The best upcoming theatre in Scotland for Autumn 2013

The best upcoming theatre in Scotland for Autumn 2013

Forced Entertainment, Every House Has A Door, Fail Better and The Lion King

The aftermath of the Edinburgh Festival can be depressing for theatre: August doesn't just offer large numbers of performers, it tends to feature companies who don't set foot in Scotland for the rest of the year. While the country does have a healthy theatre community, it’s the arrival of international acts that both sets its work in context and can inspire diverse creativity.

Having said that, it is a relief to see both Forced Entertainment and Every House Has a Door from Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish arriving at Tramway this autumn. Forced Entertainment, who are presenting two shows (The Coming Storm and Tomorrow's Parties, Tramway, Glasgow Thu 10 & Fri 11 Oct), and Hixson and Goulish (formerly of American experimental theatre-makers Goat Island) are familiar faces at Tramway. Their restless imaginations challenged notions of what performance ought to be like without ever disappearing into the formless, inaccessible nonsense that often prevents experimental art from appealing to anyone other than devotees.

Every House Has A Door (Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 22 & Sat 23 Nov) is especially exciting: when Goat Island were in full flight, they could seamlessly weave together comedy, choreography that owed more to folk than ballet, philosophical ideas and an iconoclastic attitude towards conventional values into an entertaining and thought-provoking blast of energy. Hixson and Goulish have enlisted a rock band, Joan of Arc, a stage-set full of triggered effects and an archive of American court transcripts to play about with notions of law, truth and the mayhem of existence.

Both Forced Entertainment and Goat Island are unashamedly experimental. That they deal with such recognisable subjects, and through the talent of their performers, makes them as easy to enjoy as more populist fare. Yet over in Edinburgh, the arrival of The Lion King (Playhouse, Fri 11 Oct—Sat 18 Jan) is a safe bet with the well-known tunes and familiar moral. However, when this musical first appeared, adapted from the Disney movie, it had a surprisingly interesting attitude towards contemporary dance and made much of the rising art of puppetry.

The Fringe is packed full of puppetry that is not just for children – as Edinburgh's Manipulate Festival has made clear. But The Lion King is a rare example of a show which remembers that all ages need not mean childish and, as a spectacular – and perhaps a break from the seriousness of much theatre – is unexpectedly charming.

The dazzling diversity of the programmes at the Tron and Traverse both pose intriguing questions about the venues’ identity and make it very difficult to pick out a single work that represents the season. The return of Translunar Paradise to Edinburgh is a reminder of how Theatre Ad Infinitum first wooed the Fringe with their visual, passionate performance, while Fail Better take a weekend to attack the patriarchy at the Tron.

This season does have an emphasis on repeats: The National Theatre of Scotland is bringing back the Macbeth sequel, Dunsinane and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner (this time at Summerhall). There is, however, one sneaky event that crosses all manner of arts: at the Brunswick Hotel, the 85A Collective are leading the annual Get a Room event. Performances are slipped into the masquerade ball theme, including intimate pieces from Glasgow’s Louna and a dance with Mr Death.

The Lion King

  • Directed by: Julie Taymor
  • Written by: Roger Allers, Elton John (music), Tim Rice (lyrics), Mark Mancina (music & lyrics), Lebo M (music & lyrics), Hans Zimmer (music & lyrics), Julie Taymor (lyrics), Irene Mecchi

It's Hamlet … with lions! Julie Taymor's puppet-powered stage version of Disney's spectacular tale of a dead king and an errant son is a feast of exuberant theatre for the whole family, with show-stopping visual effects, gripping drama and plenty of laughs.

Bristol Hippodrome

Sat 7 Sep

£20–£95 / 0844 847 2325

Sun 8 Sep

£20–£95 / 0844 847 2325

Tue 10 Sep

£20–£95 / 0844 847 2325

…and 63 more dates until 23 Nov

The Edinburgh Playhouse

Thu 5 Dec

£20–£95 / 0844 871 3014

Fri 6 Dec

£20–£95 / 0844 871 3014

Sat 7 Dec

£20–£95 / 0844 871 3014

…and 52 more dates until 9 Feb 2020

Lyceum Theatre, London WC2E

Tue 16 Jul

£20–£245 / 0844 871 3000

Wed 17 Jul

£20–£245 / 0844 871 3000

Thu 18 Jul

£20–£245 / 0844 871 3000

…and 179 more dates until 16 Feb 2020

Get A Room

A fundraising night that sees big names play side by side with local talent over seven floors of the Brunswick Hotel, in aid of Thee Mr Mister Trust (


Major production from the National Theatre of Scotland. David Greig's play examines the pain of a war-ravaged Scotland after the death of Macbeth and an English invasion.

Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner Reconstructed

Untitled Projects and actor George Anton present a reconstruction of Paul Bright's legendary 1987 Scotland-spanning adaptation of the James Hogg novel.

F*** the Patriarchy

A night of words, song and film curated and presented by Fail Better.

Every House Has A Door: Testimonium

Every house has a door, the new company from Goat Island co-founders Lin Hixon and Matthew Goulish, presents this response to Charles Reznikoff's epic Objectivist poem Testimony, crafted by the poet over 40 years from countless pages of courtroom testimony to provide a merciless portrait of 19th and 20th century America.

The Coming Storm

Forced Entertainment interweave multiple storylines, from love and death to sex and laundry, from shipwrecks to falling snow.

Tomorrow's Parties

International innovators Forced Entertainment's latest performance imagines a multitude of hypothetical futures. Two performers wreathed in coloured lights, like a strange fairground attraction, speculate about what tomorrow might bring.

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