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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




11 July 2016 The Guardian

The Lonesome West

By Martin McDonagh. A Tron Theatre review.

AT FIRST sight, the plays in Martin McDonagh’s Leenane trilogy look like they belong in some pre-industrial era, a time before electricity. Set in a village in the west of Ireland, they have the timeless flavour of the plays of JM Synge, as if these stories of narrow lives and thwarted ambitions could have been played out in any century.


26 May 2016 The Guardian

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme

By Frank McGuinness. A Citizens Theatre review.

REVIVED to mark the centenary year of the battle of the Somme, Frank McGuinness’s play is a great act of theatrical generosity. Those who saw the first production in 1985 may have expected an author from republican County Donegal to have set a wartime drama among the Roman Catholics he’d grown up with. Instead, the troops who file into the makeshift barracks are sash-wearing Protestants from Belfast’s dockyards, Coleraine’s factories and the churches of Enniskillen. They prepare for battle in the trenches of the first world war with the same never-surrender defiance that characterises their historical defence of Ulster.


4 May 2016 The Guardian

Leaf by Niggle

By JRR Tolkien. A Puppet State review.

AT THE start of his enchanting one-man show, actor Richard Medrington recommends we think of Leaf by Niggle as “less like a parable and more like a painting”. That being the case, perhaps we shouldn’t dwell on how much JRR Tolkien’s fairy story, published in 1945, feels like a Christian redemption allegory.We should maybe call it coincidence that, at the end of his productive life, the “little man called Niggle” finds himself in a Kafkaesque purgatory of endless menial labour before escaping to an elysian idyll, as if he were en route to heaven. And maybe it’s not relevant to note that, having acquired some self-knowledge, Niggle departs in the company of a shepherd who has offered to guide him on his final journey.


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.






by Mark Fisher

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