Review: Swan Lake Rating 95%

Review: Swan Lake

My knowledge of ballet begins and ends with an episode of The Goodies where football hooliganism has got so bad that it is banned and all the fans turn to ballet instead. The episode features Wayne Sleep and, nostalgia withstanding, was hilarious and its final scenes contained moments from Swan Lake where ballet hooligans became incensed by the performance.

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Review: Calendar Girls Rating 90%

Review: Calendar Girls

There’s a particular joy to be found in films, TV and theatre pieces that celebrate the relationships, determination and humour of womankind. Calendar Girls captures the essence of this with gusto and alacrity. Its upbeat, yet poignant portrayal of a bunch of WI members experiencing life beyond youth, brings us fun and laughter, but importantly, a sense of hope and worth.

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Review: Rebus, Long Shadows Rating 60%

Review: Rebus, Long Shadows

Rebus: Long Shadows hit the news this week. A new incarnation of the Rebus story from local and internationally famed writer Ian Rankin, was bound to attract some attention – along with a loyal fan base. But it was when the lead actor and star draw, Charles Lawson (previously of Coronation Street), took ill and had to leave the stage during the press night, that the drama got real. It was understudy Neil McKinven who finished the show that night and played the title role throughout. On the night I was in, (the following one) McKinven’s valiant performance would have been barely distinguishable as a last minute swap-in, were it not for the script in his hand and subtley referred to, for the last quarter of the piece. A classically trained actor (RADA no less), McKinven certainly impressed as a realistic and authentic Rebus, despite the huge strain of being thrust into quite such a bright limelight, so soon into a run.

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Review: The Macbeths Rating 81%

Review: The Macbeths

Dominic Hill is known in theatre circles for stripping down the set of a play, making it about the relationship between not only the characters but also that between the cast and audience. Succeeding in previously secreting a voyeuristic feeling with his critically acclaimed production, The Libertine, am I surprised to walk out of the Paisley Arts Centre feeling violated, affected, almost like the madness of The Macbeths has projected onto me? Not really. Having already re-interpreted the play in 2017, it is interesting to note that this time Dominic has replaced Keith Fleming as Macbeth with Lucianne McEvoy, making it an all-female cast for this new incarnation of the Scottish Shakespearian play.

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Michael Pedersen & Bréon Rydell: It was captivating, mesmerizing, enchanting, heartbreaking and beautiful in one poetic whirl

The Neu! Reekie! lads are at it again, this time in the co-production of the play, It Is Easy To Be Dead, bringing Charles Hamilton Sorley back to his home to Aberdeen, namely The Tivoli Theatre. Working with Bréon Rydell, Michael Pedersen will give a taster tonight at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh with guest performer songstress Rachel Sermanni lulling the audience into a haunting atmos, offering an entertaining event. 

Both Bréon (BR) and Michael (MP) spoke with The Fountain about how this production came about and what inspired the collaboration.

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Denise Welch: I’ve never done a show that has as much impact on an audience

Award-winning musical, Calendar Girls, written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow, will soon be in Edinburgh, at Festival Theatre on Tuesday, running until 13th October. Starring Denise Welch, Fern Britton, Anna-Jane Casey, Ruth Madoc, Sara Crowe, Karen Dunbar and Rebecca Storm, it not only boasts the writing talent.
Denise Welch spoke with The Fountain about how she came to be in Calendar Girls and told us more about her character, Celia.

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Review: Twelfth Night Rating 90%

Review: Twelfth Night

The scene for this incarnation of Twelfth Night (a joint venture by the superpowers of the Edinburgh Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic), looks like an imagined interpretation of a house party at George Harrison’s in the seventies. There’s a sense of hedonism, in a gentle hippy way, as the characters drink, dance, sing and play (for music is the food of love don’t ya know?). There’s a distinctly odd feel to proceedings aided by the psychedelic-meets-medieval tunes played on a range of both ubiquitous and obscure instruments. The costumes too are deliciously strange, incorporating glam rock, woodstock, power suits and a whole lot of sequins. The stunning and creative set design makes use of two fireman’s poles connecting the mansion set’s upper level with the main stage, a ladder connecting the Royal Box and a hole in the set wall from which various actors emerge. It’s multifaceted, layered and a visual feast – even without anyone uttering a word.

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Kinky Boots Comes To Edinburgh

It’s an Olivier award winning hit musical. It has dazzled audiences internationally and has been running in the West End of London for years. It features songs by Grammy and Tony award winning artist Cyndi Lauper. And now Kinky Boots comes to Edinburgh, in all of its glamorous glory.

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Review: Huff, Fringe 2018 Rating 84%

Review: Huff, Fringe 2018

My usual practice when reviewing theatre or film is to read as little as possible about the work beforehand, and I take little heed of ‘content warnings’ – after all, art is supposed to disturb the comfortable, and comfort the disturbed. Since my choice of Fringe performances came exclusively from Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award long-list, I knew that most would be of good quality, but also, potentially tough material. Huff was no exception.

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Review: Eglantyne, Fringe 2018 Rating 89%

Review: Eglantyne, Fringe 2018

Richard Holloway’s book On Forgiveness ends by relating Winston Churchill’s reaction at the end of World War 1, which was to propose rushing a dozen ships crammed with provisions to aid the fallen foe. This proposal was coldly rejected. Holloway goes on to describe the reaction of a German soldier who, appalled at the lack of mercy shown to his broken country, resolved to go into politics.

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Review: Egg, Fringe 2018 Rating 91%

Review: Egg, Fringe 2018

Since all my Fringe reviews are taken from Amnesty’s Freedom of Expression Award long-list, I observed Egg (and to a lesser extent, Rainbow Baby) wondering how the show’s themes matched those of Amnesty International. The ‘right to bear children’ is a curious notion in an over-populated world. Yet with IVF-treatment still in relative infancy (excuse the pun) the last forty years have thrown up many ethical questions.

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