“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Grit and Tears

On Thursday afternoon, prompted by some uncharacteristic impulsiveness, I took myself off to the theatre at the Tramway in Glasgow.  Those of you who know me well will know that I am not an enjoyer of theatre. I quit the industry over a decade ago but I have never quite been able to get over my self conscious awareness of the "joins". Not so with film or literature or dance, where I can happily suspend my cynicism, even for the worst kind of schmaltz. 

GRIT - The Martyn Bennett Story   however, is a show that I joyously recommend you go and see. Next stop - the isle of  Mull 

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. This is my emotional response. 

As the matinee show opens to a half-full house,  we are introduced to the play by two narrators, and my innate cringe kicks in. (this is not a device I enjoy) One song in and I am hooked. I love Martyn Bennett's music and his joy and passion and genius are apparent in every track. The sound is cranked up so that we can move into the energy of the beats. The choreography and aerial work are technically stunning, poignant and beautifully danced. The clever visuals take you into right into the heart and the landscape of the story. 

Half way through I dissolve in tears. The depiction of his cancer experience hits strongly and gut wrenchingly home. We are reminded, if we could possibly forget,  that this story is real and that Martyn died way too young. 

As the cast take their curtain call,  accompanied by Martyn's remix of Pater Gabriel's song "Sky Blue", I am a gonner. Bennett AND Gabriel? Leave me to weep!  The house lights come up and I remain in my seat, surrounded by other audience members self consciously dabbing themselves with Kleenex. The mascara is running down my cheeks. Personally I am up for the full on snot and tears experience, but someone leaves their umbrella and I am forced to pull myself together and catch them up, even though I just want, NEED, to sit and recover. 


Prompted by a friend's spare ticket - thanks Diane! -  I went to see it again on Friday night with her and Graeme. This time among a capacity crowd who gave it a standing ovation. 

Early on Saturday morning I downloaded GRIT - The Gold Edition which also features Sky Blue. 

I also downloaded the following track. Griogal Cridhe, sung by Martyn's mother Margaret Bennett. Who I am reliable informed attended every performance of GRIT at the Tramway, remembering her talented boy who died too young, and amazed and grateful that somebody did this for him.

Griogal Cridhe (below)  is achingly beautiful. If you see the show, you will see this danced by Ruth Mills wearing a a full flowing dress printed with the island of Mull, where Martyn lived. Home. Poignant sign language is seamlessly built into the choreography. 

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