First published in The Times, Wednesday September 18 2019
There is a certain irony in how Sherlock Holmes barely appears in his most famous literary adventure. His near-absence is indicative of the ambivalence his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, felt towards the character. Indeed, The Hound of the Baskervilles marked Holmes’s resurrection eight years after Doyle tried to kill off his fictional detective.
Sandy Grierson is fast becoming the go-to actor for offbeat dramatic roles in Scottish theatre. The titles alone of his recent work hint at his versatility. In the past two years he has played the antihero of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark: A Life in Three Acts at the Edinburgh International Festival and the iconoclast musician in The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler for the National Theatre of Scotland.
First published in The Times, Monday October 26 2015
Outside, the wind is blowing the leaves around in the street, but inside the Bharatiya Ashram, the sun is shining. Granted, there may be something a little disorientating about watching a play set on the longest day of the year a mere week before the clocks go back, but this revival of David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s sparkling romantic comedy proves the ideal pre-winter warmer.
The 1991 BBC adaptation of Roberto Cossa’s La Nona featured no less a comedy legend than the late Les Dawson in the title role. By the same token the cast list for this National Theatre of Scotland production reads like a who’s who of Scottish comedy, with Rab C Nesbitt star Gregor Fisher returning to the stage for the first time in 30 years to tackle the pitiless 100-year-old matriarch who literally eats her family out of house and home.
First published in The Times, Tuesday April 28 2015
It takes a long time to adjust to the bizarre universe of Douglas Maxwell’s new comedy. The action ostensibly takes place in the Govanhill area of Glasgow during a sweltering heat wave but the off-centre atmosphere created in Dominic Hill’s production is more akin to Twin Peaks than River City.