Interview : : : Anyone for Venice? The Scotsman, August 2011
Interview : : : The Enigma of David Leddy, The Stage, August 2011
Preview : : : Untitled Love Story, The Guardian, July 2011
Preview : : : Coming to your senses, Untitled Love Story, Fest, July 2011
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Telegraph, August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Independent, August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Guardian, August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, British Theatre Guide, August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, View from the Stalls, August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Stage , August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Evening Standard , August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, Financial Times , August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The Herald , August 2010
Review : : : Sub Rosa, The List , August 2010
Never say curtains - David Leddy's No 1 rule (interview) : : : (Sunday Times profile, October 2009)
David Leddy - in context (interview) : : : (White Tea and Susurrus, The List, July 2009)
Within these walls (interview) : : : (Sub Rosa , The Herald, January 2009)
Gothic horror... (interview) : : : (Sub Rosa , Sunday Times , January 2009)
Backstage Pass (interview) : : : (Sub Rosa , Scotsman, January 2009)
Backstage World of Secrets (interview) : : : (Sub Rosa , Evening Times , January 2009)
Review : : : (Sub Rosa , Scotsman, January 2009)
Review : : : (Sub Rosa , Metro, January 2009)
Review : : : (Sub Rosa , The Herald, January 2009)
Review : : : (Sub Rosa , Guardian, January 2009)
Review : : : (Sub Rosa , Financial Times , January 2009)
Sound Stage (interview) : : : (Pater Noster, The List, April 2008)
Let's Do The Show Right Here (interview) : : : (Home Hindrance, Scotsman, April 2007)
Make Yourself At Home... (interview) : : : (Home Hindrance, Evening Times, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, Scotsman, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, Guardian, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, Metro, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, Sunday Herald, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, The List, May 2007)
Review : : : (Home Hindrance, The Herald, May 2007)
Review : : : (Reekie, Metro, 2006)
Review : : : (Susurrus, Guardian, 2006)
Review : : : (Susurrus, Scotsman, 2006)
Review : : : (Susurrus, Herald, 2006)
This Life - Interview : : : (In The Shade, Sunday Herald, 2005)
Review : : : (In The Shade, The Stage, 2005)
A star is born – review : : : (In The Shade, Scotsman, 2005)
Theatre of the Absurd : : : (Tympanic, Scotsman, 2005)
Review : : : (Through The Night, Scotsman, 2005)
Lama Drama : : : (Through The Night, Scotland on Sunday, 2004)
Preview : : : (Through The Night, The List, 2004)
My First Record : : : (Through The Night, Scotsman, 2004)
Interview : : : (Through The Night, Metro, 2004)
Queering The Pitch - Interview : : : (Glasgay, Scotsman, 2002)
Leddy Murder : : : (On The Edge, Scotsman, 2001)
Theatre Choice : : : (On The Edge, Scotland on Sunday, 2001)
Counter Culture : : : (On The Edge, The List, 2001)
Interview : : : (On The Edge, Metro, 2001)
THIS WEEK'S NEW THEATRE
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 23 July 2011
The latest piece from David Leddy heads to St George's West on the Edinburgh fringe after previews in Glasgow. Set on the dark and mysterious canals of Venice, it asks the audience to close their eyes and submit to what's described as a guided meditative visualisation into the heart of a story. And that story consists of four narrative strands about four entirely different characters across the decades in Venice who never meet, but whose lives touch upon each other. Leddy says that he wanted to find a way to involve audiences and allow them to have their own transforming input into the work in a way that wasn't confrontational. If he pulls it off, this intriguing experiment could potentially give birth to a new theatrical trend.
COMING TO YOUR SENSES
Edd McCracken, Fest, 21 July 2011
After using gardens, his own flat and the bowels of an old theatre for previous shows, David Leddy is staging his new play somewhere altogether darker and more inaccessible: the audience's head. Edd McCracken finds out more.
Like any good artist, playwright David Leddy’s primary concern is neither words nor visuals, but the senses.
One of Scotland’s most unconventional directors, his previous site-specific works have needled at least one of them: from a play taking place purely through headphones in a garden (Susurrus) to a flesh-creeping backstage tour of a gothic theatre (last year’s Fringe hitSub Rosa).
For his latest offering, his first in a conventional theatre space, Leddy plans to go one step further. Instead of watching the play unfold in its entirety onstage, he plans for most explosions of plot, character and emotional connection to happen in the audience’s head. Once seated in the theatre, the lights will go out and a velvety voice will ask the audience to begin meditating.
You see, with this year’s Fringe show, Untitled Love Story, he is offering up his own theatrical roasted ortolan. For those not well versed in gastronomic roguery, roasting and eating an ortolan, a small French songbird, is known to be one of the world’s most sensuous—and outlawed—snacks.
The small bird is first drowned in cognac, plucked, roasted and then eaten whole. Its tiny bones puncture and lacerate the mouth’s lining, mixing the eater’s blood with that of the bird. All the while a napkin is placed over the diner’s head. By denying the sense of sight, the senses of smell, touch and taste are enhanced.
The ortolan is not just a handy analogy for Untitled Love Story – one is crunched and devoured in the play too. But stay your howls of protest: it happens only in the audience’s head. Leddy has been a studious vegetarian since childhood.
He admits that for years he has wanted to stage a show where darkness and meditation is a key aspect. It foregrounds the audience, reduces the artist, enhances the art.
“Our imaginations are very powerful things,” he says. “A play doesn’t have any inherent meaning of its own. The audience contribute most of the meaning when they interpret it. They draw on their own understanding and experience to understand it. I just wanted to push it one step forward, to embed it in the weft and weave of the piece.
“Besides,” he adds with a sigh born out of jetlag after returning from opening Susurrus in Brazil, “I think it will be a nice antidote to the insanity of the Fringe. You’re tired, hungover, running all over town between shows. And then you arrive with us: there’s a beautiful soundscape that washes over you, a warm velvety voice telling you to stop, take a deep breath and relax. It will be a welcome relief.”
For anyone who has previously immersed themselves in a Leddy show, they will know that his unconventional staging is no gimmick. If he puts it on in his own flat, as he did in Home Hindrance, there is a valid, emotionally resonant reason for it. Likewise, meditating in Untitled Love Storyactually is integral to the plot.
It is set in Venice, “the city of the imagination” according to Leddy, because “it looks exactly as it does in your mind”. Four characters wander through the city’s narrow alleys and canal sides. Taking place over four decades, they never meet. One is a priest accused of heresy, another is a writer who loses her partner, one is an art historian with the night terrors, and the other is Peggy Guggenheim, art collector and patron of modernism.
Speaking to Leddy, it appears he is besotted with this latter character. He read her memoirs recently, “a fast and breathless, stream of consciousness, with wind whipping through her hair as she drives her red sports car with a Giacometti sculpture on the back seat.”
And like all infatuations, jealousy is part of its DNA. Leddy looks back on the time of Guggenheim and her ilk with longing. “I wanted it to be about this period of the mid-20th century when there was this enormous, explosive energy, the feeling that the past had been swept away and a new world could be built out of the energy of our own minds. And I felt quite envious of those artists, with their hope of what the future can bring.”
As for Leddy’s future, he certainly has designs for it – and it isn’t on the Fringe. This is the last year he will be staging work here. He has now been in Edinburgh three years in a row: three costly years.
“The Fringe is very expensive,” he says. “It compromises the quality of the work. I don’t think it’s a good idea to become a fixture at the Fringe and be a company who are there every year. That was never our intention. So get us while we’re here. We won’t be here for long.”