Theatre

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Ian Smith: an appreciation

15 Sep 2014

The artist, performer and founder of Mischief La-Bas died in August following battle with depression

Ian Smith, who died on August 1 at the age of 55, was unique and one of the most creative performance artists in Scotland, and beyond, in recent decades. A founder member and leading light of the acclaimed performance company Mischief La-Bas (MLB), he…

Interview: actor Brian Ferguson takes on Dominic Hill's new version of Hamlet

16 Sep 2014

The play, 'about a time of huge change in the country', could reflect post-referendum society

'As an actor I have done a lot of new writing,' explains Brian Ferguson. 'These plays are often about the things that aren't said, more so than the things that are. Shakespeare's characters don't have this problem. They shout and weep and rage and love…

Interview: playwright DC Jackson wants to Kill Johnny Glendinning

16 Sep 2014

The hard-edged gangster comedy hopes to tackle the west coast’s attitude to glorifying violence

Ayrshire playwright DC Jackson returns to Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum following his successful contemporary update of Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro back in 2012. His return is accompanied by a partnership which the Fringe First-winning writer of My…

Helen Lawrence

27 Aug 20142 stars

Impressive but confused multimedia theatre piece at Edinburgh International Festival

Helen Lawrence is the definition of ‘impressive’ multimedia theatre, as Canadian Stage has enlisted the help of artist Stan Douglas and screenwriter Chris Haddock to create a homage to 1940s film noir through a combination of theatre and film. Femme…

Things to look forward to at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

19 Sep 2014

Highlights include Augusto Baol film screenings and Drew Taylor's re-imagining of Ginsberg's 'Howl'

Now in its eighth year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, has always had a commitment to theatre that goes beyond simple issue-based drama into personal reflections on mental health. This year it includes the work of Augusto Boal – a…

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Interview: theatremaker Bruce Downie on The Battle of Calder Street

16 Sep 2014

Verbatim theatre piece about the 2001 Govanhill Baths protest

What inspired the creation of the company? Govanhill Baths is such a beautiful building: I could see the potential right away – I knew we had to start a theatre project here. There are a number of different performance spaces, there's storage space…

Interview: balletLORENT's Liv Lorent discusses new family-friendly production Rapunzel

16 Sep 2014

Collaborators include Carol Ann Duffy and creatives from Game of Thrones and Doctor Who

Despite the often brutal content in the original texts, fairytales aren’t known for their adult appeal. But why restrict them to bedtime stories and Disney films, when tales such as those written by the Brothers Grimm have so much to say about life?

Yes or No? 15 shows to help you make your decision for the Scottish independence referendum

12 Sep 2014

Need help deciding? Let the worlds of art, theatre, comedy, books and music lend a hand

Glasgow Early Days: The Arches Referendum Festival A week of special theatre commissions including work by Rob Drummond, Gary McNair & Davey Anderson and Robert Ormerod, with the Arches Political Party the night before and the What Now? Brunch the…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

Student Guide 2014: EUTC and STaG, two of Scotland's leading university theatre groups

10 Sep 2014

The two groups provide a dramatic opportunity for Edinburgh and Glasgow students

University drama groups have always been a great springboard for aspiring actors and writers looking to cut their performance teeth. Bedlam Theatre, a neo-Gothic church in the heart of Edinburgh, is one of Scoltand's best-loved venues. Its esteemed…

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The Glass Menagerie

9 Sep 20144 stars

Jemima Levick directs impeccable new adaptation of Tennessee Williams' 'memory play' for Dundee Rep

In the opening soliloquy of Tennessee Williams’ much lauded ‘memory play’, our narrator describes the ‘gentleman caller’ we will encounter in Act Two. He is, says Tom, ‘the long-delayed but always expected something that we live for’. The hope which…

Ubu and the Truth Commission

1 Sep 20143 stars

Handspring Puppet Company tackle abuses of power at the Edinburgh International Festival

A revival of the 1997 production that mashed up Alfred Jarry's anarchic satire Ubu Roi and episodes from the Truth and Reconciliation process in the aftermath of the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, Ubu and the Truth Commission is an…

The Devil Without

1 Sep 20143 stars

Faustus myth given fresh take at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Ian Harvey Brown is a mentalist. Unlike those who use their power for evil – persuading old ladies that their husbands are happy – or to celebrate their own brilliance like Derren Brown, Brown applies his tricks of the mind to reconsider the myth of…

FRONT

1 Sep 20144 stars

Thalia Theater revive the spirits of Remarque and Barbusse at the Edinburgh International Festival

Thalia Theater's production, set in Belgium 1914-18 and based on classic anti-war literature by Erich Maria Remarque and Henri Barbusse, initially seems like a radio broadcast, until individual testimonies unfurl like battered flags. There are, among…

Claustrophobia

1 Sep 20143 stars

Evocative theatre production let down by disappointing climax at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Claustrophia, created by To The Moon theatre company in association with Theatre Bench, explores exactly what it means to be in control when two unnamed strangers become stuck in a lift together. Jessica Macdonald plays a neurotic woman on her way home…

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The Rose of Jericho

28 Aug 20144 stars

Rich and provocative one-man show from Alex Martinez at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In Alex Martinez's new play, an ex-soldier battles with the ghosts of his past actions and explains how he began to understand the forces that shaped him. While the monologue homes in on the extremes of the character's life - the tours of duty, the act…

The God Box: A Daughter's Story

28 Aug 20143 stars

Overtly emotive play based on Mary-Lou Quinlan's New York Times best-selling book

Mary Lou Quinlan’s The God Box is based on her autobiographical New York Times best-selling book, and is exactly what the subheading tells us: ‘A daughter’s story’. In this one-woman, deeply personal show Quinlan recounts her relationship with her…

The God That Comes

28 Aug 20144 stars

Classical cult cabaret from Canadian performer Hawksley Workman at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Hawksley Workman does not lack ambition. The God That Comes reworks Euripides' Bacchae as a one man show, with Workman playing both the vengeful god of wine and his regal victim. Performed as a song-cycle, Workman also plays drums, keyboards and guitar…

The Man Who Would Be King

28 Aug 20144 stars

Kipling's tale of imperialist ambition is given a contemporary resonance

Perhaps best known in the film version – which saw the dream team of Sean Connery and Michael Caine play the would-be emperors – Kipling's Afghanistan story is more than just a boy's own adventure, reflecting on the arrogant ambitions of a British…

Wuthering Heights

28 Aug 20143 stars

Bravely abstract take on the nineteenth century classic at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is not a faithful theatre adaption of Emily Brontë’s classic: from the beginning the all-male cast announce they will be playing various characters from the novel as well as themselves, taking Heathcliff’s temperamental disposition as the driving…

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Interview: director Graham McLaren on reviving Joe Corrie's In Time O' Strife

27 Aug 2014

'I love that we are giving voice to an artist who was denied it by the theatre establishment'

Set in the 1920s, and highlighting the struggles of Fife miners against poverty and social injustice, In Time O' Strife is a neglected Scottish classic, presaging in its anger the great theatrical revolution of the Angry Young Men in the 1950s. Director…

Letters Home

27 Aug 20143 stars

Four snapshot stories of exile at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Consisting of four short scenes and an unnecessary epilogue set 'backstage' where the actors turn back into civilians, Letters Home is surprisingly slight for a two hour flagship production at the Book Festival. Only Grid Iron's own Ben Harrison deals…

Interview: theatremaker Robert Icke on adapting George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

27 Aug 2014

'We looked more to other art forms for inspiration: David Lynch, Breaking Bad, Grand Theft Auto'

Jointly created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, Headlong's adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four has been praised for its energy and finding new ideas in a familiar tale. Applying a contemporary sensitivity, the classic tale of…

Interview: actor Joe McGann on taking the lead in John Godber's bittersweet April in Paris

27 Aug 2014

'You see wives nudging their husbands and saying, that's you, that is. He writes in a universal way'

'Al and Bet are one of those couples you wouldn't want to be sitting next to on a bus,' says Joe McGann, who plays Al in John Godber’s April in Paris. 'They have been together 27 years and it sounds like constant bickering. And we all know couples like…

Legendary Agatha Christie stage adap The Mousetrap to tour the UK

27 Aug 2014

West End cast Luke Jenkins, Henry Luxemburg and Helen Clapp take the murder mystery on the road

As British as changeable weather, withering sarcasm and a nice cup of tea, Agatha Christie's classic whodunnit The Mousetrap is still the longest-running play in the world, having opened in theatres in 1952 and translated into over 50 languages. While…