THE Glasgow-based Singaporean theatre-maker Ramesh Meyyappan is one of Scotland’s most original and exciting dramatists and performers. The visual theatre artist behind such beautiful works as Butterfly (2014) and Ali The Magic Elf (2019), Meyyappan says of his method: “Being deaf, I have communicated visually all my life...

“[B]ut as a theatre-maker, the challenges have been to find a more shared visual language.” He seeks, he explains, to make shows, “that transcend words, speaking to everyone, wherever they live and whoever they are”.

That mission is shared by Paris-based company IVT (International Visual Theatre), with whom Glasgow’s Tron Theatre has collaborated in creating this world premiere of La Performance. A charming, very funny and highly distinctive piece of metatheatre, it sees Meyyappan and his French counterpart Emmanuelle Laborit (co-director of IVT) take on the roles of Him and Her, performers in a visual theatre show that evokes a 19th-century French fairground.

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The show (which transfers to Paris next month) shifts back-and-forth between the duo’s dressing room in what appears (from designer Jenny Booth’s lovely set) to be a gorgeous Parisian theatre (complete with ornate proscenium arch) and the theatre stage. Backstage – where Meyyappan’s fastidious character arrives first, for his super-professional warm-up – we find two very different dressing tables.

His is spartan, in stark contrast to hers, which is festooned with greetings cards from adoring well-wishers and the paraphernalia of a great, Bohemian theatre artiste. When she finally arrives (having smoked an obligatory cigarette – a Gauloise, no doubt – in the alley beside the theatre) she almost catches him sniffing her personal effects in an act of undeclared infatuation.

The inevitable sexual and emotional tension between the performers surfaces in their show-within-a-show. Having donned the make-up of the late-19th century music hall, they are accompanied on silent cinema-style piano by the excellent Ross Whyte as they present a series of comic and melodramatic scenes from the fairground.

She is, in one moment, a dubious fortune teller, in another a representation of female beauty from the classical past. His characters range from the obligatory strongman to, that most Gallic of clown figures, a beautifully-costumed Pierrot.

Together (and directed tightly by Andy Arnold), Meyyappan and Laborit exemplify the universal principles of the great, French physical theatre pioneer Jacques Lecoq. Their movement and characterisation take us beyond the caricature of French mime (which is typically attributed to poor old Marcel Marceau) and into a Lecoqian realisation that (to quote Lecoq’s biographer Simon Murray) “motion provokes emotion”.

Building their characters outward from their physical movement, the duo create an evocation of the French music hall that is brilliantly skilful, touching, laugh-out-loud funny and unashamedly romantic. By the time their fairground performance is over, and we are transported backstage to their shared dressing room, there is enough nervous energy between the characters to fuel another play.

There is a tension of an entirely different kind in Crocodile Rock, Andy McGregor’s superb musical set in the town of Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae, in the late-1990s. Originally staged at the lunchtime theatre A Play, a Pie and a Pint, and later filmed by the BBC, the show (by McGregor’s Sleeping Warrior theatre company) tells the story of 17-year-old gay man Steven McPhail.

With excellent live accompaniment by the splendidly costumed musicians Kim Shepherd, Simon Donaldson and Andy Manning (get that make-up!), outstanding young actor Stephen Arden takes on the roles of – not only our hero, Steven – but every other character in the play. These range from his bewildered, but ever-loving “wee Mammy” to the violently repressed gay teenager Henry Thomas and the glittering, Catalan musician and drag queen Vicente Miguel.

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Despite playing to an undeservedly small audience at the MacRobert, Arden does a fantastic job of evoking the oppressive homophobia and brittle machismo of Millport a quarter of a century ago. Nowhere are those hideous traits more prevalent than in the pub owned by Steven’s Dad, a man whose world view was forged in the hideous, cast-iron moral certainties of the 1950s.

In a play that – freed from the constraints of lunchtime theatre – now expands well beyond an hour, Arden takes us on Steven’s painful, but ultimately life-affirming journey of discovery. It’s a long way from a pub in Millport circa 1997 to a gay cabaret in London.

McGregor’s music and songs – filled, as they are with feeling and pathos – are perfectly-pitched for the story. So, too, is Kenny Miller’s clever and versatile set (complete with a wee disco ball in the toilet).

The role of Steven was originally played by the excessively talented Darren Brownlie. Those are – metaphorically speaking – very big stilettos to fill. It is to Arden’s great credit that he is able to follow on from Brownlie with such captivating confidence and, ultimately, such utter fabulousness.

La Performance plays the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until October 22:

Crocodile Rock tours until November 4: