Theatre reviews: Nomanslanding | Deadline

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It’s a while since Glasgow’s Tramway has witnessed an evening of theatre quite so wide-ranging and rich as the one that took us, last week, from the heights of lavishly-funded international installation art to the latest heartfelt and beautiful show from award-winning youth theatre Junction 25, created from the raw material of their own young hearts, minds and bodies.

Nomanslanding ****

Deadline ****

Both Tramway, Glasgow

In the big space of Tramway 1, a huge sphere sits in the dark, surrounded by wooden scaffolding, with glorious light playing around it; viewed from the gallery, it seems like a remarkable sculpture in itself.

The international project Nomanslanding is also a 25-minute performance, though, first conceived by artists from Australia, Britain and the Netherlands, including Glasgow’s Graham Eatough, to commemorate the First World War; and now reframed to encompass recent refugee experience. We enter through two dark refugee-camp tents, where magnificent singers Judith Williams and Nerea Bello begin to lead us into the echoing, whispering dome.

There is no water in Tramway, to match the locations for which Nomanslanding was first created; but when the two halves of the sphere briefly slide apart, in a glorious burst of white light, we can still sense the pain of distance, across a gulf of dark, unyielding space.

And in Tramway 4, meanwhile, Junction 25 produce a beautifully-choreographed show called Deadline, about the stress – the sheer exhausting ­tag-race – of today’s goal-driven teenage years.

The show is beautiful, heartbreaking and clever; and its simplicity speaks as loudly as Nomanslanding’s technical complexity, in a powerful reminder that theatre has many languages, each one worth learning in full.

*Nomanslanding runs until 2 July; Deadline, run ended.