Theatre review: Fat Blokes, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

For many of us it’s the last acceptable prejudice, the damning, shaming and marginalising of fat people; and as one of the Fat Blokes, Joe Spencer, points out during the show, it has also become a matter of class, with those who lack access to expensive healthy foods judged and dismissed as undisciplined no-hopers, entirely responsible for their own plight.

Scarlett Brookes and Matt Gavan in The Taming of the Shrew PIC: Mark Douet

Jo Clifford on making a Taming of the Shrew for the 21st century

In Cardiff, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The Stage called it “startlingly relevant,” for the Times it was “mischievous, knotty and impassioned,” and the Western Mail declared that it “transforms Shakespeare’s most chauvinist play into a feminist triumph.” And now, Jo Clifford’s new version of The Taming of the Shrew – with all the male characters transformed into women, and vice versa – is on its way to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, which co-produced the show with Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre.

Abigoliah Schamaun

Glasgow Comedy Festival reviews: Abigoliah Schamaun | Sean McLoughlin

Too painfully self-aware and skilful as comics to frame their identity struggles as typical millennial angst, early thirty-somethings Sean McLoughlin and Abigoliah Schamaun make their respective malaises seem idiosyncratic before arriving at broader conclusions about what they might mean for society. The demands of annually crafting a stand-up show of personal revelation with wider application naturally encourages a degree of contrivance. Even so, both of these acts at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival convince you of the significance of their personal epiphanies, eliciting considerable laughs from then exploring the bigger picture.

Ed Gamble PIC: Jane Hobson/REX/Shutterstock

Glasgow Comedy Festival review: Ed Gamble - Blizzard, The Stand, Glasgow

REJECTING an overriding narrative for six unrelated routines, Blizzard, in its tight, hour-long format, is the sort of show that might go unheralded at the Edinburgh Fringe, where hype and artistic pretension is everything. Out of that pressure cooker environment, however, Ed Gamble’s latest offering plays extremely well in a club setting.

Ishy Din's Approaching Empty has echoes of Arthur Miller, but with a faster, wittier sitcom style

Theatre review: Approaching Empty, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

It was chilly in the Roxy on Friday evening but not cold enough – even with a 20- minute interval – to drive away an audience held firmly in the grip of Ishy Din’s terrific new play, co-produced by Tamasha Theatre of London, the Kiln in Kilburn and Live Theatre, Newcastle.

Wendy Seager is in heart-rending form as a woman whose world is turned upside down

Theatre review: Coming Clean: Barbara, Oran Mor, Glasgow

WENDY Seager is one of Scotland’s finest actresses, quietly plying he trade mainly in theatre and in radio drama; but I have rarely seen her in such heart-rending and sometimes terrifying form as in this magnificent and disturbing new monologue by veteran playwright and screenwriter Alma Cullen, inspired by recent #metoo revelations of previously unreported sexual misconduct in high places.

Kira Malou as Baby and Michael O'Reilly as Johnny) in Dirty Dancing at the Festival Theatre

Theatre review: Dirty Dancing, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

PATRICK SWAYZE’S premature death in 2009, at only 57, may have robbed Hollywood of one of its best-loved stars; but a decade on, his legacy is still helping to shape this spring’s touring programme at the Festival Theatre, with last week’s version of Ghost - a story made famous by Swayze’s star performance in the 1990 film - followed this week by a swift visit from Dirty Dancing, the record-breaking stage musical based on the smash-hit 1987 film that made Swayze’s name, when he played handsome dance instructor Johnny Castle opposite Jennifer Grey’s “Baby” Houseman, the 1960s middle-class girl with radical principles whose liberal Dad somehow struggles to accept her holiday romance with working-class Johnny.

Lost in Music

Theatre review: Lost In Music, North Edinburgh Arts Centre

In an age that often seems lost in its own musical back-catalogue, there’s something strange and resonant about this powerful new 60-minute show, created by writer-director Nicholas Bone and composer Kim Moore with groups of young people from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Playwright Matthew Seager as Arthur and Angela Hardie as Jane in In Other Words

Theatre review: In Other Words, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Type the phrase “play about Alzheimer’s” into your search engine, and in seconds literally dozens of recent titles will appear, from the award-winning play and film Still Alice, to Linda Duncan McLaughlin’s memorable 2015 Scottish play Descent. One article lists nine recent well-known films dealing with the subject; and it’s safe to say that most of these dramas aim to remind people that Alzheimer’s sufferers, and those who care for them, are not “them” but “us”, not some distant demographic group, but ourselves, now or in a possible future.

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