Review of the year

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For a good three years before its first shows opened in February of this year, the possible merits and demerits of the NTS, were hotly debated.

Given all the possible pitfalls, Vicky Featherstone has steered a skilful course between the many obstacles she faced, and the new body is to be congratulated At the end of a year in which we saw such triumphs as Black Watch, Roam (pictured), Realism and Tutti Frutti only a curmudgeon would begrudge them an accolade, for their successes far outweigh their failings. But it isn’t just the shows that have been showcased - some of the acting talent Scotland has been rich in, as well, has been given a big stage to work on. Aside from those mentioned in our Top 100 in the features section, actors like Andrew Clark, John Kazek and Samantha Young, to name but three, have found new and auspicious stages on which to display their abundant talents.

Elsewhere, as well, it’s been a good year. At the Arches, the autumn season boasted the marvellous Spend a Penny, a tight and amazingly compelling series of monologues performed in a public bog, while over at the Citz, Tom Fool, which featured stunning performances and a play that, perhaps because of its politicality, created an electrifying effect that British audiences are seldom exposed to. These two alone will guarantee that the NTS won’t have it all their way at award time. But there are a couple of theatrical memories that will haunt me long after others in a strong year have faded. One, from visitors to these shores, New York company TEAM, whose Particularly in the Heartland seemed to point the way for future political theatre, was an experience never to forgotten. Also, a National Theatre project, working, but this time on the same small budget as TEAM, Home East Lothian from Catherine Wheels might course through the mind many years hence. One hopes for another year like 2006.

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