Review: Love and Information – Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow

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First published in The Times, Saturday November 18 2017

Three Stars

This new production of Caryl Churchill’s 2012 play is intriguing on a number of levels. Firstly, there’s the work itself: less a play than a series of more than 50 short scenes exploring the information onslaught of the digital age and its impact on our thought processes and ability to forge meaningful connections.

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Review: Tabula Rasa – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Tuesday November 14 2017

Four Stars

Live music has long been an integral part of Scottish theatre. The influence of the music hall can be found in everything from pantomime to political works by 7:84 and Wildcat. Recent successes from the National Theatre of Scotland have included the musical Glasgow Girls and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, a piece of “ceilidh-theatre” that toured pubs and village halls.

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Review: Lampedusa – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

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First published in The Times, Monday November 13 2017

Four Stars

 

At first sight, the two strands of Anders Lustgarten’s 2015 play seem, quite literally, worlds apart. Stefano (Andy Clark) relates the first of the alternating monologues. A former fisherman from a “little dusty island you’ve never heard of”, Stefano now spends his days and nights retrieving corpses from the tide of refugees who have drowned on the journey from North Africa to Italy.

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Review: The Monarch of the Glen – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

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First published in The Times, Saturday November 4 2017

Four Stars

A first glance at the staging for Peter Arnott’s new adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s novel may lead some in the audience to wonder if they have inadvertently stumbled upon Brigadoon. Ken Harrison, the designer, has garlanded his set with tartan. There are glimpses of heather-clad hills in the background and a soundtrack of bagpipes playing faintly overhead. The whole scene provokes the same frisson of resistance one feels walking past shop windows filled with shortbread and tinned haggis on the Royal Mile.

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Review: The Maids – Dundee Rep

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First published in The Times, Wednesday November 1 2017

Three Stars

Audiences are accustomed to seeing the auditorium of Dundee Rep transformed by ambitious design. On several occasions the seating has been ripped out, reconfigured in the round or dispensed with altogether. The ensemble performed its award-winning 2012 production of Zinnie Harris’s Further Than the Furthest Thing in and around a huge pool of water.

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Review: Our Fathers – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Friday October 27 2017

Three Stars

A religious upbringing can cling to even the staunchest atheist like the lingering smell of incense. For the theatre director Nicholas Bone and Rob Drummond, the acclaimed playwright, both sons of clergymen, the institutional memories and associations of religion are rather harder to shrug off.

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Review: Love Song to Lavender Menace – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Friday October 21 2017

Three Stars

This two-hander from James Ley, the Edinburgh-based playwright and founder of the Village Pub Theatre, is a rare treat. One could count on the fingers of one hand the number of new plays that open in Scotland in any given year whose running time is more than 50 minutes. As for drama in which LGBT characters are at the front and centre of the story, well, you wouldn’t even need to use one hand or, for that matter, any of your fingers.

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