Panto review: A Christmas Carol – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Tuesday December 7 2021

FOUR STARS

It is no easy task to find new ways of staging Dickens’s seasonal tale of greed and redemption. Its familiarity is what makes it such a mainstay of Christmas theatre. One of the pleasures of this production is its willingness to play with our expectations, both as regards the story and the conventions of festive theatre.

Continue reading “Panto review: A Christmas Carol – Dundee Rep”

Review: The Snow Queen – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Monday December 10 2018

Four Stars

The Snow Queen is no stranger to Dundee Rep. The most recent production of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, in 2012, starred the aptly named Emily Winter in the role of the icy monarch, negotiating a pine forest on stilts.

 

As one of the longer-serving members of the Rep ensemble, Winter also appears in this latest incarnation, though this time in the role of the Summer Princess, ruler of a balmy, fruit pastille-coloured region the heroine Gerda (Chiara Sparkes) has to pass through on her way to the frozen north.

Continue reading “Review: The Snow Queen – Dundee Rep”

Review: My Left / Right Foot – The Musical – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 22 2018

Four Stars

It is 30 years since Daniel Day-Lewis won the first of his three Academy awards for Best Actor for his role as Christy Brown in the biopic My Left Foot. While the actor’s remarkable performance as the Irish writer and artist, born with cerebral palsy, was lauded for its bravery and commitment, with hindsight it seems a prime example of “Oscar bait”, whereby actors take on extreme physical transformations with one eye fixed firmly on the awards season.

Continue reading “Review: My Left / Right Foot – The Musical – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh”

Review: Para Handy – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Tuesday November 1 2016

Three Stars

You can almost pinpoint a person’s age by which screen version of the Para Handy tales they most fondly recall. The wily captain of the Vital Spark, the Clyde puffer immortalised in Neil Munro’s short stories, has been portrayed on television no less than three times since the 1950s. The most recent adaptation, which starred Gregor Fisher and Rikki Fulton, aired in the mid-Nineties, so we are probably due another remake.

Continue reading “Review: Para Handy – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”

Review: Little Red and the Wolf – Dundee Rep

First published in The Times, Friday April 1 2016

Four Stars

Was there ever a more maligned creature in folklore than the wolf? The creature’s appalling public image can be traced all the way back to Aesop, and in European fairy tales the big bad wolf is either a predatory beast, devouring grandmothers and innocent young girls without remorse, or hoist with his own petard: lured to the boiling pot by little pigs and mother goats.

Continue reading “Review: Little Red and the Wolf – Dundee Rep”