First published in The Times, Monday October 8 2018
A first glance at Michael Taylor’s minutely detailed one-room set raises fears that we will be trapped for 90 minutes in the limited territory of kitchen-sink realism. However, as the lights go up we realise there is something not quite right about this crowded picture. For starters, this is a room with no discernible door or windows. Odder still, the kitchen sink contains neither bowl nor dishes but a record player stacked with 45s.
First published in The Times, Monday March 11 2018
In many ways, the bingo hall is the ideal place in which to set a site-specific show. Like live theatre at its best, a night at the bingo is a collective experience that’s a little different every time, leaving its participants trembling on the edge of their seats, on the verge of elation or disappointment.
It is surprising that this new musical comedy, produced by Stellar Quines in collaboration with Grid Iron, the leading company specialising in site-specific work in Scotland, makes no attempt to fully immerse its audience within such a giddy atmosphere. We watch the action unfold against the glittery backdrop of Carys Hobbs and Becky Minto’s set at one remove, and the experience is akin to spying on a party to which we haven’t been invited.
First published in The Times, Tuesday December 12 2017
There was drama on and offstage at the opening performance of Perth’s pantomime. Ten minutes before the finale, a few too many puffs of smoke triggered the newly refurbishment theatre’s fire alarm system, dispatching cast, crew and audience onto the High Street for an impromptu second interval. Everyone involved took the disruption in good grace. The fire fighters were even called onstage to take a bow when the action resumes.
First published in The Times, Monday December 21 2015
Theatre audiences are spoilt for choice at this time of year, with plenty of serious plays and adaptations available for those with a low tolerance for the traditional pantomime. Annie Siddons’s update of Rapunzel, directed for the Citizens by Lu Kemp, is something of a hybrid, sticking for the most part to the basic outline of the fairy tale but with the plot repeatedly put on hold for lengthy comic digressions and the occasional attempt to break the fourth wall.