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Showing posts from August, 2018

The Last Witch

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars
A killing moon beams down with various shades of intensity throughout Richard Baron’s revival of Rona Munro’s play, inspired by the last woman to be burnt as a witch. It was an execution which took place in the Highlands in 1727, just before such superstitions were supposed to have been swept away by the Scottish Enlightenment. As Deirdre Davis’ Janet Horne is tortured by the authorities in the second half of the play, however, the language used against her resembles some of the misogynist hate speech used by some men on social media to demonise women who dare to be different or else just have an opinion.
At first things all look a bit Ab Fab, with Janet a free-spirited hippy mum to Fiona Wood’s scowly but practical teenage daughter Helen. Janet is wilfully singular, sexually confident and able to shroud herself with a mystique that both beguiles and terrifies the villagers. While Janet is able to intoxicate them with hallucinogens from the earth, He…

Pam Hogg – Cyrano de Bergerac

If a picture paints a thousand words, Pam Hogg is probably the perfect choice to design costumes for the Citizens Theatre company’s new production of Cyrano de Bergerac. It was a picture, after all, that got Hogg the gig on Dominic Hill’s revival of the late Edwin Morgan’s Scots translation of Edmond Rostand’s classic nineteenth century yarn, first presented by Communicado Theatre Company in 1992.
When Hogg was first contacted by Hill about collaborating on his new co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, before they met, she put an image from her archive onto her phone. This was a typically instinctive move by Hogg, designed to give a taster of what she might be able to bring to the play, in which the poetic Cyrano is so embarrassed by his big nose that he is unable to express his love for the beautiful Roxanne. When Hill and Hogg met, Hill too pulled out an image to illustrate his own thoughts about the play. Both images were the same.
“That…

Anne Downie – The Yellow on the Broom

Anne Downie had never heard of The Yellow on the Broom when she was approached with a view to adapting the first part of Betsy Whyte’s memoirs of growing up in a Scottish Traveller community in the 1920s and 1930s for the stage. The idea had come from playwright Tom McGrath, who was then Associate Literary Director for Scotland, who suggesting to John Carnegie, the then head of Winged Horse theatre company that Whyte’s captivating story, which she first started writing in the 1970s, might make a good play.
“It toured everywhere,” says Downie on the eve of a revival of the play at Dundee Rep almost thirty years after it first appeared. “It opened in Skye, and went all over Scotland. It was on at the Tron in Glasgow, and a woman came up to me from what I think was then Strathclyde Region, and she wondered if there might be any possibility of it going on in the camps, because while the women from the camps would come and see it, the men wouldn’t go into theatres. It never happened, which …