Edinburgh review: This is Paradise – Traverse Theatre

First published in The Times, Saturday August 6 2022

FOUR STARS

The Good Friday Agreement has been much in the news lately, whether in the context of wrangles over the future of the Northern Ireland protocol, or as the backdrop to the highly praised final episode of the sitcom Derry Girls. The Easter weekend of 1998 is also the setting for Michael John O’Neill’s powerful monologue, This is Paradise, but the spectacle of triumphant politicians with pens in hands and the weight of history on their shoulders is held very much at one remove.   

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

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 Tempest – Northern Stage, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Friday October 2 2015

Four Stars

The significance of the washing machine sitting downstage centre doesn’t become apparent until the ensemble arrives onstage, ceremonially bearing a box of detergent. The brand? Ariel, of course.

Into the drum goes the dirty laundry, and as the machine starts to judder, the stage darkens, the curtain rises and the cast swirl away into the evocative opening storm scene.

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