Review: Million Dollar Quartet

Million Dollar Quartet tells the true story of the legendary night in 1956, on which Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all found themselves at Sun Records, the label which launched all their careers. The entire show takes place on the same set, unusual for high-end musicals, but entirely suitable for this. The set does change with lighting, while “outdoor” scenes take place in the foreground, but it’s the music and performances that are the focus and the detailed design certainly makes us feel as if we’re there.   

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Review: Hysteria! – A Play, A Pie and A Pint

The subject of Hysteria!, the play written by AJ Taudevin and directed by Clare Duffy, is most appropriately timed given the current publicity surrounding the behaviour of Harvey Weinstein. Everybody’s talking about it, broadcasting about it and hashtagging it – not that it’s especially new news, coming on the back of similar revelations surrounding the leader of the free world. This production was indeed partly inspired by the US election results, and is a collaboration between experts in both theatre making and the field of mental health which seeks to explore the impact of sexism on mental wellbeing. It’s not always a clear picture that emerges from this play however, which darts around in a manner that’s sometimes difficult to follow.

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Review: Jury Play

Learning by experience is arguably the best way to understand. Here Grid Iron in association with the Traverse Theatre, give us the opportunity to see, hear and feel a murder trail through the eyes of a jury.  I’ve seen Making a Murderer and watched bits of Oscar Pistorius’ lengthy court drama and I like many others believed the business of a murder trial to be gripping and fascinating. Not so, for we soon discover in this production that a high court trial is an interminably dull affair. As a staged piece it has to be clever though, to walk us through the essence of the tediousness involved, while still being entertaining. Director Ben Harrison and legal expert and writer Dr Jenny Scott ensure that this happens, simultaneously raising questions, exploring areas for change, presenting the reality of jurors’ journeys and making us laugh – a lot more than you’d expect with so much talk of murder.

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Review: Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard in its musical theatre form first saw the light of day at the Sydmonton Festival in 1991. Andrew Lloyd Webber had long used the private festival in the grounds of his home, to test the viability of new shows, before a private audience of theatre and media bigwigs. This might seem irrelevant information twenty-six years on, but in this incarnation of Sunset Boulevard it’s highly relevant – the actress who played the role of silent movie star Norma Desmond, was the relatively obscure Ria Jones.

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Review: Pleading – A Play, A Pie and A Pint

A Play, A Pie and A Pint is back after its summer hiatus. For those not formula with the format, it’s fairly self-explanatory. If you do find yourself running late for the start, your pie and pint (or wine or soft drink) will still be available at the end. The Traverse Bar is a great place to hang out, so a pie and drink before or after adds to the experience and offers a cultural alternative for city workers’ lunch breaks.  

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