The National Theatre of Scotland‘s production of Them! takes our predefined ideas around the safe setting of the chat show, the light chitchat and middle ground patter designed to never challenge anything at the risk of offence as a perfect setting for subversion. You may think the concept of a chat show where the guests are the main players from a Scottish musical remake of 1954 Sci-Fi horror classic Them! – in which giant ants wreak havoc on post-war Los Angeles- may be a tough sell to those seeking an exploration of the human condition, but bear with me.
The show is split into three distinctive parts that each interweave to examine the ideas of change and identity while being great fun. Kiruna Stamell does a fantastic job in the role of host supported by her house band all clad in matching Adidas tracksuits as we explore transformation through the process of learning about a film remake. We get an excellent comparison of the adaptation of a text to the process of change that takes place in ourselves through a series of amusing, surreal moments such as when the director stops his own interview and switches out for an actor who he says will portray him better. The shows second and third parts give us a chance to engage and interact with the ideas presented in part one crafting a full experience that leaves us both entertained and contemplative.
Taking the familiar chatshow format NTS’ Them! deems lulling unnecessary and any hope of security is out the window from the start in its intrepid exploration, questioning change and identity while building to a riveting, anty climax.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Ga Ken Wan
Them! runs at the Tramway, Glasgow, until 6th July 2019.