Theatre review: Twelfth Night

TO ANYONE who went to university in the early 1970s, there’s something eerily familiar about the opening scene of Wils Wilson’s new Lyceum production of Twelfth Night, co-produced with Bristol Old Vic. The big, old Edwardian or Victorian house that’s cheap because of its dilapidation, the crowds of young people bent on partying for days on end, and above all the clothes, from sharp business suits satirically worn, to wildly flared jeans, glittering platform shoes, and trailing dresses and kaftans worn with elaborate eye make-up, by both sexes.

The cast of Benidorm Live! embrace every British sitcom stereotype in the book with relish. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Theatre review: Benidorm Live! | The Lottery Ticket

TIMES are supposed to have moved on, in British popular culture, from the days when sex was a naughty holiday pastime conjured up in a McGill postcard, and homosexuality a joke patiently played out by John Inman in Are You Being Served; but sometimes, faced with the full-on showbiz energy of a show like Benidorm Live!, at the Playhouse this week, it’s possible to wonder whether the changes are much more than skin deep.

Wils Wilson with musical director Aly Macrae in rehearsals for Twelfth Night

Theatre interview: Director Wils Wilson on celebrating the “roughness” in Twelfth Night at the Royal Lyceum

In the main auditorium at the Lyceum, they’re taking a lunch break during technical rehearsals for Twelfth Night; and Wils Wilson slips out for a brief chat about her directing life, and her forthcoming production of what is perhaps Shakespeare’s most complex and melancholy comedy. She’s a slight, youthful-looking woman in her forties, now associate artist at the Lyceum, working alongside artistic director David Greig, and in the last couple of years she has moved her home base from her native Yorkshire to Lauder, just south of Edinburgh, where she lives with her two young sons.


Theatre review: Scotties, Tron, Glasgow

There’s something both ambitious and awkward about Theatre Gu Leor’s latest show, supported by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. It will delight those who care for Scotland’s Gaelic heritage, and probably irritate those who don’t. It asks audiences to listen to dialogue in at least three languages – Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and English – and provides no translation, doubtless raising the hackles of those who are not willing to follow the drama regardless; it will please those who want to hear and consider the truth about Scotland’s close and complex historic relationship with Ireland, and perhaps enrage those who would rather shut down the whole subject.

Dave Gorman

Comedy review: Dave Gorman, Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh

As consistently good as Dave Gorman’s television show Modern Life is Goodish was, the show’s ending after five years has an upside. Gorman has now returned to touring, and With Great Powerpoint Comes Great Responsibilitypoint retains much of the TV show’s format, with its investigative analysis of the unexamined everyday and the Powerpoint-style on-screen punchlines he originally developed live.

Brian Ferguson as Cyrano with Scott Mackie as Christian. PIC: John Devlin

Theatre review: Cyrano de Bergerac, Tramway, Glasgow

TO WATCH Dominic Hill’s new production of Cyrano de Bergerac in Tramway 1 is in some ways an unsettling experience, like approaching some giant, unruly and strangely glittering feature of the Scottish landscape. Co-produced with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Lyceum in Edinburgh, this is the Citizens’ Company’s first production since it moved house to make way for a three-year rebuilding programme; and in choosing to revive Edwin Morgan’s thrilling 1992 Scots version of Cyrano de Bergerac, Hill and his 14-strong company throw themselves with a passion into not one but two great arenas of Scottish cultural ferment and change – the Tramway space, and Morgan’s mighty text – and emerge slightly bloody, but triumphant.

A scene from Ovo PIC: John Phillips/Getty Images

Circus review: Cirque du Soleil - Ovo, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

“Those kiwis blew my mind.” A sentence I overheard as the throng of circus-goers poured out of the Hydro, and a sentiment not a million miles from my own. For the kiwis are indeed the stars of this show – or, more specifically, the group of female foot jugglers flinging the giant inflatable fruit into the air.


Theatre review: Nests, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Somewhere in a patch of scrubby woodland between the city and the countryside sits a wrecked caravan, with a middle-aged man asleep outside. A 12-year-old boy arrives on a bicycle, alone, hungry and lost; there’s also a crow, conjured up by beautiful outline animations on a few old television screens around the site, with which the lonely boy has struck up a friendship.

Katie Barnett, Christian Ortega  and Martin Quinn in Outside In

Theatre review: Outside In, Oran Mor, Glasgow

JAY is a timid lad who lives with his mum, and doesn’t go out much; not even to tackle the downstairs neighbour about the continuous meowing of his unhappy cat, or to buy a much-needed pint of milk. This quiet life takes a dramatic turn, though, when someone shoves a gun through Jay’s letterbox while his Mum is out working a late shift at Tesco; and the gun is followed in short order by Coco – a young amateur criminal put in charge of the shooter by some more serious local thugs – and by Coco’s favourite police officer, Kayleigh, who has been monitoring his antisocial behaviour for some time, but is now about to quit the force in a fit of existential despair.

Brian Ferguson in Cyrano de Bergerac

Theatre interview: Brian Ferguson on playing Cyrano at Tramway and the Lyceum

When Gerry Mulgrew staged Cyrano de Bergerac in the landmark Communicado production of 1992, he was lavish in his praise for what was then a brand new Edwin Morgan translation. The director said it reminded him of the Scotia Bar in Glasgow in the late 60s: “A great drinking and talking den, music and song and alcoholic breath bursting out of the snugs, lust and politics snaking their way round the bar, chimera and patter merchants and nutters six deep at the trough and at least half a dozen Cyrano de Bergeracs giving it lip all over the premises and out into the Saltmarket.”

Ann Louise Ross, Gary Mackay, Beth Marshall and Chiara Sparkes in The Yellow On The Broom. PIC: Tommy Ga-Ken Wa

Theatre review: The Yellow On The Broom, Dundee Rep

There are two elegies running side by side, in Anne Downie’s fine 1989 stage adaptation of Betsy Whyte’s magnificent autobiographical novel, first published in 1979. The first is an elegy for the travelling way of life into which Betsy Whyte was born in the 1930s, already threatened even then by the advancing tide of bureaucracy and urban development.

Like Betsy herself, her ­fictional heroine Bessie Townsley is an academically gifted girl; but even the demand that she go to school for more than one term a year is enough to threaten the ­traditional rhythm of a life that leads her, her beloved parents and huge extended family on a time-honoured annual round of Perthshire and the north-east, from tattie-howking near Perth to pearl-fishing on Speyside, and the grand gathering of the late summer berry-picking at Blairgowrie.

Artist and designer Pam Hogg Picture: Jamie Morgan at Serlin Associates

Interview: Pam Hogg

Pam Hogg has designed for everyone from Rihanna and Kylie to Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. She tells Janet Christie about her latest project, creating the costumes for the National Theatre of Scotland’s co-production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

The great Gerry Mulgrew elevates this too stereo-typical play

Theatre reviews: The Last Witch | Losing the Rag

IS THERE such a thing as a witch? More than a fifth of Americans apparently still think so; and the count was much higher in early 18th century Scotland, where Rona Munro sets her 2009 play The Last Witch, now revived at Pitlochry.

Load more
Get daily updates Sign Up X