Edinburgh review: This is Paradise – Traverse Theatre

First published in The Times, Saturday August 6 2022


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: The Secret Garden – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

First published in The Times, Wednesday February 26 2020

Four Stars

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel was only a minor success when it was first published in 1911, but its reputation has since eclipsed that of her other books for children. The young protagonists are gratifyingly complex, there is a gothic edge to the atmosphere and there is something timeless in the story’s themes of healing and rejuvenation.

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Review: Ballyturk – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Monday October 8 2018

Four Stars

A first glance at Michael Taylor’s minutely detailed one-room set raises fears that we will be trapped for 90 minutes in the limited territory of kitchen-sink realism. However, as the lights go up we realise there is something not quite right about this crowded picture. For starters, this is a room with no discernible door or windows. Odder still, the kitchen sink contains neither bowl nor dishes but a record player stacked with 45s.

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