First published in The Times, Tuesday March 17 2020
Vanishing Point, the Glasgow-based theatre company led by Matthew Lenton, tends to develop much of its acclaimed, highly distinctive work in rehearsal, often creating radical versions of plays such as Maurice Maeterlinck’s Interiors and John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. However, the company’s stunning take on Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis (in collaboration with the Tron and Italy’s Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione) is remarkably faithful to its source, and it marks a culmination of Lenton’s concerns and signature style.
First published in The Times, Tuesday February 26 2019
Visions of the afterlife in drama can range from the terrifying to the strangely reassuring. Vanishing Point’s meditation on death, the torment of grief and the comforts of the supernatural imagines Hamlet’s “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns” as a gothic mirror of the world above ground, in which the dead reciprocate the pain and grief of the living.
First published in The Times, Tuesday November 14 2017
Live music has long been an integral part of Scottish theatre. The influence of the music hall can be found in everything from pantomime to political works by 7:84 and Wildcat. Recent successes from the National Theatre of Scotland have included the musical Glasgow Girls and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, a piece of “ceilidh-theatre” that toured pubs and village halls.
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, Wednesday March 2 2016
A single image can change the entire public conversation. The most powerful recent example was the picture of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, which inspired a softening in attitudes towards the Syrian refugee crisis. Nonetheless, in today’s world, where we are bombarded with images of human suffering, online and on television, it is increasingly difficult to interrogate and fully process what we are seeing.
First published in The Times, Friday August 14 2015
Stoirm Òg – the bilingual English-Gaelic theatre company founded by writer-performer Elspeth Turner – caused a modest splash at the fringe in 2012 with the gothic Hebridean family drama The Idiot at the Wall. Turner’s new work, inspired by the folklore and storytelling traditions of the north-east of Scotland, further reveals a company of significant range and ambition even if at times both the play and this production feel a little overstuffed.