Theatre reviews: The Night Watch, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh | Divided, Oran Mor, Glasgow

WITH Brexit in full swing, we hear plenty from various quarters about the mythology and meaning of the Second World War. Sarah Waters’ fine 2006 London novel The Night Watch, though, offers a counter-narrative to ordinary tales of wartime heroism followed by a happy-ever-after future; and despite a slight nostalgic softness around the edges of this Original Theatre touring production, Hattie Naylor’s stage version rarely flinches from the detail of Waters’ unsparing vision.

No-one is beyond reproach when An Inspector Calls, starring Liam Brennan.''Below: Louise McCarthy and Grant O'Rourke as con-artists Face and Subtle

Theatre reviews: The Alchemist, Tron Theatre, Glasgow | An Inspector Calls, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

LONDON at the turn of the 17th century; the dawn of modern capitalism, and the sudden emergence of a whole class of nouveau riche types awash with cash, and ripe for exploitation by urban chancers and scam-merchants. So it was that in 1610, the great satirist Ben Jonson sat down to write The Alchemist; an immensely cheeky and preposterous city comedy in which two con-artists called Face and Subtle - one a servant left in temporary charge of a big empty townhouse, and the other with a gift for assuming the pseudo-scientific airs of an alchemist about to turn base metal into gold – pocket piles of cash from a band of foolish clients who range from a witless young aristocrat eager to meet the fairy queen, to a pair of money-grubbing priests from the local church.

The cast of We Will Rock You

Theatre review: We Will Rock You, Playhouse, Edinburgh

MAMMA MIA!, seen at the Playhouse last month, may be the queen of tribute musicals; but We Will Rock You is the tribute musical of Queen, one of the best-loved rock bands of the last half-century, and 17 years on from its London premier, it too retains the power to pack the 3,000 seat Playhouse to the rafters.

ENDLING by Rob Heaslip PIC: John Devlin

Dance review: ENDLING, Tramway, Glasgow

Wrapped in white material, a wooden table and chairs sit expectantly on stage. There’s an instant sense of inbetween-ness, as we wonder if the furniture has already served its purpose. Does it no longer belong here? Or is this an arrival, the start of something new?

Liam Brennan in An Inspector Calls

Liam Brennan on An Inspector Calls: “I love the technical challenge of it”

At the time when JB Priestley wrote An Inspector Calls, towards the end of the Second World War, he was one of the most famous men in Britain. Born into a middle-class family in Bradford in 1894, he had served in the First World War, and went on to win huge acclaim as a writer, both for his early novels, and – in the 1930s – for a series of successful plays, from Dangerous Corner to Time And The Conways.

Fly Me To The Moon

Theatre review: Fly Me to the Moon, Oran Mor, Glasgow

In many ways, care workers are frontline troops in the battle over wealth, power and resources that is now raging in the UK, and some other western countries. Paid insulting poverty wages to do the arduous and vital job of caring for elderly people in their own homes, they carry on their shoulders the whole weight of a skewed economy that values planet-ravaging “wealth creation” above actual human care; and when brilliant Northern Irish playwright Marie Jones agreed to write a lunchtime play for A Play, a Pie and a Pint in 2010, it’s hardly surprising that she chose to focus on a story involving two harassed care workers, Loretta and Francis.

Lavery's monologue throws down a gauntlet to Scotland's racism

Theatre reviews: The Drift, Lemon Tree, Aberdeen | The Stornoway Way, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh | Annie, Playhouse, Edinburgh

DON’T expect theatrical fireworks from Hannah Lavery’s solo show The Drift, now on a short tour under the banner of the National Theatre of Scotland. Born of the world of poetry readings and serious spoken word, it is a quiet, meditative affair; and it badly needs a little more vocal dynamism and energy to give the text its full value in performance, even in a space as modest as the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen.

Mark Meadows as Lord Illingworth, Tim Gibson as Gerald Arbuthnot and Katy Stephens as Mrs Arbuthnot

Theatre review: A Woman of No Importance, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

IF you ever imagined that double standards in sexual morality were a thing of the past, then I guess the politics of the last three years might have been enough to dissuade you. The chances of a female politician with a Trump or Johnson-like private life being excused and indulged in the same way are minimal; and although much has changed in the 125 years since Oscar Wilde’s A Woman Of No Importance first opened in London, the fact that those changes have not gone far enough still give the play a stinging relevance to the times we live in.

Ben Elton PIC: Trevor Leighton

Comedy review: Ben Elton, Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow

Having impotently watched his father succumb to Alzheimer’s, Ben Elton is justifiably concerned about losing his wits in a world where so many of his former certainties are being overturned. But having raised his family in Australia, experiencing success and stinging criticism for his other creative endeavours, the loquacious 60-year-old “farty’s” return to stand-up with his first UK tour in 15 years is impressively vital, relevant and passionate.

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