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Showing posts from June, 2018

Travesties

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars
Who would be a bit-part player in some of history’s most seismic events? Stand up Henry Carr, a real-life British consulate official minding the shop in Zurich circa 1917 in Tom Stoppard’s audacious play, revived here by Richard Baron in a suitably wild production. With novelist James Joyce, Dadaist Tristan Tzara and Russian revolutionary VI Lenin in residence, everything goes cuckoo in what is effectively Henry’s unreliable memoir. As he gives himself a starring role, such myth-making liberates Stoppard to run riot with a dramatic cut-up of form, ideas and a series of routines that interrogate art and revolution as seeming polar opposites that turn out to be two sides of the same coin.

In a Zurich that is a diplomatic no man’s land which becomes a capital of culture caught in the crossfire of several intellectual uprisings, Mark Elstob’s Henry dreams himself as a dandyish hero of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. In actual fact, he is a…

Douglas Day Stewart - An Officer and A Gentleman

In an upstairs room in Edinburgh Playhouse, Douglas Day Stewart looks more like a veteran of the New York Beat scene than a former naval officer of note. Day Stewart is in town to talk about the new stage musical of his Oscar-winning film, An Officer and A Gentleman, which arrives in Edinburgh next week, and the veteran screen-writer oozes the sort of blue-collar charm that reflects everything about the film.
As Day Stewart reflects on how his auto-biographical tale of a working class kid called Zack worked his way up the ranks and fell for local girl Paula became one of the biggest big-screen success stories of the 1980s, it’s clear from its brand new guise that it continues to be a labour of love.
“It’s a dream come true,” he says. “I’d wanted to do it for a long time, but I never had the right people to be involved with to take it to that level.”
It was a trip to Japan that proved to be the clincher, when Day Stewart saw the all-female Takarazuka troupe perform a version of his story.

Isobel McArthur – Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of)

When Isobel McArthur bought a pile of second-hand books from the treasure trove of Glasgow’s Voltaire and Rousseau bookshop, she never expected to end up playing Mr Darcy in a new stage version of Pride and Prejudice. This is exactly what’s happened, however, after McArthur’s co-founder of the Blood of the Young theatre company Paul Brotherston threw something of a wild card into the mix as the pair waded their way through the classics.
“Imagine an all-female cast in regency costume doing Pride and Prejudice with guitars is what he said,” says McArthur. “We’d bought all these books to see what might be interesting for us to adapt in the way of a classic. I think we both felt we wanted to do something that audiences who might not have any association with Jane Austen’s work could still have fun with and sparkle. It’s important for us that there’s no stuffiness there.”
The result is Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of), an irreverent take on Austen’s romp through the life and loves of the wilf…

Antony and Cleopatra

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Four Stars
From the moment the somewhat seasoned lovers romp on the chaise longue at one end of the Kibble Palace, alpha-male privilege abounds in Bard in the Botanics’ fresh take on one of Shakespeare’s most grown-up plays that forms part of the company’s Star Cross’d Lovers season. Andy Clark’s Antony is a man who simply can’t stop conquering. Shirking every responsibility he’s got while off the leash abroad, his mid-life crisis ego trip finds him playing away to the max.
Cleopatra too has got her second emotional wind and is going for it big time by way of epic mood-swings that are are a heady mix of passion and needy insecurity. Cooper’s Cleopatra all but whoops on learning of the death of Antony’s (third) wife Fulvia, even though it’s this incident that puts nations as well as hearts at stake. If Antony wants his cake as well as eating it when he marries Octavius Caesar’s kid sister Octavia, it’s international diplomacy as much as conjugal rights that are do…