Guardian 18 December 2013
ONE of the chief pleasures of Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner was the slowly dawning realisation that all was not as it seemed. As a reviewer, it seemed churlish to give away the game, but not to do so would have risked missing the point. (Spoiler alert: there are plans for an autumn 2014 tour, so you may wish to stop reading now.)
THE THREE framing arches of Jamie Harrison's set have a touch of the Looney Tunes logo about them. And there's a cartoon playfulness in the way he makes two spinning wheels suggest a bicycle, a fridge door suggest a kitchen, and a table-top globe suggest a geography lesson. But behind the clever transformations lies a darker theme. Dragon, a collaboration between Vox Motus, the National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin People's Art Theatre, is no Bugs Bunny caper but a serious study of emotional inarticulacy after a traumatic loss.
By Joe Corrie. A National Theatre of Scotland review.
TS ELIOT called him "the greatest Scots poet since Burns".Yet not only is Joe Corrie hardly a household name but, as a coal miner who wrote his best-known play during the general strike of 1926, he had little in common, politically or socially, with the author of The Waste Land. Eliot notwithstanding, Corrie was always coolly received by the establishment, which is why he dedicated the best part of his creative career – some 50 plays – to Scotland's amateur stage.
By Fiona J Mackenzie. A National Theatre of Scotland review.
LAST month in the Edinburgh international festival, the Bang on a Can All-Stars used field recordings as a jumping-off point for a series of modernist compositions. In most cases, the new scores were less interesting than the source material which, even worse, was exoticised in the process. No such complaint here in the Outer Hebrides, where singer Fiona J Mackenzie is evoking a living tradition of Gaelic song in a production by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Blas festival.
IN the year 2038, a researcher may hungrily pounce on this review as the last fragment of evidence about a show that took place in Glasgow in June 2013. But am I to be trusted? I may, for example, be like Keith Bruce of the Glasgow Herald, who wrote a review, seemingly published in the late 1980s, of an all-night performance in which a "few hardy souls É were rewarded with an experience none of us will forget". Except, everyone did forget. Today, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers Paul Bright and his adaptation of James Hogg's groundbreaking 1824 novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
By John Ajvide Lindqvist adapted by Jack Thorne. A National Theatre of Sctoland production
BUTTERFLY or moth? Swan or duck? Angel or vampire? The teenagers at the chilling heart of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel and its two film adaptations could go either way. They are at that formative point in adolescence, before their first kiss, when they are ripe with potential and burdened with uncertainty. The mysterious Eli, both youthful and ageless, is magnetically attractive yet neither male nor female. The mesmerised Oskar, eager to be moulded, thinks he would accept this erotic creature whatever its gender.
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