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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





18 October 2016 The Guardian

One Thinks of it all as a Dream

By Alan Bissett. A Play, A Pie and a Pint theatre review.

CHAPTER seven of The Wind in the Willows is called The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. As every good hippy knows, that’s also the name of the debut album by Pink Floyd, a prime cut of 1967 psychedelia so adventurously spaced out that it makes even the cross-dressing weirdness and trippy harmonies of the band’s first singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, seem conventional by comparison. In his short eulogy to the Floyd’s wayward genius Syd Barrett, playwright Alan Bissett makes the connection between Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic and the acid-damaged songwriter who would soon be forced to leave the band because of mental ill health. It’s partly that, like Little Portly, the missing otter in The Wind in the Willows, Barrett was “always straying off and getting lost, and turning up again”. But it’s also that, underscoring the band’s early work, there’s a very English streak of whimsy in the tradition of Grahame’s literary fantasy.


14 October 2016 The Guardian

'It's our global addiction': Scottish oil drama Crude drills down to reality

Preview of Crude by Ben Harrison staged by Grid Iron theatre

IT'S not a velvet curtain that rises on Grid Iron’s Crude, but a great roll of corrugated iron. It ascends with an industrial grind and clatter, opening the doorway to Shed No 39, a warehouse on the Port of Dundee estate, a little-seen landscape of cranes, exploration rigs and fiercely lit ships. As we step inside, our path is laid out between two rows of safety helmets, their clean white surfaces picked out by Paul Claydon’s low-level lighting, drawing us across an empty expanse towards a stage of gantries, cages and oil drums. An abseiler dangles from the cavernous ceiling, figures flit past in hi-vis jackets and digits race upwards on the back wall, counting the barrels of oil extracted from the earth since the performance began (answer: a lot).

9 October 2016 The Guardian

The Broons

By Rob Drummond. A Sell a Door review.

HAS there ever been a piece of popular theatre with such a sense of existential doubt? On the surface, Rob Drummond’s celebration of the long-running Sunday Post cartoon strip is just the kind of primary-coloured love-fest you’d expect. It is gentle in its humour, broad in its brush strokes and laced through with a couthie familiarity. The audience completes the phrase “Jings, crivens, help ma boab!” without even being asked. We’re never far away from a song and, in the best urban ceilidh tradition, it doesn’t matter much whether it’s a rock’n’roll standard or a traditional Scottish ballad. If we can clap along, everyone’s happy.


6 October 2016 The Guardian

The Suppliant Women

By Aeschylus and David Greig. A Royal Lyceum theatre review.

WHEN David Greig announced his inaugural season as artistic director of the Royal Lyceum, he said he wanted the theatre to be a “democratic space” where Edinburgh’s population could “gather and encounter each other”. It’s hard to imagine him achieving that aim more consummately than in this first in-house show of the season. And he does it with a 2,500-year-old play. Directed by Ramin Gray, in a co-production with the Actors Touring Company, The Suppliant Women begins with the house lights up and a phalanx of young women filling the stage. As per ancient custom, the performance can’t go ahead until respect has been paid to those who have made it possible. Step forward a civic dignitary – on my night, Deirdre Brock, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith – as libation giver, pouring a bottle of Dionysian wine across the front of Lizzie Clachan’s open breezeblock stage to let the show begin.






by Mark Fisher

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