Theatre review: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – Perth Theatre

First published in The Times, Wednesday March 30 2022

FOUR STARS

Audiences are accustomed to seeing Roald Dahl’s children’s stories on stage. Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were turned into blockbuster musical hits, while David Wood’s faithful adaptations of James and the Giant PeachThe BFG and The Witches are mainstays of the Christmas season.

Continue reading “Theatre review: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – Perth Theatre”

Theatre review: The Scent of Roses – Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday March 9 2022

TWO STARS

The new drama by Zinnie Harris, the award-winning Scottish playwright and director, presents an assortment of characters trying with varying degrees of success to say the unsayable. In the opening sequence Luci (Neve McIntosh) resorts to locking Christopher (Peter Forbes), her husband of 21 years, in their bedroom, with supplies of food and wine, so she can confront him about a suspected affair. In a later scene their daughter Caitlin (Leah Byrne) spins a grotesque and increasingly elaborate lie to reconnect with a former lover, Sally (Saskia Ashdown).

Continue reading “Theatre review: The Scent of Roses – Lyceum, Edinburgh”

Theatre review: The Children – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Saturday March 5 2022

FOUR STARS

It is a tale as old as theatre itself. Two people, in a lonely place, enjoying a delicate equilibrium, are disturbed by an unexpected knock at the door. In walks an unwelcome figure from the past, an avenging angel or perhaps even Death herself, and the fragile balance of the household is instantly and irretrievably broken.

Continue reading “Theatre review: The Children – Dundee Rep”

Theatre review: Moorcroft – Tron, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Tuesday February 22 2022

THREE STARS

We first meet Garry (played by Martin Docherty), the main protagonist and narrator of Eilidh Loan’s big-hearted footballing drama, on his 50th birthday. Judging by the virulence with which he pops his birthday balloons, he’s in no mood to celebrate, preferring to take refuge in happier times and the heady sensations of youth. 

Pic: John Johnston
Continue reading “Theatre review: Moorcroft – Tron, Glasgow”

Theatre review: The Invisible Man – Northern Stage, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Monday February 7 2022

THREE STARS

Anna Girvan’s production for Northern Stage features a protagonist named Griffin, a character called Herbert George and another with a bandaged face, but the nods to HG Wells and his science fiction classic end there. The 1897 novella is only a jumping-off point for a contemporary meditation on social invisibility in its various forms.

Continue reading “Theatre review: The Invisible Man – Northern Stage, Newcastle”

Review: Christmas Dinner – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Monday December 13 2021

FOUR STARS

Amid this year’s seasonal feast of pantomimes, musicals and comedy shows, the Lyceum, Edinburgh, is serving something altogether different. Christmas Dinner is a new play — written by Robert Alan Evans and produced in association with Catherine Wheels, a leading children’s company — that seeks to celebrate no less than the redemptive power of theatre itself.

Continue reading “Review: Christmas Dinner – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh”

Theatre review: Life is a Dream – Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday November 3 2021

Four Stars

Jo Clifford’s translation of Life is a Dream was originally due to be staged at the Lyceum back in May 2020. In the intervening period, when at times everyday life has taken on the character of nightmare, Pedro Calderón’s classic of the Spanish Golden Age has only acquired new potency.

Continue reading “Theatre review: Life is a Dream – Lyceum, Edinburgh”

Theatre Review: The Tempest – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Monday November 1 2021

THREE STARS

It is fitting that this new production of Shakespeare’s swansong should be opening on Halloween weekend when ghosts and monsters are out in force wandering the dark streets.

The show, adapted and directed by Andy Arnold, has a strongly Gothic flavour, with Prospero’s cell a forbidding library topped with lancet windows and characters moving in and out of the shadows.

Continue reading “Theatre Review: The Tempest – Tron Theatre, Glasgow”

Theatre review: Don Juan – Perth Theatre

First published in The Times, Monday October 18 2021

Three Stars

Nineteen months ago, before the pandemic ushered in theatre’s long hibernation, Perth Theatre staged a riotous version of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with five actors tackling the nine speaking parts. This new adaptation of Molière’s comedy, featuring a script by Grant O’Rourke and direction from Lu Kemp, is an even more ambitious test of its ensemble’s versatility, with a trio of performers covering the dozen or so roles.

Continue reading “Theatre review: Don Juan – Perth Theatre”

Theatre review: Road – Northern Stage, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Friday October 15 2021

THREE STARS

Natalie Ibu’s revival of Road is an ambitious calling card for the new artistic director of Northern Stage. Jim Cartwright’s theatrical tapestry, first staged in the mid-1980s, famously weaves together the lives of some 35 characters: residents of a single street in a run-down working-class pocket of Lancashire.

Continue reading “Theatre review: Road – Northern Stage, Newcastle”