Theatre company Vanishing Point remembers gentle anarchist, poet and musician Ivor Cutler
- Lorna Irvine
- 27 March 2014
The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler aims to capture the spirit of Scotland's much-loved humorist
That gentle anarchist, poet and musician Ivor Cutler was a true original. A national trinket, if you will, whose influence can be seen today in surrealist artists like David Shrigley. A champion of noise abatement, Cutler’s subversion was less aggressive than charming. It’s this subversive spirit that really resonates with Matthew Lenton, director of Vanishing Point’s The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland.
‘I got into Cutler in 2008,’ Lenton explains. ‘The first associations I made were with the Russian absurdists, like Daniil Kharms: people who would write in a fragmented way. Then I thought of a musical work that would weave together some of his poems, songs and stories with a loose narrative.’
More than a nostalgic tribute, the piece takes in themes that remain pertinent to today’s society. ‘He once said he only found success when he moved from Scotland to London. Cutler being an outsider fits in with Vanishing Point’s remit, and of course it’s interesting, in the year of the Scottish referendum, to look at that.’
Long-time Vanishing Point collaborator Sandy Grierson will play Cutler and perform alongside four musicians. With full backing and support from Cutler’s son, long-term collaborator Phyllis King and close friends Robert Wyatt and Martin Honeysett, it’s sure to be a real labour of love, as touching as it is hilarious. Much like the wee man himself.
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 9–Sat 19 Apr; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 29 Apr–Sat 3 May.