Liam Rudden: Lyceum aims for top Rankin with Dark Road

Have your say

EARLIER this month, you may recall I nipped down to London to see The Lamplighters, a thriller by the Godfather of tartan noir, Taggart creator Glenn Chandler.

It seems to have started a trend. Yesterday the Royal Lyceum announced that Rebus creator Ian Rankin is to write Dark Road with Mark Thomson, the opening play of their forthcoming season (read the story at

Developing work with such high profile writers from the worlds of TV and books is a surefire way of attracting new audiences to theatre. The Lamplighters proved incredibly popular and successful. I’m sure Dark Road will do too.

The Lyceum’s new season is an interesting one. Yes, the old pot-boilers are there. Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night doesn’t really constitute thinking outside the box, it’s a very safe choice, as is Noel Coward’s Private Lives. But both will keep sections of the Lyceum audience contented. Happily, there are risks too. That’s what makes the 2013/14 season exciting.

Of the rest, watch out for the timely Union by Tim Barrow, a boisterous new play which takes us through the bawdy taverns of Edinburgh’s Old Town through to the court of Queen Anne in England.

Local playwright Barrow says, “Before writing this play, I knew nothing about the Act of Union in 1707. When researching these incendiary times, an amazing cast of characters were uncovered.

“The events are incredible. Scottish MPs took money and titles to write their Parliament out of existence and their poverty-stricken, bankrupt citizens were left to struggle on as best they could.”

Another highlight will be Pressure by David Haig, which centres around Sir James Martin Stagg, the Scottish meteorologist who was charged by Eisenhower to set the date for the D-Day landings.

But it’ll be Rankin’s tale of Isobel McArthur, Lothian and Borders’ first female chief constable, haunted by the case of a serial killer 25 years earlier, that will prove the hit of the seaon I reckon.

Tickets go on sale in July.