Theatre, Kirstin Innes

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Scottish Ballet tackle A Streetcar Named Desire

21 Mar 2012

Behind the scenes at new ballet based on Tennessee Williams play

Stanley Kowalski eases his muscles in around the thin body of the woman who will become his wife. Flirting with her, he pulls her handbag from her lap, wears it on one casually extended foot, a powerful, teasing predator. Behind her eyes, a light…

The Hot 100 2011: 100-50

16 Dec 2011

The definitive list of Scottish creative talent

100: Gordon Ferris. Kilmarnock crime author makes good. The already packed Scottish crime writing field has finally found a bit of elbow room for another burgeoning talent. Joining the likes of Rankin, Brookmyre, McDermid and co is this Ayrshire-born…

Hot 100 2011 - No. 49 to 1

16 Dec 2011

The definitive list of Scottish creative talent

The Hot 100 is the definitive list of Scottish creative talent. From fashion designers to performance artists, everyone who has made a sizeable splash in 2011 has a place in this countdown. It’s for people who’ve created a buzz, but it’s also about…


19 Aug 20113 stars

Paranoid Orwellian bureaucracy has comically sinister effect

A paranoid story of Orwellian bureaucracy played for comically sinister effect, this short piece feels unfinished. We’re introduced to two officers from the Witness Protection Programme, going about their daily business in a warehouse; the boredom, the…

The Translator's Dilemma

17 Aug 20113 stars

Dark, taut work about industrial negligence

Plays designed to educate the audience about a particular issue often just come off as lectures, so it was clever of new playwright Jessica Philippi, who also takes on most of the burden of performing, to actually set her piece about the appalling…

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Alternative Fringe hubs: The Forest Cafe

17 Aug 2011

Edinburgh's soon-to-be dearly-departed hippy haven

Name: The Forest Café Occupation: Leader of the resistance, home of Edinburgh’s true creative spirit. Resembles: A glorious, shambolic cluster of plants, art, rugs, hippies and graffiti, spread across several rooms. What’s on there, then?

Tea with Queenie

16 Aug 20113 stars

Very moving tragic-comic piece for three people, including tea and cake

This tiny-audienced show (Queenie can take a maximum of three for tea) takes you right into the messy home and mindset of an old lady who lives by herself. There’s no getting away, no matter how uncomfortable she makes you. Although it could benefit…

4.3 Miles From Nowhere

14 Aug 20113 stars

Good performances and brilliant live folk band but no dramatic stakes

Young company Fine Chisel claim A Winter’s Tale as an influence on their Fringe debut, although with two sets of teenage lovers and a Puckish meddler lost in the woods, A Midsummer Night’s Dream also looms large. There are absolutely no dramatic stakes…


11 Aug 20113 stars

Ontroerend Goed slip out of the major league with cynical show

Audience opens with an informal talk from cast member Maria, about what it means to be in an audience. You’re not really supposed to talk; you need to clap at the end. We chuckle appreciatively. The joke is that of course we know this. We’re not just…

The Girl With The Iron Claws

11 Aug 20114 stars

A fairytale for grown-ups

Taking as their starting point a Nordic myth that clearly shares some of its roots with Beauty and the Beast, The Wrong Crowd weave a subtle, dark fairytale about an independent-minded princess who falls in love with a bear (of course, he’s really a…

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Alma Mater

8 Aug 20114 stars

Immersive, lovely look at childhood innocence and loss

There’s been so much recent chatter about the use of digital technology in theatre that you can practically hear the inevitable Luddite backlash grinding up already: don’t let ‘em drown out this tiny, beautiful ghost story. Using – at face value – just…

Dance Marathon

8 Aug 20113 stars

Sweat-slicked endurance test

At three hours in, the fatigue has begun to show. As per the First Rule of Dance Marathon, we’re all still moving our feet constantly, but it’s descended to a listless, obedient shuffling. A room full of sweating strangers, inhibitions completely lost…

Mission Drift

8 Aug 20114 stars

The TEAM achieve the huge, soaring size of their ambitions

The TEAM (Theatre of the Emerging American Moment) don’t deal in the small. Since their Fringe debut in 2005 with the Richard Nixon-fixated solo Give Up! Start Over!, their chaotic, rambunctiously-expressed subject matter has been myth-making factory of…


8 Aug 20114 stars

Extraordinary true-life tale

It’s easiest to just come out and say it: when Martin Figura was nine, his father killed his mother. Almost 50 years later, Martin’s on stage in front of us, still overwhelmed at times, but working through things; almost as a by-product, it seems, he’s…

Federer Vs Murray

29 Jul 2011

Gerda Stevenson’s play about conflict gets timely revival at 2011 Edinburgh Fringe

‘You don’t often get a chance to do something over again in theatre,’ says Gerda Stevenson, ‘to go back, once you know the text and feel comfortable with it. It’s a great opportunity.’ Stevenson’s play Federer versus Murray originally ran for a week…

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Dance Marathon - Edinburgh show where audience provides the action

28 Jul 2011

3-hour long participatory show inspired by They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

It’s over three hours long, inspired by that celluloid study of Depression-era desperation They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, and you, the audience, provide the majority of the action. Doesn’t sound like a great night out on the surface, but Dance…

The Edinburgh Festival 2011 shows creating new kinds of audience interaction

26 Jul 2011

Are you sitting comfortably? Not for long

Oh Fringe audience, you poor, beleaguered souls. Herded in and out of cramped venues, besieged by flyer-happy teenagers and bankrupted by increasingly stretched ticket prices, now you also have to provide the entertainment. Terrible, isn’t it? This…

Election night entertainment - Unholyrood, Welcome to the Hotel Caledonia and Mayfesto: It's a Dead Liberty!

13 Apr 2011

Perhaps injustices tend to hit harder when they’re closer to home; perhaps there’s just more meat; but periods of Tory government do tend to galvanize our satirists and create new relevance for political theatre. You may have noticed stirrings…

Charles Dyer’s 1966 play Staircase

7 Mar 20113 stars

Mutual and self-loathing between two ageing gay lovers

There are a number of very good reasons for resurrecting Charles Dyer’s 1966 play, foremost of which is his control of language. Under Dyer’s pen, the plain tics and disappointments of everyday speech become poetic and lovely. To an extent this is very…

New production Girl X tackles ethics of Ashley X disability case

24 Feb 2011

National Theatre of Scotland’s hard-hitting new play at Traverse

About four years ago, performer and disability rights activist Robert Softley came to the National Theatre of Scotland with an unusual proposition. He’d been following the case of Ashley X, a pre-pubescent disabled girl in the US whose parents filed an…

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The Age of Arousal examines of a key period for feminism

16 Feb 2011

Stellar Quines’ newest production at Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Stellar Quines’ newest production is at once a contemporary and a historical examination of a key period for feminism. Kirstin Innes talks sensuality with director Muriel Romanes.

The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart gives a voice to the Borders

26 Jan 2011

The National Theatre of Scotland focuses on traditional Scottish pieces this season

The National Theatre of Scotland’s just-announced season feels even more particularly Scottish than usual this year, with a number of pieces tapping into old traditions. Alongside the exciting looking revivals of classics like Knives in Hens and Men…

The Hot 100 2010 - Mark Millar, Kevin Bridges and Alasdair Gray take top 3 spots

16 Dec 2010

Our annual chart of the top creatives in Scotland

The Hot 100 is a list of Scots who’ve made a sizeable creative splash in 2010. It includes musicians, artists, writers, actors, fashion designers, technological innovators, shop owners, festival directors, record label heads and one mad cyclist.

How seven key figures in Scottish culture have fared over 25 years

23 Sep 2010

25 years of The List

Didn’t they do well? Scotland has more than its fair share of talent, finds Kirstin Innes, as she chronicles the highs and lows of some of our finest exports over 25 years, including Peter Capaldi, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin, Douglas Gordon, Tilda…

The Man Who Fed Butterflies

7 Sep 20102 stars

Sporadically phenomenal spectacle lacks magic of theatre

Something Pixar, with their melange of spacemen, rat and sea creature protagonists, seem to have worked out fairly early on in the game is that it’s very difficult to emphathise with a CGI human face. The reason the human characters in the Toy Story…