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Maria Alyokhina – Pussy Riot: Riot Days

Maria Alyokhina was detained by Russian police the day she was supposed to talk to the Herald. As one of the three members of Pussy Riot who were imprisoned for hooliganism in 2012 after performing an anti-government action in Moscow’s Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Alyokhina is used to such adverse attention.
Alyokhina was supposed to be talking about Riot Days, the punk theatre performance piece drawn from her book of the same name. Part memoir of A Punk Prayer, the 40-second Moscow performance that resulted in a trial and incarceration, part part call-to-arms, Riot Days is currently touring the world. With Alyokhina at the show’s centre, three other performers, including members of underground Russian band, Asian Women on the Telephone, help thrash out a sense-assaulting mash-up of sound and vision.
Next month, Alyokhina, Pussy Riot and Riot Days arrive in Edinburgh for a ten-night run prior to a short UK tour. This comes following a thrilling show at Glasgow School of Ar…

Edward II,

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Five stars
Pride was beaming on the streets of Glasgow this weekend, and, whether by accident or design, for Bard in the Botanics to open its no-holds-barred revival of Christopher Marlowe’s brutal history play to coincide with the celebrations was a masterstroke. Here, after all, is a play several centuries ahead of its time in its depictions of a gay affair in high places, the openness of which is stamped out by a cowardly homophobic establishment.
Gordon Barr reimagines his stripped-down four-actor adaptation in the tight-lipped 1950s, when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. This doesn’t stop Charlie Clee’s Gaveston swaggering on in denim and leather like Joe Orton’s swingingly amoral toy-boy from Orton’s breakout play, Entertaining Mr Sloane.
Reunited with Laurie Scott’s King Edward after Gaveston’s return from exile, the pair flaunt their physical affections with flamboyant and self-absorbed abandon. This is what gets to Andy Clark’s uptight Lord Mo…

Much Ado About Nothing

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
Four stars

There are far more clowns than acrobats in Jennifer Dick’s circus-set Bard in the Botanics production of what turns out to be Shakespeare’s most rootin’ tootin’ rom-com. But when Nicole Cooper’s Beatrice steps into the ring to attempt to juggle while all about her spin plates and lift weights, it’s a wordless symbol of things to come. As she and her sparring partner Benedick lead each other on a merry dance before they finally wear each other down to the inevitable amorous showdown, everybody but them can see what’s coming a mile off.

Hannah Parker’s Hero and Dylan Blore’s Claudio, meanwhile, have got their own thing going on, although they too fall prey to machinations not of their making. These come largely by way of Darren Brownlie’s morose Don John, who looks like he stepped from the pages of Death in Venice as he attempts to manipulate matters for his own ends.

With understated gender-bending at the heart of much of this year’s Bard in the Botani…