Theatre review: Orphans – SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Sunday April 10 2022


Nostalgia for the 90s is pervasive at present, and this new musical from the National Theatre of Scotland will be catnip to those who hark back fondly to the decade of New Labour, devolution, Trainspotting and Friends. The production is an adaptation of the 1998 film directed by Peter Mullan: one of a string of Glasgow-set gems from the era that also includes Small Faces and Stella Does Tricks.

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Review: Interference – City Park, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Thursday March 21 2019

Three Stars

The National Theatre of Scotland’s motto of “theatre without walls” has led the company to stage its work in offbeat venues, from pubs and village halls to an airport lounge and a swimming pool.


The setting for this trio of new plays on the theme of technology is no less striking: a corner of a sprawling office complex that once housed a cigarette factory. While its façade is imposing, inside the building is much more anonymous. As we make our way from the reception area through the central courtyard and beyond, all signs of human life start to disappear.

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Review: Gagarin Way – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Tuesday October 23 2018

Four Stars

It feels misleading to refer to this new production of Gagarin Way as a “revival” — as though the director Cora Bissett and her cast had somehow breathed life back into a corpse. Gregory Burke’s black comedy, which was plucked out of the slush pile at the Traverse Theatre and went on to stun audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has thrived on stages around the world pretty much nonstop since its premiere in 2001.

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Review: Adam – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 9 2017

Three Stars

So much happens in this new show from the National Theatre of Scotland that it seems impossible that it only runs for 75 minutes. A loose companion piece to Jo Clifford’s Eve, which also debuts as part of this year’s Traverse festival programme, Adam charts an Egyptian transgender man’s early life, including his experience of homelessness, abuse, mental illness and self-harm, before he is reborn – in every sense – at the age of nineteen, in Scotland.

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Review: Jumpy – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Tuesday November 1 2016

Two Stars

This revival of April de Angelis’s 2011 play was due to mark the return of Daniela Nardini (best known as Anna in This Life) to the Lyceum’s stage for the first time in 22 years. When Nardini was forced to withdraw for personal reasons, the redoubtable Pauline Knowles stepped in to replace her in the role of Hilary, the protagonist of this tragicomedy about a woman on the cusp of turning 50 who is battling crises on every front.

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Review: Rites – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published in The Times, Friday May 8 2015

Four Stars

Cora Bissett, the director of this new verbatim piece, has never flinched from contentious subjects. Her previous work includes Roadkill, an uncompromising look at the sex trade, while the musical Glasgow Girls was based on the true tale of seven girls who stood up to the UK immigration system when a friend was threatened with deportation.

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