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A Night to Remember

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow Four stars
A hundred years ago, the Citizens Theatre was the Royal Princess’s, a variety dive catering to what was left of the masses in the fallout of the First World War. As the Citz’s current incumbents prepare to move out of their Gorbals home for two years pending a multi-million pound upgrade, it’s only fitting that the final show on the main stage as it stands looks back to a time when the building’s grandeur perhaps wasn’t so faded.
With almost fifty performers onstage drawn from the Citz’s assorted community companies, initially this looks set to be a braw night of fun and frolics, especially as MC’d by tartan-trewed turn and the theatre’s then director-manager, Rich Waldon, brought to life with grotesque gusto by Alan McHugh. As soon as one Dorothy Donaldson breaks ranks and the motley crew onstage realise they are the ghosts of Citizens Theatres past, things take a different turn in Guy Hollands and Neil Packham’s expansive production of Peter Arnott’…
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Shattered

Rose Theatre, Edinburgh Three stars
Lucy sits in her living room, watching the world go by in the middle of the night when most of the world is sleeping at the start of Lisa Nicoll’s new play for the young In-Motion Theatre Company in association with Paisley Arts Centre. As night painfully blurs into dawn, Lucy obsessively documents every move of the early birds passing through outside, fixed on their daily routines en route to somewhere else. Lucy’s partner Ben is one of these, checking his hectic schedule, forever in transit and forced to share airspace with happy families caught up in their own daily grind. Most of all, Lucy watches the cafĂ© over the road where Tom serves skinny lattes to strangers. Only when Katy comes stumbling into everybody’s lives full of no-holds-barred energy does Lucy feel like she can start living again.
As the quartet’s lives criss-cross each other, Nicoll charts the agony of loss following a life-changing tragedy barely spoken of, but which hangs like a bl…

David Martin - Hidden Door 2018

Outside Leith Theatre, Hidden Door artistic director David Martin sits in the sun, laptop perched on his knee and in deep discussion about technical matters. Inside, this weekend will see Edinburgh’s grassroots multi-arts festival host the likes of Nadine Shah and The Orb’s Dr Alex Paterson on the increasingly high-profile venue’s main stage. For now, at least, however, the auditorium appears to have been overrun by a group of giant lizards, oversize swans and other creatures.
As more familiar human bodies flit in and out with purposeful intent, the monument-sized models cut quite a dash in the venue’s current state of flux. There’s a deck chair here, an upright piano there. The sound of large wooden panels being sawn in half permeates the air, intermittently accompanied by the machine gun rattle of an industrial drill.
Across the street, the bohemian-inclined Sketchy Beats cafe is open for business. In the old State Cinema that houses it, a generator hums with a hint of new life for a…

Sunshine on Leith

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh Five stars
It was coincidence that the latest Save Leith Walk public meeting, held to attempt to see off predatory property developers from bulldozing away local businesses, was on the opening night of the homecoming dates for Stephen Greenhorn’s Proclaimers-fired musical drama. Both events, however, laid bare the heart and soul of a neighbourhood that retains its independence on every level.
All the Leith iconography is present and correct in Greenhorn’s everyday epic, from the Dockers Club to Robbie’s bar. With the show given a fresh lease of life by the 2014 film version, James Brining’s eleventh anniversary revival for West Yorkshire Playhouse remains a masterful construction. Focusing on Ally and Davy, two ex-squaddies returning from Afghanistan, the script weaves a set of soap opera style scenarios around the pair’s respective love lives with Liz and Yvonne, as well as the complications of Davy and Liz’s parents’ thirty-year marriage.
Greenhorn’s writing is…

Richard Baron - Pitlochry Festival Theatre Season 2018

A pick and mix ethos has always pervaded at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, which opens its annual summer season this weekend with an all singing, all dancing production of Kander and Ebb’s musical, Chicago. As pretty much the only old-school repertory company in the UK, over the next five months, the resident ensemble of seventeen actors will move between six different productions performed in rotation. 
This year will also mark the first season since the departure of John Durnin, who, over his fifteen years as artistic director, attempted to push the perceptions of what was possible in PFT’s riverside auditorium. This has included the introduction of a large-scale musical to open each season, as well as initiating a new autumn strand. Durnin also introduced a Christmas show into the programme. As if to illustrate the enticing range of work on show, this season, programmed by Durnin before his departure, even features a play called Quality Street.
The original plan was that J.M Barrie’s …