Writer: Douglas Maxwell
Director: Eve Nichol
Reversing the traditional appeal of crafting a story, asylum seeker Jimmy refuses to be defined by circumstances of his upbringing. Fresh-faced in Glasgow, Jimmy chooses the mantle of the mid-60s subculture, the Mod. Douglas Maxwell’s I Can Go Anywhere coaxes us to re-evaluate ourselves, and more vitally to re-examine who others deem ‘worthy’ of our support, through a surprisingly humorous style.
Having walked off the set of a Quadrophenia re-make, Nebli Basani channels the parka wearing, no doubt amphetamine laced kipper tie Mod visage to the extreme. Tying his pop culture into Glasgow’s history, Basani has a wonderfully comedic performance of repetition which, should irritate, but if anything, charms. Incessantly nattering, attempting to persuade the man whose house he has barged into helping him, it’s a tough role but conducted in a way to win the audience’s trust, before the subversion of Maxwell’s script potentially removes this.
I Can Go Anywhere relies on this trust with the audience, at the very least, our attention. It’s primarily a conversationalist production with little cut-away or change. Basani and Paul McCole carry the script, but Eve Nicol’s direction is a triumph. The intense pull music has, arguably more tribal and visceral than any other artform, Nichol plays with this in the pair’s movements, McCole’s loosening once he engages with music and the bombastic energy of Basani.
Seeking a reference for the Home Office, Jimmy turns to academic and writer Stevie, who he incorrectly believes has written a piece on Mod culture. His book is a scathing review on the commercialisation of working-class cultures and anarchy. The reverse of Jimmy, McCole characterises Stevie as an internal type, isolated and hurling insults at others in his field. Opposites in views, they agree solely on the music they share, and as Stevie pushes for an appreciation of the art in a new light, Jimmy re-ignites a passion away from the purely analytical in Stevie.
Building intensely, what begins as profoundly comical, warps into the ugliness beneath – and not in the areas one may expect. Beneath the obsessive nature of nationalism or identity, which fires have been stoked to ill effect as of recently, this country builds itself on a diverse structure of sexuality, culture, religion and of course, music taste. Maxwell’s apt ability with writing strikes, perhaps not at its peak during the production, maybe not even as the cast takes a bow. The brilliance in the script will pounce as you lie in bed, as you watch the news or pass someone in the street.
At these times, where immigration seems to be the forerunner in communities minds, Maxwell packages his finale in an all too comfortable setting, a piece very much of our times – scarily so. It requires an open mindset, provocative, but leans on the acceptance of the audience on playing with the norms of cultural. I Can Go Anywhere is a provocative production, without the need for obvious poking at the audiences, it’s reflective in a deceptive, though no less inventing way. A piece on moral panic which even the Rockers can enjoy.
Runs until 21 December 2019 | Image: Lara Cappelli