Michael Grunert and Thomas Behrend of Theaterlabor, Germany in the production of The Last Days of Mankind at Leith Theatre

Theatre reviews: The Last Days of Mankind, Leith Theatre | Puffin, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Yesterday, the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stood with the British royal family at the Cenotaph, during the centenary ceremonies for Armistice Day; but the fact that it has taken 73 years to achieve this simple gesture of reconciliation reminds us how easy it is for commemoration to become a one-sided affair, reflecting the same nationalistic assumptions that may have made war possible in the first place.

Simon Lipkin as 'Mr Poppy' in Nativity : The Musical

Theatre reviews: Nativity! | The Comedy About a Bank Robbery | We Interrupt This Programme

IF HIGH drama is what you’re after, then the school nativity play should be a fine place to start. As any teacher can tell you, pride, ambition, disappointment, fear and loathing all play their part in the average infants’ show; and back in 2009, the school nativity play was given the full showbiz treatment in Debbie Isitt’s film Nativity! a feel-good musical that has since given birth to two television sequels, hugely popular with both children and adults.

Nigel Planer is the rather stuffy Hugh Delavois, the perfect foil for Adrian Edmondson's Gary Savage,  ''a booze-soaked hell-raiser full of regrets. Picture: Nobby Clark

Theatre review: Vulcan 7, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

DO YOU remember the Icelandic volcano that erupted in 2010, grounding flights all over northern Europe? Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer, formerly of iconic 1980s television series The Young Ones, remember it too; and it’s on the unstable ice-cap of Eyjafjallajökull that they have set their new touring play Vulcan 7, playing briefly in Edinburgh this week.

Ross Noble

Comedy review: Ross Noble: El Hablador, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Appositely for this weekend, Ross Noble’s huge, inflatable backdrop and stage trappings have a Hispanic, Day of the Dead theme. Beyond a subtitled Spanish introduction, this is mere window dressing however, till a passing quip about Brexit prompts a belligerent audience member to ask why the Geordie comic didn’t do more to stop the Leave vote.

As the UK’s highest profile improvising comedian, Noble feeds productively off his crowds. And tonight’s is especially “lively” he maintains. Still, it’s a bewildering, even charged moment.

The Citizen of Nowhere festival will include a "Truth To Power Cafe" at the new V&A in Dundee

NTS to explore the social impact of the internet in new Citizen of Nowhere festival

It’s October 2018, an extreme right-winger called Jair Bolsonaro has just been elected President of Brazil with the help of a massive co-ordinated campaign on the Facebook-owned messaging site Whats App, and at his base in London the writer, thinker, curator and futurist William Galinsky is full of a sense of urgency. “People say that we’re living through something like the 1930s,” he says, “and of course there are parallels there. But fundamentally, I think this is more like the early 19th century – the moment when people realised that the huge technological disruption of the industrial revolution was literally going to change everything; communications, society, the way we do politics, everything.”

Gareth John Bale  as Nye and Louise Collins as Jennie in Nye and Jennie at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Theatre reviews: The Biscuit, Oran Mor, Glasgow | Nye & Jenny, The Studio, Edinburgh

As the British state faces its massive self-induced Brexit crisis, it’s perhaps not surprising that writers and theatre-makers should become increasingly interested in its history, and the inner life of its complex ruling elites.

Earlier this year, the Play, Pie And Pint season played host to Meghan Tyler’s sharp debut play The Persians, in which a Conservative government minister finds himself holed up for a long boozy night with a female SNP MP, and an implacable young representative of the DUP, brilliantly played by Tyler herself.

The main characters put in more than decent shifts, with Cheryl Campbell positively inspired PIC: Nobby Clark

Theatre review: Dracula, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

THERE was a time, I seem to recall, when Hallowe’en in Scotland was something more than a horror-movie spin-off; when ghoulies and ghosties were more home-spun, and people genuinely dooked for apples, or attempted to eat treacle scones hanging from a string.

Jason Byrne

Comedy review: Jason Byrne, Alhambra Theatre, ­Dunfermline

At 46, Jason Byrne’s assertion that he’s old enough to no longer censor himself, to say whatever he likes, seems redundant given that he’s hardly been the model of restraint in his stand-up career. Nevertheless he’s lately developed a crotchety irritation with modern parenting, angrily contrasting the cotton wool-enshrouded culture his kids are growing up with to the more old-fashioned approach of his parents.

A scene from The Unreturning by Anna Jordan

Theatre reviews: The Unreturning | King Keich

A METAL goods container spins and pauses on stage, offering a whole galaxy of shapes and possibilities. Sometimes the container forms a tunnel, sometimes a cliff, sometimes an ordinary room or a hospital ward. And as it changes, it reveals the figures of three men who never meet, because they live in different times; but 
all of whom are searching for a return to the same home town, Scarborough – a homecoming that proves painfully elusive.

The 306: Dusk

Theatre review: The 306: Dusk, Perth Theatre

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War, memorial events gather ever more intensely around us; and at the centre of the commemorations, so far as Scottish theatre is concerned, sits the final part of this great Perth Theatre/National Theatre of Scotland trilogy, The 306. The project is co-commissioned by the 14-18 Now Festival, the British government’s official commemoration body; but uniquely, this trilogy of shows by composer Gareth Williams and writer Oliver Emanuel is dedicated to the memory of the 306 lost British servicemen of the 1914-18 war who were shot at dawn, by their own side, for what was then called cowardice or desertion.

Brad Morrison, Helen Katamba and Michael Nardone in Macbeth

Theatre review: Macbeth, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Shakespeare says that Macbeth’s first encounter with the witches takes place on a “blasted heath”; but in this controversial production by National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, now on tour around the UK, the landscape - while certainly blasted by civil war - is not so much a heath as a lifeless grove of discarded plastic, with forests of black bin-bag material trailing from a dark sky. In a Macbeth full of powerful visual references to recent civil wars, Macbeth and his warriors appear in modern battle fatigues, with stab vests and camouflage jackets; and his lady, waiting for him at home in a concrete bunker, is in jeans and t-shirt, with a knife in her back pocket, against the dangers of a world where there is never any freedom from the threat of sudden violence.

Do's & Don'ts' - part of  Futureproof

Theatre review: NTS Futureproof, various venues

On the beach at Aberdeen, just after dark, a row of eleven small figures sits along the edge of the water, backs to the audience, gazing out to sea. To the south-east, a huge moon rises over the city; small waves lap up to the row of watchers and break, catching the light. The watchers wear long black coats and shoes, red stockings and hats, white scarves; these are the signature colours of Akhe Theatre, the avant-garde St Petersburg company with whom they’ve been working for the last two weeks, on creating this one-hour spectacle called Rewind Perspective.

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