Review: Bold Girls – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Wednesday January 31 2018

Four Stars

Rona Munro’s Bold Girls, first staged in 1990, is one of those disquieting works that lures its audience in gently before gradually exposing them to the sadness and desperation at its core. The play is set in Belfast at the height of the Troubles, but in the opening ten minutes of this revival at the Citizens – as Marie (Lucianne McEvoy) entertains her best friend, Cassie (Scarlett Mack), and Cassie’s mother, Nora (Deirdre Davis), in her cramped front room – we might just as easily be in sitcom-land. The women light-heartedly discuss their planned night out, diets and Saturday evening telly. Neil Haynes’s design is so detailed that you can almost feel the warm glow from Marie’s grill pan.

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Review: Dance of Death – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Tuesday May 3 2016

Four Stars

August Strindberg wasn’t the first playwright to portray marriage as a fight to the death, but his vision of a man and woman locked in symbiosis has certainly echoed down the years. The influence of his 1900 play The Dance of Death can be felt in everything from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to pretty much every sitcom marriage of the Seventies and Eighties.

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Review: The Weir – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Thursday January 21 2016

Four Stars

Show don’t tell – that’s the standard advice given to aspiring playwrights. Yet, Conor McPherson’s masterpiece, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1997, famously never shows us the ghosts that populate his characters’ bar room yarns and confessions. This poignant, sometimes funny and sometimes melancholy play goes back to the very basics of storytelling, requiring its audience to listen hard to a series of evocative exchanges and monologues that illuminate the characters and haunt the imagination.

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