Theatre to enjoy in Scotland this autumn
- Gareth K Vile
- 1 September 2017
Our pick of upcoming theatrical attractions in Glasgow and Edinburgh
While both Glasgow and Edinburgh's universities offer plenty of opportunities for participation – STAG in Glasgow and Bedlam in Edinburgh even have notable productions at the Edinburgh Fringe – the central belt has a rich performance culture for those who prefer to observe from the stalls. The autumn season is always the time that the theatres announce their intentions, crafting programmes that reflect their distinctive identities. Here's what's in store over the next few months.
Led by director Dominic Hill – known for his intellectual and imaginative direction of classic texts and currently celebrating a successful EIF run for The Oresteia adapted by Zinnie Harris – The Citizens is Glasgow's larger production house. In September, the venue hosts the National Theatre of Scotland's Adam (Wed 13) and Eve (Thu 14, with a double bill Fri 15 & Sat 16), two contrasting true stories of trans liberation: October sees the return of Gareth Nicholl's Trainspotting (Wed 18 Oct–Sat 11 Nov), which tells the familiar tale of drugs, male insecurity and Edinburgh's schemes in a way that both evokes the film and adds a new, visceral perspective.
Glasgow's other major production house, The Tron, celebrates its 35th anniversary with a visit from Rashdash's Two Man Show (Thu 28 & Fri 29 Sep). A wildly inventive consideration of 21st century masculinity, it's a five-star production that pushes the boundaries of theatrical invention and hits hard with some home truths about men and feminism. Then, to emphasise the theatre's history, the first artistic director Faynia Williams directs an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov (Thu 12–Sat 28 Oct).
Scottish Ballet tour across Scotland with Stravinsky, a selection of works including a radical new choreography of The Rite of Spring by artistic director Christopher Hampson. Scottish Ballet's attitude towards ballet – using its classical rigour but adding a contemporary edge – is expressed eloquently in this programme, which mixes and matches style and serious substance,
Under the direction of playwright David Greig, the Lyceum is shaking off its (admittedly unfair) reputation for 'safe' theatre to delve deeply into the history of politically engaged performance, with an immediate relevance. What Shadows (Thu 7–Sat 23 Sep) goes back to recent racist history, as Ian McDiarmid (off Star Wars, apparently) plays Enoch Powell, the MP who made the notorious 'rivers of blood' speech in the 1960s. When a student in the 1980s meets him, it opens up a conversation about how politics impacts on the personal. By October, however, Cockpit (Fri 6–Sat 28 Oct) goes back to 1945 and, through a clever manipulation of the entire theatre, examines how World War II redrew the map of Europe and threw its notion of boundaries into confusion.
The Edinburgh Festival Theatre begins September with an event cinema showing of Titus Andronicus (Fri 8 Sep) from the National Theatre in London: in spite of fears that the live broadcast of productions might undermine local companies, their success has allowed audiences in Scotland to enjoy some of London's top shows, both at the EFT and, over in Glasgow at the Glasgow Film Theatre. If Titus' blood and guts Shakespeare doesn't appeal, the arrival of Richard Alston Dance (Thu 21 Sep) brings the master of polite contemporary choreography to Scotland, and the musical Spamalot (Tue 26–Sat 30 Sep) ends the month with a song and a Pythonesque laugh.