Review: A Christmas Carol – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Friday December 10 2021

FIVE STARS

Among the seasonal traditions that people are once again enjoying this year, a return visit to the Citizens Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol will be high on many people’s lists. Dominic Hill’s production, based on the lyrical adaption by Neil Bartlett, dates all the way back to 2014, but, like a trip to the St Enoch Christmas Market, is well worth a repeat experience.

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Review: Pinocchio – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Friday December 13 2019

Four Stars

“A sad tale’s best for winter,” Shakespeare once wrote, and it doesn’t get much more melancholy than Carlo Collodi’s fable about the misadventures of a puppet boy who longs to become a real human. Put all thoughts of the cutesy Walt Disney version out of your mind: Dominic Hill’s production, based around the punchy adaptation by Robert Alan Evans, is a deliciously dark vision.

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Review: Them! – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Monday July 1 2019

Three Stars

There is so much going in this new show from the director-writer team of Stewart Laing and Pamela Carter that even the cavernous space of the Tramway struggles to contain it. As in previous works from the pair’s Untitled Projects, which include Slope and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner, this collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland takes the form of a dense collage of ideas, images and provocations. The mix results in some fascinating moments, even if the disparate elements don’t entirely cohere.

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Review: Nora: A Doll’s House – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Monday March 25 2019

Two Stars

A Doll’s House by Ibsen is one of those theatrical gifts that keep on giving. The play about a middle-class woman, Nora Helmer, who comes to realise that her seemingly perfect marriage is a pretty cage, has been endlessly updated since its premiere in 1879. Lucas Hnath’s sequel, A Doll’s House, Part 2, which speculates on what happened to Nora after she closed the door on her old life, opened on Broadway in 2017.

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Review: Cyrano de Bergerac –Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Monday September 10 2018

Four Stars

The autumn theatre season has rolled around again, but for Dominic Hill and the Citizens Theatre it is far from business as usual. Cyrano de Bergerac is the company’s first production since taking up residence at nearby Tramway while its Gorbals HQ undergoes renovations. Hill’s take on Edmond Rostand’s 1897 verse drama, based on the celebrated 1992 Scots translation by Edwin Morgan, is an ambitious team effort, co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Lyceum, that will tour stages around the country.

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Review: FREAGRA | A Blurred Expanse – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Tuesday July 5 2016

Four Stars

The new work from Edinburgh-based choreographer Rob Heaslip creeps up on its audience with cunning stealth. It opens quietly and in semi-darkness, with the dancers bunched together and entwined: they pulse as one to the beat like a human heart. As the show’s subtitle implies, it takes a while to discern quite what we’re looking at, the gender of the dancers or even the number of people onstage, but by the end of the 50-minute piece, it has become increasingly hard to resist getting caught up in its every nuance.

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Review: Little Red – Tramway, Glasgow

First published in The Times, Friday December 4 2015

Four Stars

 

There have been enough retellings and parodies of Little Red Riding Hood to nearly constitute an entire genre. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the woods, along comes this startling piece of dance theatre, created by the Glasgow-based company Barrowland Ballet, which compels its audience to look anew at the caped heroine and her lupine adversary.

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Review: Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh International Festival

First published in The Times, Friday August 21 2015

Four Stars

James Hogg’s 1824 novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a key text of the Scottish literary canon: its fingerprints can be seen on everything from Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde to the performance videos of Douglas Gordon. Yet this co-production from Stewart Laing’s Untitled Projects in association with the National Theatre of Scotland and Tramway is no reverent adaptation. This, after all, is the director and company that brought us the immersive The Salon Project and a version of Genet’s The Maids that cast young men in the leads and featured a question-and-answer session with the director midway through act two.

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Review: The Driver’s Seat – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Wednesday June 24 2015

Four Stars

Muriel Spark’s 1970 novella The Driver’s Seat would probably be considered too much of a curiosity for publication today. The protagonist is Lise, a woman in her thirties, alienated and unhinged by the rituals of her office job, who travels from northern to southern Europe, ostensibly in search of “her type”. Spark pulls the carpet out from under her readers’ feet by revealing, barely three chapters in, that her central character will be brutally murdered.

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