Review: Rocket Post! – Platform, Easterhouse

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First published in The Times, Saturday September 30 2017

Three Stars

A rocket filled with letters fired from one island to another sounds like the premise for an offbeat fairy tale or children’s fantasy. The image is a resonant one, combining benign public service with a technology more commonly used in warfare. The idea is all the more intriguing when you consider that Lewis Hetherington’s new play for young people is based on true events.

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Review: Night Light – Dundee Rep

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First published in The Times, Tuesday May 23 2017

Four Stars

The ability to transform everyday objects into the stuff of magical adventures is the very essence of imaginative play. An empty cardboard box becomes a pirate ship. A nailbrush zooms along the side of the bathtub, becoming a train speeding along the track. A courageous wooden spoon takes on a fire breathing washing up bottle in a battle for dominance over the kitchen table.

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Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Tuesday December 6 2016

Four Stars

Anthony Neilson is an inspired choice to create and direct a new version of Lewis Carroll’s dreamlike fantasy. His most celebrated play, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which depicts a journey through the mind of a woman with a mental illness, is, in outline, a hybrid of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, shot-through with humour but edged in desolation and horror.

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Review: James and the Giant Peach – Northern Stage, Newcastle

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First published in The Times, Friday November 25 2016

Three Stars

If you are going to stage Roald Dahl’s children’s adventure, the big fruit in question had better not be limp and past its best. Fortunately, when it comes to spectacle, Mark Calvert’s production for Northern Stage is both eye-catching and mouth-watering. The opening scene alone features the cast whizzing around the circular stage on scooters, a skipping routine and a basketball display, all set to Jeremy Bradfield’s jazzy live soundtrack.

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Review: The Snow Queen – Gilded Balloon at the National Museum of Scotland

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First published in The Times, Tuesday August 23 2016

Four Stars

There aren’t many fringe theatre shows that can truly be said to offer something for all ages, but this dramatisation of Hans Christian Andersen’s wintry fairy tale is that rare thing: a genuine family entertainment. The adaptation represents a promising new string to the bow of Theatre Anon, the Shanghai-based collective, which won recognition for its Edinburgh show Black is the Colour of My Voice, about the singer Nina Simone, in 2014.

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Reviews: Imaginate Festival 2016

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First published in The Times, Wednesday June 1 2016

The Story of the Little Gentleman: Four Stars

Tales of a Grandson: Four Stars

 

It must be that time of year again. Sunlight is streaming into the grand gallery at the National Museum of Scotland. Storytelling events, workshops and even a puppet-led yoga class are taking place in various corners of the building. At one end of the foyer a band is just striking up for the latest in a series of gigs for families entitled Sprog Rock! Clearly, the annual Imaginate festival of performance for children and young people is well underway.

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Review: Little Red and the Wolf – Dundee Rep

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First published in The Times, Friday April 1 2016

Four Stars

Was there ever a more maligned creature in folklore than the wolf? The creature’s appalling public image can be traced all the way back to Aesop, and in European fairy tales the big bad wolf is either a predatory beast, devouring grandmothers and innocent young girls without remorse, or hoist with his own petard: lured to the boiling pot by little pigs and mother goats.

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