Theatre review: Cargo, The Space, Glasgow

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SOMETHING is stirring on the top floor of Glasgow’s Argyle Arcade. There’s a spacious cafe-bar; and a small 60-seat black-box theatre.


The Space, Glasgow


This is The Space, Glasgow’s latest arts venue; and one of its first customers, over the weekend, was Fiendish Plot Theatre, who used both spaces to present Cargo, a double-bill of two 40-minute plays by Cormac Quinn.

The problem, though, is that Quinn’s plays seem like off-cuts from a particularly unpleasant television thriller, drenched in the conventional post-1980s world-view that there is no law, except that might is right. Cargo 1 is a Spooks-style two-hander in which a nasty, scheming woman has a restaurant rendezvous with a weird, creepy man, an obsessive friend of her absent partner. The dialogue is a dire mix of embarrassing sexual innuendo and screen-thriller cliches; the acting, on balance, even worse.

In Cargo 2 – in the studio theatre – a young couple expecting their first child fall foul of a ruthless gang of traffickers at the warehouse where he works. The situation makes for a vivid, memorable short drama about how the innocent can only survive by becoming complicit in the crimes of the vicious; and it features three strong performances from Ian Petrie, Ailsa Courtney and Chris Lawrence. Even here, though, there is a a level of protracted violence that invites despair; and turns the audience into mere voyeurs, drunk on the hard stuff of vicarious violence.