Best of 2011: Theatre
The best theatre work of 2011, including The Age of Arousal and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
The story of the overly curious girl/boy who encounters the Devil is as old as theatre itself, but David Greig’s inspired play-cum-ceilidh brought a dynamic twist to the Border Ballad form. Touring pubs around the country and fusing a witty script with traditional music and karaoke, the show was the perfect winter warmer, repeating its success at the Edinburgh Fringe.
NTS, touring, Feb; Edinburgh Fringe, Aug.
Original review - The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
The Age of Arousal
An adaptation of a turgid George Gissing novel set in the early days of female emancipation doesn’t sound like the most promising night out. But Stellar Quines’ production of Linda Griffiths’ play about an ageing suffragette’s attempt to liberate a group of impoverished women through touch-typing was stylishly conceived and entertaining with an ensemble-full of excellent performances.
Stellar Quines/Royal Lyceum, touring, Apr.
Original review - The Age of Arousal
Knives in Hens
Lies Pauwels’ revival of David Harrower’s three hander for the National Theatre of Scotland was one of those adaptations that split the critics down the middle. The List was firmly in the ‘love-it’ camp, reckoning Pauwels’ heavily stylised version of the play about a woman’s sexual awakening and transition to literacy was bold, exhilarating and frequently moving.
National Theatre of Scotland, touring, Jun/Jul.
Original review - Knives in Hens
A Slow Air
Harrower again, this time with a new play that debuted at the Tron’s Mayfesto strand. A Slow Air revolves around a pair of duelling monologues from a brother and sister (played by real-life siblings Kathryn and Lewis Howden) debilitated by their unwillingness to bury a long-festering feud. The piece spoke volumes about Scottish identity with a couple of razor-sharp character studies at its heart.
Tron, Glasgow & Traverse, Edinburgh, May/Aug.
Original review - A Slow Air
I Hope My Heart Goes First
A startling riposte to all those who go out of their way to avoid theatre productions by teenagers, Junction 25’s I Hope My Heart Goes First won the company an enthusiastic new audience with its insightful exploration of the growing up process, taking knowing swipes at the clichés from film and music that get in the way of how we really feel.
Junction 25, Edinburgh Fringe, Aug.
Original review - I Hope My Heart Goes First