Theatre review: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow

There’s no doubt that Eugene O’Neill’s great 1942 masterpiece is a family drama, par excellence. The entire action is set in the summer of 1912 in the living room of the Tyrone family’s shabby seaside cottage in Connecticut. The characters are the famous if ageing actor James, his wife Mary, their two sons Jamie and Edmund, and the maid of all work, Cathleen; and the play’s subject, explored relentlessly over more than three hours, is the fraught and increasingly impossible state of relations among the Tyrones.

George Anton and Kirsty Stuart in rehearsals for Gut. PIC: Mihaela Bodlovic

Theatre preview: Gut and Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths at the Traverse, Edinburgh and the Tron, Glasgow

It was back in 2016, just before he stepped down from the job, that former National Theatre of Scotland director Laurie Sansom decided it was time for the NTS to take action on one of the main problems facing playwrights in Scotland today. It had been clearly identified by arts consultant Christine Hamilton in a report for the Scottish Playwrights’ Studio and the Scottish Society of Playwrights, and it boiled down to this: that while there are currently plenty of opportunities for playwrights in Scotland to have their work performed in short and work-in-progress form, up to and including 50 minute shows at A Play, A Pie And A Pint, it seems increasingly difficult for emerging playwrights to step up to the intermediate stage beyond that, and to achieve their first medium-scale productions of full-length plays.

Benny Young and Joyce Falconer provide a real picture of the deceased Sandy

Theatre review: Eulogy | The Shadow of Heaven

GREAT matters of life, death and eternity loom large in both of these new shows just premiered in Scotland; but in Rob Drummond’s Eulogy, which arrives at the Traverse on Tuesday after its run at Oran Mor, they are handled with such lightness of touch –and such intermittently outrageous humour – that the audience is never in any danger of brooding too deeply on mortality.

Jo Nesbo, who has just revisited Macbeth in his latest book, is now working on his 12th Harry Hole novel. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown, at The Artesian Bar at The Langham, London.

Interview: Jo Nesbo

When best-selling crime writer Jo Nesbo was offered the chance to reimagine one of Shakespeare’s plays, he would only do it for Macbeth,

which he sets in an imaginary contemporary Scottish city awash with drugs, crime and corrupt cops. Interview by Janet Christie

John Hinton and Jo Eagle in The Element In The Room

Theatre reviews: Valentina’s Galaxy | The Element In The Room | Space Ape

Think of science, and it still tends to conjure up an image of clever men in white coats conducting experiments; or of brave men leading expeditions of discovery, whether to the rainforests, or to the moon. All that is beginning to change, though, as female scientists, explorers and astronauts make their voices heard; and it’s perhaps significant that this year’s Edinburgh International Science Festival commission, for a piece of children’s theatre, went to the Moray-based company Frozen Charlotte for their show Valentina’s Galaxy, inspired by the story of the world’s first-ever female space traveller, the Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who went into space in June 1963.

Margaret of Scotland at Oran Mor

Theatre review: Margaret Saves Scotland, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Out of the desert of silence in Scottish theatre about the two great issues of the hour - independence and Brexit - a brief blip of political comedy emerges, courtesy of the great crime novelist Val McDermid.

Brid Ni Neachtain as Mary Tyrone and George Costigan as James in rehearsals for Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Citz

Theatre preview: Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow

When Eugene O’Neill sat down to write what’s now recognised as his masterpiece, around 1941, he was already well over 50, and suffering from the health problems that would soon put an end to his writing life, a decade before his death in 1953. Long Day’s Journey Into Night therefore represents both his greatest work and his swan song, a play that contains within it a lifetime’s experience of family and escape from family, of ecstatic moments and profound disappointment, and of addiction and its impact.

Stephen Tompkinson, Nigel Havers and Denis Lawson performing in "Art" which will appear at Glasgow Theatre Royal on 13th and 14th April 2018

Theatre reviews: Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde | Richard III | Art

Although the story is set in London, there’s always a sense that the landscape of Victorian Edinburgh is somehow implicated in Robert Louis Stevenson’s great 1886 novella, The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; something to do with the story’s fierce Calvinist tension between grand houses and stinking vennels, do-goodery and hypocrisy, the strict suppression of matters sexual, and a thriving underworld of prostitution and sexual violence.

Theatre 2
Maeve and Libby perform in Mother's Ruin

How a gin themed cabaret is bringing Mother’s Ruin to life

Cabaret singer Maeve Marsden, who is touring Britain with her show Mother’s Ruin, shares some of her favourite gin tales and tipples

A 'bring your own baby' stand-up gig

How daytime stand-up comedy can help both mums and children

A daytime mother and baby comedy gig offers the chance for new parents to reclaim a bit of themselves, writes stand-up and mum Katie Mulgrew

A Play A Pie and A Pint'Oran Mor'This week at PPP is 'Rachel's Cousins' By Ann Marie Di Mambro.

Theatre reviews: Rachel’s Cousins | Little Light | Crazy for You

Fairy tales come in all shapes and sizes; and this week, the theatre scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh has been full of them. Ann Marie Di Mambro’s latest Play, Pie And Pint Show is a Glasgow tale about how female solidarity can trump even the deep class differences that divide the city; and if the conclusion seems a shade improbable – just get rid of the lying, cheating men in your life and live happily ever after – there’s plenty to enjoy along the way, in a fast-moving script from one of Scotland’s most experienced stage and television writers.

The Rebirth of a Brand best known as Russell

The Rebirth of a Brand best known as Russell

AS stand-up comedian Russell Brand returns to the Playhouse on 10 April with his Re:Birth Tour, he’s keen to explain the choice of name.

Torvill and Dean ahead of their upcoming Dancing On Ice Live UK tour Picture: John Devlin.

Interview: Torvill and Dean

A resurgence in the popularity of ice skating has ensured Olympic duo Torvill and Dean are in more demand than ever. They talk TV, the Dancing on Ice live tour and, of course, Bolero, writes @JanetChristie2. Portrait by John Devlin

John Byrne was named most stylish male at Kelvingrove gallery in Glasgow.

Artist and playwright John Byrne named Scotland’s most stylish man

John Byrne, the celebrated artist and writer, has been named Scotland’s most stylish man at the age of 78.
Shon Dale-Jones in The Duke PIC: Brian Roberts

Theatre interview: Shôn Dale-Jones on touring shows The Duke and Me and Robin Hood

There’s a phrase that crops up often at the moment, around the echoing halls of social media; “check your privilege”, it says, to anyone living a fairly comfortable western life, who might be tempted to feel hard done by. If there’s one person in that category who never seems to need reminding of his privilege, though, it’s the writer and performer Shôn Dale-Jones, whose remarkable monologue The Duke appears next week at the Traverse Theatre, after a Scotsman Fringe First-winning run at the Edinburgh Festival of 2016. The Duke tells the semi-autobiographical tale of Shôn, his mum, and their complex relationship with a china figure of the Duke of Wellington that his late Dad bought, cherished, and kept in a shoe-box under the bed; these days, The Duke also has a touring companion in the shape of Shôn’s 2017 show Me And Robin Hood, which he performs in Perth this weekend.

Edgar Wallace's The Case of the Frightened Lady

Theatre review: The Case of the Frightened Lady

ACCORDING to a programme note to this latest touring production from Bill Kenwright’s Classic Thriller Company, Edgar Wallace is the king of the modern thriller; but if this ineffably wooden and ridiculous staging of his 1920s play The Case Of The Frightened Lady is any guide, the entire genre may have been lucky to survive his attentions at all.

This week at A Play, A Pie and A Pint we have McGonagall's Chronicles by Gary McNair.

A man of terrible rhymes but recognisable for all time


A scene from last year's Easter play

Edinburgh Easter Play gives voice to rarely heard Bible figures

Do we have a new script tonight?” someone asks, as the actors arrive for rehearsals for the Edinburgh Easter Play. The annual Passion Play, performed in Princes Street Gardens on Easter weekend, has become an important fixture in the city. But this year, there’s a twist: it’s still being written.

News 3
A scene from This House by James Graham, coming to the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, from 27-31 March

Theatre preview: Playwright James Graham on political drama This House

It’s remarkable how often a profound historical shift can depend on a knife-edge decision, one that could so easily – or so it seems – have gone the other way. Think of the few thousand disputed Florida ballot papers that saw George W Bush become US president in 2000, or Britain’s wafer-thin 2016 majority for Brexit. And back in 1979, one of those moments shook Britain, when James Callaghan’s Labour government was defeated in a parliamentary vote of no confidence by just one vote, opening the way for the general election that saw Margaret Thatcher elected Prime Minister, and changed the course of British politics for good.

Theatre 1
Joseph Arkley's Richard is terrific, a frighteningly clever and relentless character who will stop at nothing for power

Theatre review: Richard III

THE last time I saw Richard III – in Thomas Ostermeier’s version at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival – he was played by Lars Eidinger, a remarkable actor who had done time as a DJ, among other work in the entertainment industry; and if Joseph Arkley’s terrific performance in the same role at Perth Theatre is any guide, then we could be in for a whole generation of Richards influenced more by the powerful, complicit energy of stand-up comedy, and hard-edged musical performance, than by memories of Laurence Olivier, or even of Antony Sher.

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