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Hamlet

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Four Stars
On a calm night, the dusk that falls over Glasgow as Bard in the Botanics' outdoor production of Shakespeare's angstiest tragedy can't help but add atmosphere as the play moves to its grim conclusion. Opening with a coffin lying in state as a funeral procession gathers to honour the death of the king, the wedding that follows is just as bleak for a still black-clad Hamlet, who takes a tantrum as widowed Queen Gertrude gets hitched to her dead husband's brother.
The twist here us that, rather than being a sulky Prince, Hamlet here is a woman, played with fire and steel by Nicole Cooper as a foot- stamping, pistol-packing daddy's girl in mourning. This makes for a fascinating set of relationships, from the emotional ties between fathers and daughters onwards. In Hamlet's case, her loss causes her to lash out at all about her, with the tensions with her mother ramped up even more by her brattish unwillingness to accept Claudius as…
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Act of Repair

CCA, Glasgow Four stars
Are you seeking Sanctuary? This may be a line from 1970s dystopian sci-fi flick Logan's Run, but it applies with an equal sense of foreboding to this up to the minute piece devised, written and performed by the young people who make up this year's Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble.
Under the direction of Brian Ferguson, the twenty-strong ensemble lay bare a scarily familiar futurescape, where an online idol offers dream tickets for a new luxury housing development where all mod cons and a whole lot more besides are at your fingertips. Providing, that is, you stay in line with what the Siri-like voice says is good for you and don't stray too far from the cameras watching your every move.
In a scenario that fuses both Orwell and Endemol's ideas of Big Brother with 1960s TV show, The Prisoner, rebellion is inevitable, as the young people kept in line by digital means rise up. Sanctuary here is a place which doubles up as lo-fi Internet free ha…

Stef Smith – Enough

Friendship means a lot to Stef Smith, whose new play, Enough, forms part of the Traverse Theatre’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme when it opens next week. More significantly, perhaps, following her recent radical reworking of Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, it is female friendship that the Stirlingshire-born writer is focused on. That, and aeroplane cabin crew, who probably aren’t quite as jet-setty as advertised.
“I’ve always been fascinated by air stewards, both male and female,” says Smith. “I think it’s such an interesting performative role. I’ve always found it fascinating when you see them doing the drinks trolley or showing where the emergency exits are, and the in the middle of the flight you’d go up the back, and you see them all hanging out, and they’re all really relaxed and talking about what they’re going to have for lunch. It’s quite a different energy, and also very theatrical.”
Enough focuses on two female best friends who spend half their lives up in the air.
“It’s ab…