Theatre review: The Signalman – Perth Theatre

First published in The Times, Monday September 27 2021

FOUR STARS

This is not the first time that Peter Arnott, the prolific Scottish dramatist, has explored the Tay Bridge disaster of December 28, 1879. Tay Bridge, his 2019 play, gave voice to some of those who lost their lives when the original Tay Rail Bridge collapsed during a storm, killing all onboard the Burntisland-to-Dundee train, which was crossing at the time. The series of vivid monologues combined to create a broader picture of late 19th century Scottish society.

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Review: The Course of True Love – The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

First published in The Times, Thursday November 19 2015

Three Stars

 

Over the past decade, David Leddy, the artistic director of Fire Exit, has built up a deserved reputation for innovation. His previous works include a site-specific webcast streamed live from his Glasgow flat and an immersive play, set in Japan, for which the audience was invited to sip white tea while wrapped in kimonos. In this context, his latest work, a two-hander with a single-room setting, looks like a radical departure.

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Review: Happy Hour – Òran Mór, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Friday November 13 2015

Four Stars

The dark comic tone of Anita Vettesse’s play is established early. “What’s in the shoebox?” asks Kay (Hannah Donaldson) of her mother, Anne (Anne Lacey). “Your dad,” comes the reply, without so much as a shrug of regret.

The premise of this debut from Vettesse may be familiar, but it is revitalised in Gethin Evans’s production by the keenness of the writing and a trio of fine, complementary performances. Donaldson, Lacey and Stephen McCole portray the surviving members of a disunited clan, who have gathered in the back room of the family pub to bid a not-so-fond farewell to newly deceased patriarch, Joe. While Anne sees a rare chance to gather her offspring around her, the kids have less honourable reasons for attending.

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Review: Fat Alice – Òran Mór, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Thursday April 2 2015 

Four Stars

Playwright Alison Carr is one of the breakout members of the Traverse 50 – the group of new talents discovered and nurtured by Scotland’s new writing theatre as part of its half-centenary celebrations. Fat Alice may be her first fully realised work, but it’s an impressive calling card, sly and audaciously offbeat, showcased to strong effect in Joe Douglas’s snappy production.

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Review: The Day the Pope Emptied Croy – Òran Mór, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Thursday March 19 2015

Three Stars

Mention the papal visit to Scotland in May 1982 and the image that comes to mind is probably that of John Paul II saying mass for 300,000 Scottish Catholics in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park. While that now legendary occasion forms the backdrop to this three-hander, presented by A Play, a Pie and a Pint in association with the Traverse Theatre, Martin McCormick, the playwright, astutely chooses to focus on those who were left behind or excluded on the day rather than the crowds waving banners in the park.

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Review: Leviathan – Òran Mór, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Wednesday March 11 2015

Two Stars

You know all is not well in this disappointing three-hander from the moment the lights go up to reveal Karen (Claire Cage) slumped in an armchair in her back garden, staring into the middle distance. Whey-faced and clad in jumpsuit and slippers, she launches into a staccato stream of consciousness before flopping back spent, the light going out in her eyes. Meanwhile, life goes on around her: the cat prowls the garden for birds; her neighbour mows his lawn incessantly; her mother Mavis (Siw Hughes) and daughter Hannah (Gwawr Loader) soak up the late summer sun. Continue reading “Review: Leviathan – Òran Mór, Glasgow”