Theatre review: The Scent of Roses – Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday March 9 2022

TWO STARS

The new drama by Zinnie Harris, the award-winning Scottish playwright and director, presents an assortment of characters trying with varying degrees of success to say the unsayable. In the opening sequence Luci (Neve McIntosh) resorts to locking Christopher (Peter Forbes), her husband of 21 years, in their bedroom, with supplies of food and wine, so she can confront him about a suspected affair. In a later scene their daughter Caitlin (Leah Byrne) spins a grotesque and increasingly elaborate lie to reconnect with a former lover, Sally (Saskia Ashdown).

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Theatre review: Krapp’s Last Tape / Go On – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Wednesday October 6 2021

FOUR STARS

With his new production of Samuel Beckett’s one-act play, Dominic Hill’s tenure as artistic director of the Citizens Theatre has come full circle. A declared Beckett aficionado, Hill chose Krapp’s Last Tape to round off his first season in charge, back in 2012, with the late Gerard Murphy in the title role.

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Review: Interference – City Park, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Thursday March 21 2019

Three Stars

The National Theatre of Scotland’s motto of “theatre without walls” has led the company to stage its work in offbeat venues, from pubs and village halls to an airport lounge and a swimming pool.

 

The setting for this trio of new plays on the theme of technology is no less striking: a corner of a sprawling office complex that once housed a cigarette factory. While its façade is imposing, inside the building is much more anonymous. As we make our way from the reception area through the central courtyard and beyond, all signs of human life start to disappear.

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Review: The Winter’s Tale – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Friday February 17 2017

Three Stars

The perennial problem in staging The Winter’s Tale is how to realise credibly its time-jumps and uncomfortable emotional leaps, not to mention the more fantastical elements in the story. “Exit, pursued by a bear” – perhaps the most famous stage direction in theatre history – is only one of several logistical challenges posed by the bard in this late play.

 

Max Webster, the director of this production for the Royal Lyceum, rejoices in Shakespeare’s dismantling of the conventions of dramatic storytelling, exhibiting a childlike delight in the fundamentals of putting on other people’s clothes and making up worlds. A kingdom is depicted through the use of paper crowns and a plywood castle. At one point the ensemble rolls out a carpet of grass with the words “scene change” scribbled on its underside. The vertical shutters that open and close on the scenes at the court of King Leontes (John Michie) frame proceedings in the style of a letterbox movie screen.

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Review: The Deliverance – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh Fringe

First published in The Times, Saturday August 22 2015

Four Stars

The Latin phrase omne trium perfectum (the notion that everything that comes in threes is complete) is being put to the test at the Fringe this year. Not only is the award-winning Scottish theatre company Stellar Quines premiering its production of The Deliverance – the final instalment in a trilogy written by the Québécoise playwright Jennifer Tremblay – audiences have the opportunity to see the three instalments back-to-back for the first time.

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