Panto review: A Christmas Carol – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Tuesday December 7 2021

FOUR STARS

It is no easy task to find new ways of staging Dickens’s seasonal tale of greed and redemption. Its familiarity is what makes it such a mainstay of Christmas theatre. One of the pleasures of this production is its willingness to play with our expectations, both as regards the story and the conventions of festive theatre.

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Review: The Snow Queen – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Monday December 10 2018

Four Stars

The Snow Queen is no stranger to Dundee Rep. The most recent production of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, in 2012, starred the aptly named Emily Winter in the role of the icy monarch, negotiating a pine forest on stilts.

 

As one of the longer-serving members of the Rep ensemble, Winter also appears in this latest incarnation, though this time in the role of the Summer Princess, ruler of a balmy, fruit pastille-coloured region the heroine Gerda (Chiara Sparkes) has to pass through on her way to the frozen north.

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Review: My Left / Right Foot – The Musical – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 22 2018

Four Stars

It is 30 years since Daniel Day-Lewis won the first of his three Academy awards for Best Actor for his role as Christy Brown in the biopic My Left Foot. While the actor’s remarkable performance as the Irish writer and artist, born with cerebral palsy, was lauded for its bravery and commitment, with hindsight it seems a prime example of “Oscar bait”, whereby actors take on extreme physical transformations with one eye fixed firmly on the awards season.

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Review: The Iliad – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday April 27 2016

Three Stars

A stage version of The Iliad, scripted by Chris Hannan and directed by Mark Thomson, is a mouth-watering prospect. The playwright has form when it comes to adaptions of the classics, having penned multi-award-winning productions of Crime and Punishment and The Three Musketeers, while Thomson, who is stepping down as artistic director of the Lyceum, is at his best when marshalling large ensembles through rich, intricate stories.

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Review: Little Red and the Wolf – Dundee Rep

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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