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by Mark Fisher

"A perfect introduction to what could be a lifetime of pleasure"
British Theatre Guide

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With a foreword by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune





28 April 2016 The Guardian

Dance of Death

By August Strindberg/Frances Poet. A Citizens Theatre review.

THE first part of August Strindberg’s 1900 play is a blueprint for some of the cornerstones of 20th-century drama. In trapping three characters on an isolated island, it is like Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos in which hell turns out to be other people. In its portrayal of a 25-year-old marriage of two imposing personalities who are addicted to each other’s bile, it foreshadows Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And in its vision of a couple’s cruel interdependence, it sets the pace for much of the work of Samuel Beckett. All of which adds to the claustrophobic edge of Candice Edmunds’s tightly choreographed studio production, performed at close quarters on the driftwood floorboards of Graham McLaren’s set.


26 April 2016 The Guardian

The Iliad

By Chris Hannan. A Royal Lyceum Theatre review.

THE great thing about the Greek gods is they’re more petty than people. Unlike the wise and benevolent figureheads of monotheistic tradition, this lot are whimsical, contrary and cantankerous. Redrawn by Chris Hannan in his taut and gripping dramatisation of Homer’s sprawling epic, they’re louche and decadent, while the mortals are fierce and driven. You wouldn’t want to rely on their mercy. Take Hera. Played by a radiant Emmanuella Cole, she’s a Machiavellian shape-shifter with a hatred of the Trojans and a grudge against her fellow immortals. If Cole weren’t so compelling, you’d think her small-minded and vindictive. As it is, you sympathise with a woman – god or not – who is propelled by forces beyond her control.


14 April 2016 The Guardian

Squaddies, goblins and sex with Macbeth: 10 years of the National Theatre of Scotland

A National Theatre of Scotland retrospective

THERE had been talk of a Scottish national theatre since the early 19th century, so it was with considerable weight of expectation that Vicky Featherstone launched her self-styled “theatre without walls” 10 years ago. She did so in a way that would define its maverick spirit. Not with red carpets, classic texts and theatrical grandees, but with 10 site-specific performances around the country on the same weekend. I saw amateur actors on a ferry in Lerwick, domestic drama in an Aberdeen council flat, a first minister’s question time written by schoolchildren and abseiling actors scaling down a Glasgow tower block. The National Theatre of Scotland had arrived.


16 February 2016 The Guardian

The James Plays

By Rona Munro. An NTS/National Theatre/EIF review

THERE'S a tremendous scene in the final part of Rona Munro’s trilogy about the 15th century in which a narcissistic James III of Scotland (Matthew Pidgeon) gives his estranged wife, the Margaret of Denmark (Malin Crépin), a full-length mirror. He hopes she’ll look into this novel Italian import and see herself as she really is. Queen Margaret does exactly that but, to his dismay, she rather likes what she sees. It’s an exchange that could stand for the whole of this historical epic, which starts in 1406, when James I became Scotland’s king in exile, and ends in 1488 and the death of James III.


21 December 2015 The Guardian

Mark Fisher’s top 10 theatre of 2015

1. 887, Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) This summer, I was lucky to get two bites of primetime Robert Lepage. The first was in Toronto, where the Québécois director’s updated revival of Needles and Opium began a tour that will reach the Barbican, London, in July. The dreamlike fantasy linking the lives of Jean Cocteau and Miles Davis was originally performed in 1991 by Lepage himself. It now stars Marc Labrèche and Wellesley Robertson III, who navigate through the windows and trap doors of a rotating cube to tell a story that crosses continents and time zones to mesmerising effect. For stagecraft alone, it should not be missed.















by Mark Fisher

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