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1 April 2015 The Guardian

The Straw Chair

By Sue Glover. A Borderline/Hirtle Theatre review.

SOMETIMES a playwright writes a character who is bigger than the play she inhabits. Without Rachel Chiesley, real-life wife of James Erskine, the 18th-century Lord Grange, Sue Glover’s 1988 drama The Straw Chair would be a historically interesting but theatrically unexceptional evocation of life on St Kilda. We’d see Aneas Seaton, a standard-issue minister clutching his Bible and taking offence at the islanders’ godless ways. We’d see his new wife, Isabel, who, for all her youth and naivety, has a keener instinct for injustice than her bookish husband. And we’d see Oona, the salt-of-the-earth local, more uncomplicatedly good than any of them, despite her pagan superstitions.


31 March 2015 The Guardian

And the Beat Goes On

By Stef Smith. A Random Accomplice/Perth Theatre review.

ENDA Walsh’s The Walworth Farce is about a family of Irish expats in London who react to a trauma by endlessly re-enacting a farce in their front room. There’s a similar idea in Stef Smith’s And the Beat Goes On, only in this case, Lily and Peter are Scottish expats in the US, whose response to a domestic tragedy is to spend every spare moment rehearsing the routines of Sonny and Cher. When we find them in their suburban garage, eight years after the event that has emotionally paralysed them, they have mastered 63 episodes of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, corny pre-divorce dialogue and all.


30 March 2015 The Guardian

Hedda Gabler

By Henrik Ibsen. A Royal Lyceum Theatre review.

HEDDA Gabler is like a dark inversion of Peer Gynt. Where the folkloric Gynt goes on an epic journey of self-discovery driven by an irrepressible life force, everything in Ibsen’s later play contrives to deny life and obstruct self-realisation.This is a play without a future: newly wed Hedda says she doesn’t want children; her thwarted lover, Eilbert Loevborg, loses the manuscript for his certain bestseller (ironically on the subject of the future), which he refers to as his baby; even Hedda’s ambitious husband, George Tesman, is trapped in an infantile relationship with his aunt and stuck in the arcane past of his academic studies.

28 March 2015 The Guardian

Kai Fischer on his new play Last Dream (On Earth)

Interview about the National Theatre of Scotland production

WHEN Kai Fischer heard the news, the first thing he did was phone work. Thinking on his feet, he told his boss he needed to take the next day off to see his brother. What he had in mind was something more ambitious. The word was out that Hungary had opened its borders to the West. Fischer did not hesitate before getting on the train. That was when he bid farewell to his East German home. This was the summer of 1989. After taking down the fence along the border with Austria, Hungary effectively paved the way for East Germans such as Fischer to escape to West Germany.


18 March 2015 Variety

New Director of Edinburgh Intl. Festival Debuts with Strong Theater Lineup

News piece about launch of EIF 2015. An Edinburgh International Festival preview.

THE new chief of the Edinburgh International Festival has announced a stellar theatrical lineup for his inaugural edition of the festival, with Robert Lepage, David Greig, Enda Walsh, Simon McBurney and Ivo van Hove (whose “Antigone,” pictured above, stars Juliette Binoche) among the 2300 artists from 39 nations that Fergus Linehan — previously of the Dublin Theater Festival, the Sydney Festival and Sydney Opera House — has invited to appear in the August event.

10 March 2015 The Guardian

Blood Wedding

By Lorca/David Ireland. A Dundee Rep/Derby Theatre/Graeae review

“THAT'S what life is: conflict, misery and pain,” says EJ Raymond as Agnes, the tragic matriarch, in Lorca’s classic. She’s a woman who has lost a husband and son in a knife attack and who fears she is about to lose her remaining son as he marries into the family of the killers. Her bleak worldview is justified. And it’s through Raymond that we see the greatest connection to Lorca’s spirit in this upbeat but lightweight Dundee/Derby/Graeae collaboration. David Ireland’s adaptation has more to do with Primark, Sky+ and Strictly Come Dancing than the oppressive heat of rural Andalucía, but this unsophisticated woman, plain-speaking and blunt, reminds us that the play is rooted in myth.



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