Theatre review: hang – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Tuesday May 3 2022

THREE STARS

The prolific playwright, screenwriter, and director debbie tucker green (the lower-case letters are a hallmark) received acclaim for her 2011 play truth and reconciliation, in which victims’ families confronted perpetrators of political violence. hang, first staged at the Royal Court in 2015, imagines a society that has dispensed with restorative justice, opting instead for the death penalty, with victims of crime invited to choose the method of execution.

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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: Lament for Sheku Bayoh – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Thursday August 26 2021

Four Stars

The bare facts of the event that inspired Hannah Lavery’s poignant and powerful play now ring horribly familiar. In May 2015 Sheku Bayoh, a young black man who had been reported to police for his erratic behaviour in a Kirkcaldy street, was confronted and forcibly restrained by a number of officers. He lost consciousness at the scene and never recovered.

The most shocking element — to some at least — is that this tragedy took place in a Scottish town and not in Missouri or Minneapolis. Characters in Lavery’s play lament that such an event could occur in a country that sees itself as inclusive. “This is Scotland,” one says. “It’s not Black Lives Matter.”

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