National Library of Scotland exhibition preview
WE'RE standing in a storage room a few floors down in a secret corner of Edinburgh's National Library of Scotland. It's full of musty box files, metal shelving and neatly catalogued CDs. But that's not the whole story. In the middle of the low-ceilinged room, hanging from an empty shelf, there are two dresses in vibrant 1950s colours, and a regal off-white gown that could have been worn by Elizabeth I. There's even a ruff lying in a nearby plastic bag. Just along the row, Sally Harrower, the library's manuscripts curator, is running her hand over a gold lam kilt. "Alan Cumming," she says dreamily.
Feature about JM Barrie and Peter Pan.
PETER Pan might be the boy who wouldn't grow up, but he has no trouble proliferating. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the birth of JM Barrie, our appetite for the Kirriemuir writer's most famous creation appears to be insatiable. The boy from Neverland is everywhere.
By Duncan McLean. A National Theatre of Scotland review.
EVER since it started in 2006, Vicky Featherstone's National Theatre of Scotland has sought to redefine theatre. The company launched with a string of site-specific events in Aberdeen flats and Stornoway shops – and is now staging a show that is more country-and-western hoolie than conventional play. On an extensive Highland tour, Duncan McLean's Long Gone Lonesome is a curious hybrid of music and theatre that recalls the ceilidh spirit of John McGrath's The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil.
WITH not an Andalusian plain in sight, this House of Bernarda Alba is not exactly as Federico Garcia Lorca imagined it in 1936: it's less about pre-Franco oppression than post-credit-crunch neurosis. The closest we get to Spain is a Royal Doulton figurine of a flamenco dancer. And even that smashes on the plushly carpeted floor of Bernadette Alba's all-beige Glasgow living room as soon as the play begins.
The director on his National Theatre of Scotland preview.
DIRECTOR John Tiffany strides out of the disabled loo, backstage at the Citizens' Theatre, and proudly points to the toilet seat he has left standing upright. Just because he's working with a 12-strong female cast doesn't mean he's going to change the habit of a lifetime. They can put the seat down themselves.
22 April 2009 The Guardian
By Liz Lochhead/Dennis Kelly. National Theatre of Scotland review.
WHATEVER David Starkey may say about the feminisation of history, your average historical drama is a male-centred affair. That's why Liz Lochhead's 1987 classic stands out. It isn't merely that, in Mary and Elizabeth, she fields two regal women protagonists - after all, Schiller got there first in 1800 with Mary Stuart - it is that she sets loose a distinctively female sensibility on this tragedy about the rival queens of Scotland and England.
By Dennis Kelly. National Theatre of Scotland review.
WARNING! If your child is the sensitive type, the kind too delicate to watch Dr Who, then you should approach Our Teacher's a Troll with caution. For the monster in this National Theatre of Scotland production of Dennis Kelly's new play is truly frightening. Enormous, bulbous and ugly, with a voice just as unpleasant, he is enough to make anyone think twice before leaving the house, whether to the theatre, to school or wherever it is such foul creatures roam.
By Liz Lochhead. National Theatre of Scotland review.
IF you have seen a production of Liz Lochhead's historical drama, it almost certainly had the actors at one end of the room and the audience at the other. This revival by the National Theatre of Scotland, however, is different. Travelling the Highlands and Islands with its own purpose-built stage and seating unit, the NTS offers a very intimate insight by placing the audience on all four sides of the stage.
WE could be anywhere. On the other side of the car park is a Subway and a Pizza Hut. Over the roundabout, a 24-hour Tesco. Around the corner, a leisure centre. And everywhere, the endless flow of cars. Above all, stretching out into the distance, there are bland, modern houses: neat cubes with white garage doors, tidy patios and small windows.
IF Ian McDiarmid had set out to write a play about a priest accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, there's a strong likelihood it would have turned out like David Harrower's Blackbird or David Mamet's Oleanna.
21 January 2009 Variety
IT'S a tantalizing proposition: John Tiffany, helmer of the world-conquering Black Watch teaming with Ian McDiarmid, vet actor and former director of London's Almeida Theater, on an adaptation of an acclaimed novel by Andrew O'Hagan . If the results are not as explosive as that lineup portends, the National Theater of Scotland production of "Be Near Me" is nevertheless an absorbing, thoughtful drama, as befits a story of loneliness, self-deception and misplaced sexual desire. It also recalls the knotty theatrical arguments of Ibsen, Shaw or Miller
4 January 2009 Scotland on Sunday
IAN McDiarmid is the most reluctant of Hollywood stars. A more flighty actor would have taken offence when, at the red-carpet premiere of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 1999, none of the photographers knew who he was. But the Carnoustie-born psychology graduate laughed at the oversight. He couldn't blame them given that he was not wearing the prosthetic make-up that had transformed him into the dark lord Emperor Palpatine in 1983's Return Of The Jedi , and, in any case, McDiarmid revelled in his anonymity.
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