What to see at the theatre this Autumn in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Including the Broons, Krapp's Last Tape, Jumpy and Clown Cabaret
Every autumn, Scotland's major theatres present their new seasons, from the Traverse's new writing commitment through to the Tron's interest in contemporary classics. But there are plenty of idiosyncratic pop-up events across the country, one-off happenings, cabaret nights and touring productions too. Here's a selection to look out for this autumn that takes in scripts, risks, vaudeville and more.
Buzzcut's Double Thrills evening has moved the spirited festival's live art and queer-friendly community into Glasgow's CCA for a monthly dose of performance fun. Recent shows have included Christeene and Ira Brand. Meanwhile, our recent cover star Louise Orwin features in September with more acts to be announced.
Nic Green became internationally famous for her Trilogy, but in September she keeps it local with a series of shows in Govan. Turn (pictured) features a community chorus and a composition for hand-cast bells. Celebrating the maritime history of the old docks, and the rhythms of the tides, it reflects Green's interest in nature and its relationship to human communities.
In Edinburgh, Anatomy continues to be the place for post-modern variety. Developed with a punky, DIY sensibility, this regular evening of spoken word, solo choreography and anything else that refuses easy definition has grown into a showcase for experimental artists.
Respect the Script
Fringe favourite Rob Drummond's new script joins the fashionable obsession with converting comic books into theatre: his version of The Broons goes on a national tour, bringing Scotland's favourite family (who are still living in an early 20th-century fantasy) onto the modern stage.
At Glasgow's Tron, Gerry Mulgrew plays the hero of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. Mulgrew is a contemporary Scottish theatre legend, and Krapp is the quintessential man who lives a life of regret and longing.
David Greig may have made his reputation as a playwright, but he is taking bold risks as artistic director at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum, getting classical with his version of Aeschylus' The Suppliant Women. He is backing this up with Jumpy, from Cora Bissett, who has reminded audiences of her skills through the recent remounting of Glasgow Girls. With Jumpy, Bissett's created a comedy that touches on a troubled mother / daughter relationship.
Often the unwanted cousin to mainstream theatre, cabaret has been re-inventing itself for decades, and Edinburgh's Clown Cabaret is taking a trip across the M8 to set up shop in the Tron. The cabaret, and its sister event Buffoon Scratchings, has exposed a rich seam of comedic talent in Scotland – drawing from the many European schools of clowning, including Commedia dell'arte and, of course, Lecoq. Far more than big shoes and a red nose, the clown is a poignant figure and, when performed with the skills that Scotland seems to have developed quietly, a symbol of human hope and frustration. The loose format of the evening allows a range of clowns to get their moment of pathos or triumph.
The Britannia Panopticon shuts up during the winter – it is too cold in the beautiful yet damaged venue. However, it holds its regular variety evenings throughout September and October with a drag special and film nights. Its most prominent event is its tribute to the music hall genre, in which the memories of the place are conjured back to life for one more turn around the great era of working-class variety.
Gary McNair didn't enter a piece into 2016's Fringe, perhaps to allow other artists a chance for awards and celebratory reviews. Instead, he is touring his 2015 success, A Gambler's Guide to Dying. McNair mixes comedy and personal sadness – in his trademark, amiable style – in a tale that follows an old man's wager with life and death.
Alongside the longest running play in British history, The Mousetrap, arriving in Scotland, Dogstar are touring Mungo Park, straight after a Fringe run. While it delves into the comedy of colonial ambition, its study of imperial exploration of Africa pulls no punches in exposing the brutality of the supposedly civilised nations.