The Callanish Stoned

Kevin MacNeil
Theatre Hebrides
Pride of Place Festival 2006

Production photo

What a sad disappointment this was! Theatre Hebrides promised 'work from Western Isles indigenous cultures and traditions' and what we got could have been produced just about anywhere. The action follows three teenagers bound for the Summer Solstice at Lewis' Callanish Stones, one of whom has a bible-thumping mother who refuses to let him go, and who pursues him on his journey. But the kids, the mother, and the people they meet along the way- including a ridiculous Gaia-worshipping cyclist - are nothing but a series of weary stereotypes, rehearsing the usual tired inter-generational issues. Mum insists that if he's under her roof he'll obey her rules. The kids just want to get laid. Who cares?

With only nods in the direction of a Hebridean provenance, with some of the words voiced in Gaelic, and the appearance of a Gaelic bard in the proceedings, this production misses a great opportunity. Unless it seriously did set out to tell us that people on Lewis can be as self-absorbed and as dreary as people everywhere, then it has failed. No amount of trendy music and video projection can make up for a lack of ideas in the script, no amount of youf banter can persuade an audience that these airheads represent the young people of Lewis. And nothing about this unintelligent piece of theatre gives even a taste of what it must be like to live and grow up in the Hebrides.

Reviewer: Jill Sharp

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