Review: Faith Healer – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Thursday October 24 2019

Four Stars 

First performed in 1979, Brian Friel’s Faith Healer is a play with a formidable reputation. Yet Elizabeth Newman’s production for Pitlochry Festival Theatre is notable for its restraint and transporting intimacy. The staging is sparse and steadfast. The play’s three characters deliver four monologues with the ease of old friends sharing confidences across a café table. As the house lights stay lit throughout we feel almost as though we are part of the action.

Continue reading “Review: Faith Healer – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”

Review: North and South – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Saturday September 7 2019

Three Stars

It is easy to see why Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1854 social novel should resonate in an age of Remain versus Leave. The book is structured around a series of binary oppositions. As well as the contrasting of the pastoral south of England, where the heroine Margaret Hale comes of age, with the industrialised north, to which the Hale family moves, Gaskell explores tensions between received wisdom and dissent, authority and a restless workforce, class and conflicting approaches to matters of the heart.

Continue reading “Review: North and South – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”

Review: Summer Holiday – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Wednesday June 5 2019

Four Stars

When the stage version of Summer Holiday premiered at the Blackpool Opera House in 1996, the big talking point was the double-decker London bus that trundled across the stage, with a lustrous Darren Day at the wheel.

Continue reading “Review: Summer Holiday – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”

Review: Before the Party – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Thursday July 26 2018

Three Stars

There is something discomfiting, even perversely fascinating, about watching Rodney Ackland’s 1949 play in the very week that warnings about food shortages and rationing in the event of a hard Brexit have dominated the news agenda. The backdrop to Ackland’s adaptation of a short story by W Somerset Maugham is a Britain caught in the painful aftershocks of the war where almost every conversation contains references to cost and availability.

Continue reading “Review: Before the Party – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”