still blowing today. The show was Handspring Puppet Theatre’s Ubu And The Truth Commission, first seen in Johannesburg in 1997, yet still supremely relevant in an age when the impunity of those who commit crimes against humanity continues to fuel rage and conflict across the world.
And what was immediately striking about this show – in the context of Edinburgh 2014 – was how little it cared to be liked, or to invite empathy for its characters. Based on Alfred Jarry’s great absurdist classic Ubu Roi, the show has two human characters who are defined by their obscene grotesquery, the one more repellent than the…
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