Alan Bissett: The Red Hourglass @ The National Library of Scotland

Review by Stephanie Green | 18 Aug 2012
  • The Red Hourglass: Alan Bissett

Long awaited, after the smash-hit success of The Moira Monologues, Alan Bissett's new drama, is an equally hilarious series of monologues all played by Bissett himself, but this time with a political edge. We are in the creepy, Gothic world of spiders kept in a scientist's tank. What terrible experiment are they there for?

This is fear with a satirical edge as Bissett marvellously embodies his characters, with an impressive mimicry of accents. First, hunched in a black hoodie, he plays the common spider, or the house spider as he prefers to be known, the smallest and the most Scottish, so feeling kinda inferior. Then he is a recluse spider from Brooklyn feeling claustrophobic, who longs to return to his small family, only 31,000 kids so far; a tarantula with plenty of latin machismo; and lastly, but most deadly, the Black Widow Spider (whose markings give the play its name),  the 'psycho' who Alan plays with a seductive Deep Southern lisp like Blanche du Bois.

Bisset's cleverest role is the tank (prison?) counsellor whose jargon is sent up, only seemingly caring, indicating the more serious undercurrent in the play, a critique of them and us. Who is the victim and who is the predator?

National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, EH1 1EW 15-16 August and 18-25 Aug at 7pm (1 hour) Age 16+ Tickets £12 (£10) via The Fringe Box Office Tel 0131-226-0000