First published in The Times, Wednesday June 7 2017
By coincidence, Dundee Rep’s community production of Brecht’s anti-fascist allegory is running at the same time as a major revival at the Donmar Warehouse. Where Brecht’s 1941 “parable play” parodied Hitler’s rise to power through the story of a small-time gangster who assumes control over the Chicago cauliflower racket in the 1930s, the London production, starring Lenny Henry, draws explicit parallels with the campaigning rhetoric and behaviour in office of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It is no mean feat to take a play as endlessly revived and oft discussed as Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece and make audiences feel as though they are seeing it for the first time. Yet this production, directed by Joe Douglas for the Dundee Rep ensemble, offers an abundance of fresh perspectives on a text many people first encounter as high school students.
First published in The Times, Thursday November 19 2015
Over the past decade, David Leddy, the artistic director of Fire Exit, has built up a deserved reputation for innovation. His previous works include a site-specific webcast streamed live from his Glasgow flat and an immersive play, set in Japan, for which the audience was invited to sip white tea while wrapped in kimonos. In this context, his latest work, a two-hander with a single-room setting, looks like a radical departure.
First published in The Times, Tuesday September 22 2015
When John McGrath’s landmark political drama debuted in a small venue in Aberdeen in 1973, the effects of the discovery of North Sea Oil on life in the Highlands were only just beginning to be felt. Forty years on, Joe Douglas’s joyous revival for Dundee Rep subtly updates the script to include references to the independence referendum and the current debate on land ownership, but it’s remarkably faithful to the substance and raucous spirit of the original.
First published in The Times, Thursday April 2 2015
Playwright Alison Carr is one of the breakout members of the Traverse 50 – the group of new talents discovered and nurtured by Scotland’s new writing theatre as part of its half-centenary celebrations. Fat Alice may be her first fully realised work, but it’s an impressive calling card, sly and audaciously offbeat, showcased to strong effect in Joe Douglas’s snappy production.