Review: South Bend – Gilded Balloon at the Museum, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Friday August 10 2018

Four Stars

Like many teens of his generation, obsessed with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and mad with love for Blossom Russo, the playwright and actor Martin McCormick was soaked in American culture long before he set foot on US soil. A spell in California as an exchange student did nothing to quell his enthusiasm. The sojourn brought him a legion of friends, attracted by his cute Scottish brogue, and his first serious girlfriend.

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Review: Bingo! – Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Monday March 11 2018

Two Stars

In many ways, the bingo hall is the ideal place in which to set a site-specific show. Like live theatre at its best, a night at the bingo is a collective experience that’s a little different every time, leaving its participants trembling on the edge of their seats, on the verge of elation or disappointment.

 

It is surprising that this new musical comedy, produced by Stellar Quines in collaboration with Grid Iron, the leading company specialising in site-specific work in Scotland, makes no attempt to fully immerse its audience within such a giddy atmosphere. We watch the action unfold against the glittery backdrop of Carys Hobbs and Becky Minto’s set at one remove, and the experience is akin to spying on a party to which we haven’t been invited.

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Review: Crude – Shed 36, Port of Dundee

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First published in The Times, Friday October 14 2016

Three Stars

Any mention of North Sea Oil is most likely to bring to mind the city of Aberdeen, which has weathered the ups and downs of the industry for over 40 years. So, it’s refreshing that this ambitious exploration of oil production and its human and environmental impact, is brought to us by Grid Iron Theatre Company from Dundee, a city at the forefront of Scotland’s efforts to secure a slice of the lucrative oil rig decommissioning industry.

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Review: The View from Castle Rock – artSpace@StMarks, Edinburgh

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First published in The Times, Friday August 19 2016

Four Stars

Over the past few years, the Edinburgh International Book Festival has included an increasingly ambitious theatre element in its programme. Previous productions include a starry staging of Alasdair Gray’s play Fleck and Letters Home, a co-production with Grid Iron, the site-specific company.

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Review: The Devil’s Larder – Custom House, Leith

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First published in The Times, Friday October 23 2015

Three Stars

Grid Iron, the site-specific specialists, first staged their adaptation of Jim Crace’s fragmentary novel exploring our relationship with food in a branch of Debenhams after hours. A decade on and the backdrops for Ben Harrison’s touring remount are no less intriguing, ranging from a newly restored 200-year-old Custom House to a hotel on the windswept northern Scottish coast.

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