Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2015 - The Theatre Year Ahead in Scotland

The pantomime fairy-dust may have barely been swept away, but already
Scotland's theatres are gearing up for a busy year ahead. There is much
anticipation for the Gorbals theatre's forthcoming revival of John
Byrne's play, The Slab Boys (February 12-March 7). This main-stage
production will be directed by David Hayman, who oversaw the original
production of Byrne's tragi-comedy set in a Paisley carpet factory when
it first appeared at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in the late
1970s. By that time Hayman had already blazed a trail as an actor at
the  Citiz, and The Slab Boys continues a relationship re-established
when he played the title role in King Lear.

There's a double whammy from playwright Douglas Maxwell this year, with
two plays making their way around the country. The first, at the Citz,
is Fever Dream: Southside (April 23-May 9), a surreal comic thriller
set in Govanhill during a heatwave.

The second, a collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland as
part of the company's Belong season, is Yer Granny, which opens its
tour at the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock (May 19-21) , and looks set to
be a riotous yarn taken from an Argentinian original and set in a
closed down Glasgow chip shop where a diabolical matriarch eats her
family out of house and home.

Also being co-presented by the NTS is Rites (Tron Theatre, Glasgow, May
5-9; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, May 26-30) in which director Cora
Bisset and her Pachamama company look at the issues around female
genital mutilation. Bisset previously scored a hit with her production
of Roadkill, a collaboration with writer Stef Smith which tackled
international sex trafficking in a troubling but thrilling production. 


NTS artistic director Laurie Sansom's own adaptation of Muriel Spark's
1970 novel, The Driver's Seat, which will play in Edinburgh and Glasgow
in July, also forms part of the Belong season. This study of one
woman's final days as she travels to a European country in search of
'the one' continues Sansom's affinity with Spark's work, which dates
back to his production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie when still in
charge of the Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton.

One of Dundee Rep's highlights promises to be a look at Shakespeare's
Titus Andronicus (April 8-25) by director Stewart Laing. This will be
Laing's first main-stage outing since his internationally renowned
company, Untitled Projects, were turned down for Regular Funding by
Creative Scotland, a move which has forced the company to close down
operations indefinitely.

While the country's commercial stages see tours of To Kill A
Mockingbird, Twelve Angry Men and The King's Speech to town, the
Headlong company follow last year's tour of 1984 by bringing a new
production of David Hare's The Absence of War (March 31-April 4)to the
Citizens. With an Election looming, Hare's dramatic study of the Labour
Party, penned after the fall-out of the 1992 UK General Election looks
set to be a timely piece of programming.

Edinburgh's festivals season may seem a long way off, but Edinburgh
International Festival have already trailed their programme by
announcing a new production of Antigone (August 9-22) at the King's
Theatre. The fact that the title role will be played by star of stage
and screen Juliet Binoche already makes it a tantalising prospect, but
what elevates it even further is the fact that it is directed by Ivo
van Hove. Van Hove is the former director of the Holland Festival, one
of the most radical festivals on the European circuit, and his first
Edinburgh appearance for many years bodes well for incoming EIF
director Fergus Linehan's tenure in what looks set to be a busy year
ahead.

The Herald, January 6th 2015


ends

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