Year of the Horse ***

Year of the Horse is an intriguing production for the sole reason that it is hard to categorise.  Is it theatre, a museum piece, an art installation or a Power Point presentation?

Harry Horse, real name Richard Horne, was an author and illustrator who was commissioned by The Sunday Herald newspaper in Glasgow to create political cartoons between 2005 and 2006.  These came to an end when he died in circumstances which are still controversial.  All but the first image also contained Horse’s long commentary, adding even more sting to the already harsh, and sometimes vicious, creations.

Respected actor Tam Dean Burn stands before a large screen and speaks Horse’s words for each of his images, sometimes standing to the side, other times incorporating himself into the picture.  This is all presented with a haunting score provided by Keith McIvor.

And that’s it.  There is no insight into Horse, the artist or the troubled man.  It is an hour-long presentation of these images.

And truthfully, that’s more than enough.  Burn is a phenomenal actor, and his voice is melodic and yet also so haunting that it is hard not to be moved, and at times frightened, by his recital of Horse’s commentary.  Burn lets Horse speak for himself, and though these images are a few years old they still speak loudly.

Year of the Horse is a celebration of a great political commentator.  It may not be theatre as you know it, but it is still a worthy production.

Originally written for What’s Onstage.com.

Year of the Horse is at the Assembly Rooms @ George Street until August 31 (not 17 or 24), 18.05.

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