Welcome! I am a freelance journalist and theatre critic for The Times in Scotland. I also write short fiction, which has been broadcast several times on BBC Radio 4 and published in anthologies such as Out There, Elsewhere, ImagiNation, Gutter, Markings, New Writing Scotland and The Best Gay Stories.
First published in The Times, Friday October 14 2022
This brief, tantalising piece of visual theatre was devised from scratch by the deaf performers Emmanuelle Laborit and Ramesh Meyyappan with Andy Arnold, the director, but much of its content and imagery will be familiar to Francophiles. The co-production between the Tron and International Visual Theatre (IVT) draws on iconic moments in French cinema, from the poetic visuals of Georges Méliès to the tragic pairing of Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault in Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis.
First published in The Times, Saturday July 16 2022
For all his renown as a visual artist and playwright, in a career spanning five decades, John Byrne is also synonymous with rock’n’roll. Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart, the hit television serials he wrote for the BBC, both of which charted the travails of aspiring musicians, are as much remembered for their soundtracks as their storylines. Byrne also designed album covers for his friend and Paisley compatriot Gerry Rafferty, and his bands, the Humblebums and Stealers Wheel.
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.
First published in The Times, Tuesday February 22 2022
We first meet Garry (played by Martin Docherty), the main protagonist and narrator of Eilidh Loan’s big-hearted footballing drama, on his 50th birthday. Judging by the virulence with which he pops his birthday balloons, he’s in no mood to celebrate, preferring to take refuge in happier times and the heady sensations of youth.
First published in The Times, Wednesday October 6 2021
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.
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, Thursday March 12 2020
There is so much going in this collaboration between Theatre Gu Leòr and the band Whyte that it comes as something of a surprise to realise that the show’s running time is a tight 75 minutes. Maim blends movement, story vignettes and multimedia with the band’s characteristic fusion of electronica and Gaelic song to explore life in Scotland’s far-flung communities, notably the fragile status of the Gaelic language and culture. The result is a unique hybrid that works its spell slowly, exerting a powerful pull.
This is the first time Marius von Mayenburg’s 2007 satire has been seen on a Scottish stage but there is much in Debbie Hannan’s production that will be familiar to those with even a sketchy knowledge of the horror genre. The trope of slowly unwrapping bandages from some strangely altered face has been so endlessly sent-up that it surely deserves a subgenre classification of its own.
First published in The Times, Monday April 29 2019
The life of Mary, Queen of Scots is the apparent inspiration for this new play from House of Mirth, though its tone is less conventional historical drama than something akin to Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. The tragic monarch doesn’t even make her entrance until halfway through the hour-long show.