From Limmy to Neon Waltz: the best art, music, comedy and theatre coming to Dundee in May
- David Pollock
- 8 May 2018
A look at this month's events in what's been called Scotland's coolest city
This month is Degree Show month in Dundee, and with Dundee Design Festival happening as well it's likely you'll come for the art and stay for everything else.
Dundee Design Festival
Still young, but growing in popularity and in scale, the Dundee Design Festival is a destination selection of exhibitions and interactive events in a pop-up former industrial space at West Ward Works. The full line-up is yet to be announced, but one particular highlight will be the Dundee Design Parade in the city centre on Sat 26 May; in association with Scotland's Year of Young People, it will see children and young people from across the city parade banners, flags and sculptures which they have designed themselves.
West Ward Works, Thu 24 to Tue 29 May.
DJCAD Art, Design and Architecture Degree Show 2018
As an art college which is particularly renowned for its design and digital media courses, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design's annual degree show tends to be the one in Scotland with the most future-facing interpretation of new creative work. As usual with all degree shows the huge amount of art on offer will be a mixed bag, but the very best work will be of a quality which could stand within a contemporary art gallery.
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Fri 18 to Mon 27 May.
Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness
Curated by the 'Alien Sex Club' artist John Walter, this new exhibition from the Hayward Gallery's Touring strand looks at art which is deliberately clumsy, lo-fi and created against the slick aesthetics of much contemporary art. Artists and architects featured include Arakawa and Gins, Cosima von Bonin, Niki de Saint Phalle, Benedict Drew, Justin Favela, Duggie Fields and Walter himself.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Sat 10 Mar until Sun 27 May.
Revealing Characters / Face to Face
Two separate exhibitions which look at different aspects of portraiture from the past to the present day, these shows feature painted portraiture by Stewart Carmichael, contemporary selfie-making by Wolfgang Tillmans and new photographs of children and young people by Joe McKenzie, as part of Scotland's Year of Young People in 2018.
McManus Art Gallery & Museum, Dundee, until Sun 20 May (Revealing Characters) and throughout 2018 (Face to Face).
Sketch for Dundee
Artist Carl Lavia, aka Sketch, is attempting to illustrate and display images of all 69 cities in the UK as part of an epic road trip. Dundee is his fourth stop, and this made-from-memory aerial panorama of the city viewed from across the Tay will be on display at the McManus for the next six months.
McManus Art Gallery & Museum, Dundee, until Sun 5 Aug.
Using puppetry, movement and inventive design, this theatre piece from the acclaimed theatremakers Tortoise in a Nutshell and Anne Sofie Oxenvad tells us of – and shows us – a man set adrift at sea on a boat, whose hopelessness and desperation is broken when a fish jumps into the boat with him. As an allegory for depression and support, it's a playful, powerful piece of theatre.
Dundee Rep Theatre, Fri 11 May
Eve / Adam
Two of the hits of last year's Edinburgh Festival – presented by the Traverse Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland – can be seen at the Rep in one double-bill showing (or on their own). Each tells a frank and personal story of transgender life; Eve is a one-woman piece written and performed by the Scottish playwright Jo Clifford, telling the story of her life and transition to womanhood, while Adam is a two-hander in which Adam Kashmiry stars as himself, detailing his journey from life as an Egyptian woman to being a refuge-seeking Scottish man.
Dundee Rep Theatre, Thu 24 to Sat 26 May
A Brave Face
Created by full-mask theatre company Vamos and co-produced by Mercury Theatre Colchester and London International Mime Festival, this play examines the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder through an encounter between a British soldier and a young girl in Afghanistan in 2009. As a wordless play, it's recommended for both hearing and non-hearing audiences alike.
Dundee Rep Theatre, Tue 29 May
Telling the stories of four elderly people who live in retirement homes around Ireland, writer and performer Pat Kinevane's one-man show – directed by Jim Culleton – is a fusion of Kabuki dance and Irish storytelling which has
Dundee Rep Theatre, Wed 30 May
Sunny indie-pop group Neon Waltz were tipped as being Scotland's next big group when they released their debut album Strange Hymns on Ignition Records in 2017. It hasn't quite worked out like that, but they're still the kind of treat you want to give yourself live (not to mention undoubtedly Wick's most famous children).
Beat Generator Live!, Thu 10 May
The Ninth Wave
A quartet of two women and two men from Glasgow, The Ninth Wave are perched on the edge of a breakthrough with an epic sound somewhere between Simple Minds and Echo and the Bunnymen which suggests they could already do a good job of filling a big venue. So catch them here while they're still small.
Church, Fri 11 May
A man and a woman from Dundee, St Martiins make deliciously off-the-wall pop music together, with a stew of delicate folk influences, afro grooves, emo indie-rock and a hint of electronic hip-hop weirdness finding their way into their sound.
Clarks, Thu 31 May
Following the end of Limmy's Show on television, 21st century Scottish wit and multimedia manipulator Brian 'Limmy' Limond started playing around with Vines online, making six-second clips which were by turns eerie and amusing. Here he brings them to the stage and makes an entire show out of them.
Dundee Rep Theatre, Tue 8 May
Presented as part of the Sweet Lates series in association with Sweet Venues, this stand-up show by Glasgow-based comedian Jamie MacDonald deals with – amongst many other subjects – his own blindness, playfully addressing his disability in the sort of tongue-in-cheek manner which led him to call the show 'Designated Driver'.
Dundee Rep Restaurant, Tue 8 May