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Showing posts from 2018

John Paul McGroarty and Martyn Jacques – The Last Days of Mankind

John Paul McGroarty was 19 years old when he last saw a major stage production inside Leith Theatre, the former town hall building gifted to Leith following the Burgh’s incorporation into Edinburgh in 1920. After being used as a music venue and theatre space, the building lay empty for three decades before being recently opened up by both the Hidden Door festival and Edinburgh International Festival care of Leith Theatre Trust.
The play McGroarty saw was Russian director Yuri Lyubimov’s Taganka Theatre production of Alexander Pushkin’s play, Boris Godunov, which was programmed as part of the 1989 Edinburgh International Festival. Two years earlier when McGroarty was a teenage drama student in Ireland, the first play he saw was Frank McGuinness’ First World War drama, Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme.
Having been profoundly affected by these formative dramatic experiences, three decades on, the spirit of both look set to trickle down into McGroarty’s own staging of …

Stuff

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Three stars
Everybody can be prone to putting their life in boxes. Magda, the elderly Croatian émigré in Sylvia Dow’s new hour-long play, takes such a notion to extremes in a show that lays bare the emotional detritus we gather up along life’s way, using those boxes as a fortress of self-protection as we go. At some point, however, there has to be a clear-out. In Magda’s case it takes an intervention from social worker Jackie to open the door to a new-ish kind of life. This involves a reunion with Magda’s estranged daughter Chrissie, and above all a casting out of the figure of her dead mother, an opera singer who was killed in the Balkan war.
All of this is woven into a handsome looking and heart-felt production by Muriel Romanes for her and Dow’s new Sylvian Productions company. At its centre is a moving central performance from Carol Ann Crawford as Magda, who is given ample support by Romana Abercrombie as Chrissie, Pauline Lockhart as Jackie and a fine-vo…

Neil McPherson – It Is Easy To Be Dead

It took twenty-eight years for Neil McPherson to write It Is Easy To Be Dead, the writer and artistic director of London’s Finborough Theatre’s homage to First World War poet Charles Hamilton Sorley, which arrives in Scotland this week for a short run in Aberdeen and Glasgow following the play’s West End success. McPherson’s original idea as a young actor in 1988 was to write and perform a one-man show about Sorley’s better known contemporary, Wilfred Owen. A director told McPherson that there were lots of plays about Owen already, and that he should do one about Sorley instead.
McPherson had been running the Finborough Theatre for seventeen years by the time he began what would become It Is Easy To Be Dead, and programmed it as part of a season to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war. Keen to come at things from a different angle, McPherson’s 2014 season included the English-language premiere of German playwright Rolf Hochhuth’s Summer 14 – A Dance of Death, which looked at th…