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by Mark Fisher

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British Theatre Guide

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With a foreword by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune




12 Dec 2017 The Guardian

How to Disappear

By Morna Pearson. A Traverse Theatre review.

IMAGINE the dysfunctional world of Buried Child by Sam Shepard or Killer Joe by Tracy Letts, but for backwoods America substitute the farther reaches of north-east Scotland. This is the territory playwright Morna Pearson has claimed as her own. In plays such as The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, she has looked with grim humour on the socially excluded, observing the damage to vulnerable children caused by drug-addicted mothers, absent fathers and abusive adults. So it is in How to Disappear, where the school-age Isla has become the primary carer for her agoraphobic big brother Robert after the death of their mother and departure of their father. In an airless Elgin bedroom, realised rather too literally by Becky Minto’s boxed-in set, Isla finds refuge from her bullying classmates while Robert maintains a neurotic schedule centred on the broadcast times of Neighbours and the feeding schedule of his pet tarantulas.

CINDERELLAAllanStewartasFairyMayandAndyGrayasButtonsPhotobyDouglasRobertson10 Dec 2017 The Guardian

Hiss, boo and no celebrity wannabes: Scotland's panto is the real thing

Round-up of pantos at King's Edinburgh, King's Glasgow, Perth Theatre and MacRobert, Stirling.

CINDERELLA is trying to remember where she’s seen Fairy May before. “I used to be on the TV,” prompts Allan Stewart’s Fairy Godmother. “Yes, when it was in black and white,” chips in Buttons. The joke is funny not just for being rude about Fairy May’s age, but because it’s close to being true. The last time Stewart was a small-screen regular was in the 1980s, when he starred in a run of ITV light-entertainment shows such as Copy Cats and Chain Letters. That speaks volumes not only about the success of this, the Edinburgh King’s panto, but of pantomimes across Scotland.RehannaMacdonaldPhotocreditTommyGaKenWan1

3 Dec 2017 The Guardian

The Arabian Nights

By Suhayla El-Bushra. A Royal Lyceum Theatre review.

THESE days nobody from the US president down can distinguish between real and fake. So it makes sense that in tackling The Arabian Nights, that great story about stories, playwright Suhayla El-Bushra asks why it is that we tell tales. Her Scheherazade, played with dynamism by Rehanna MacDonald, is the daughter of a storyteller, a magnetic Neshla Caplan, who prefers stories that moralise to those that entertain. For Scheherazade, by contrast, the more fantastical the tale, the better. “There is a difference between a story and a lie,” her mother warns before launching into a cautionary tale about fibbing.


27 Sep 2017 The Guardian

Drinking and thinking: raise a glass to Glasgow's plays, pies and pints

A Play, a Pie and a Pint review feature

IT defies all the rules of theatre marketing. Scarcely past midday on a Monday lunchtime, a full 45 minutes before curtain up, the queue for the box office is already snaking on to the road. Inside Òran Mór, a spacious pub-cum-performance venue in Glasgow’s West End, the line of ticket holders is even longer. They are here for A Play, a Pie and a Pint, a lunchtime series launched by David MacLennan in 2004 and not so much a success as a phenomenon. Nobody could have predicted its popularity back then, but today is typical. They line up like this six days a week for 40 plays a year (plus summer and winter pantomimes), almost all of them new with just a handful of classical adaptations. The tally to date is in excess of 400, making A Play, a Pie and a Pint a bedrock of the Scottish theatre industry.









by Mark Fisher

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