Review: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde Rating 85%

Review: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Two men stare from a balcony at eye height with myself in the Dress Circle at King’s Theatre. They speak fluttery Victorian prose against a shadowy backdrop of street lights and yellow window panes. It’s a strange opening because there’s no fanfare – the lights go down and it starts. From the off it’s apparent it’s a wordy play where your concentration is going to be required. I’m not sure what I expected, maybe something akin to a pantomime, with a rowdy Phil Daniels blurting out Parklife to get cheap laughs.

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Review: Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling Rating 80%

Review: Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling

Scottish Ballet’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling takes us to the urban back streets of Glasgow on the eve of a wedding. By ballet’s standards, the settings are gritty, although still a heavily sanitised, theatrically charming version of reality, that’s a far cry from actual tough and impoverished Scottish city life. James (Nicholas Shoesmith) and Effie (Roseanna Leney) are celebrating their upcoming nuptials in a rough and ready venue. Dance ensues: a mashup of contemporary, comic clubbing moves and a touch of the highland fling, an element reprised at the couple’s wedding reception the following day. Much is made of the comedy in this section, playing up the drunken behaviour of the revellers, achieving regular ripples of laughter from the audience along the way. It’s hard to emulate these kinds of goings on to a full orchestral soundscape, but here high brow meets low brow in a skilled and thoughtful way, under the careful direction and choreography of the master of ballet.

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Review: Locker Room Talk Rating 90%

Review: Locker Room Talk

Locker Room Talk is a very interesting piece of theatre. From a technical perspective, it’s good: well put together, well researched, well staged, well “scripted” and brilliantly acted. It’s an unusual concept in that the players are listening to real life conversations recorded by the inspired playwright Gary McNair, and voicing the parts as they hear them. It’s not spontaneous – they know which their bits are and it’s rehearsed and repeated nightly, but the effect of the listening and speaking makes for as close to spontaneity as any script is ever going to bring. What’s more, hearing those real voices seems to have a significant impact on the actors, who emulate the toxic lad banter they’re hearing uncannily well. It’s as if we are actually seeing and listening to these men, as we swiftly suspend our disbelief.

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Review: The Duke Rating 75%

Review: The Duke

As I file into Traverse 2, escaping from the dreary early April chill, an unexpected handshake and warm greeting from actor/playwright Shôn Dale-Jones welcomes me and every other audience member to his show as if we were mates coming round for a blether. It’s a conversational tone that will continue throughout the one-man performance, as Dale-Jones weaves a tale that blurs reality with fantasy, comedy with pathos, touching on subjects both tragic and mundane.

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Review: The Edinburgh Easter Play 2018 Rating 92%

Review: The Edinburgh Easter Play 2018

Although the Edinburgh Easter Play has been around since 2005, you could say it’s a bit overlooked. I recall how one year (I think when the tramworks on Princes Street were having a bank-holiday break) the aural impact of this open-air drama grabbed the attention of shoppers in a powerful way. Since our city’s main shopping street has a unique feature, it seems sensible to capitalise on a potentially captive audience.

But on the whole, events like this are sadly swamped by the irritating ding of trams, the rumble of buses, and the general hubbub of consumerism. Moreover, it was a hardy bunch who ventured into the chilly depths of Princes Street Gardens West on Holy Saturday, down by the railway line, nearby the dismantled Ross Fountain, under dreich, grey skies. Clearly, the weather wasn’t celebrating the season.

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Review: The Little Mermaid Rating 80%

Review: The Little Mermaid

Submerging into an aquatic world of mythical creatures is certainly the stuff of childhood dreams and here, The Northern Ballet brings an underwater journey theatrically to life. Don’t come expecting Disney – there’s no sign of Ariel or Ursula. Instead, this rendition is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s original version, so it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in this bittersweet retelling of the age-old yarn that pulls on the heart strings.

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Alice Malin: Winter Solstice is a darkly witty study of a family in crisis

Winter Solstice, a German play written by Roland Schimmelpfennig, will run at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh from 21st March until 24th March, directed by Alice Malin, starring David Beames, Kirsty Besterman, Felix Hayes, Gerald Kyd and Marian McLoughlin. Handling political and topical themes, it’s a significant one for the theatre’s programme.
Alice spoke with The Fountain about her decision to choose this play to direct and the joy of working with such a cast.

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Review: The Belle’s Stratagem Rating 93%

Review: The Belle’s Stratagem

The strength, and weakness, of theatre is that it’s a gamble. Often quite an extensive one if you find yourself gravitating towards the good stuff. So I’m just going to come out right off the back and tell you this one’s a sparkler. The material is great, the execution is spot on – it’s well-conceived, well-designed, and most importantly of all, it’s great fun.

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Review: The Last Bordello Rating 85%

Review: The Last Bordello

The decision by Creative Scotland to withdraw funding to twenty art organisations this year will be, for many, their death sentence. The process behind their decision has now been revealed as flawed and two members of their board have since resigned. The subsequent public outcry led to the reinstatement of funding to the two companies that worked with children, but there has been no reprieve for David Leddy’s Fire Exit theatre company. As a result, Fire Exit’s latest production The Last Bordello, may be its last.

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Review: The Weir Rating 80%

Review: The Weir

It’s hard to believe that Conor McPherson was just twenty-five when he wrote this modern classic. That was just over twenty years ago and the piece has continued to enthrall audiences ever since.

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Review: Cirque Beserk! Rating 65%

Review: Cirque Beserk!

There have been many circus acts to grace our stages in the last few years, but none as loyal to tradition as Cirque Beserk!. This is a real travelling circus (with its own dedicated circus school) comprised of over thirty performers from countries all over the world. Cirque Beserk succeeded in making the better known names look tame. What they arguably lacked in polish and shine; they more than made up for by the heart-stopping feats they undertook. The performers were defying death every other minute. No safety equipment was used bar one hair-raising sequence, which made for an out-of-breath thrilled audience. One particular performance from a hugely talented acrobat saw her suspended by just her neck – you’d need to see it to believe it.

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