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Showing posts from October, 2018

Meredydd Barker – Nye and Jennie

Without Aneurin Bevan and Jennie Lee, life in Britain during the post Second World War years would have been a lot different. This is something playwright Meredydd Barker realised when he was asked by the Neath, West Glamorgan-based Theatr Na Nog company’s artistic director Geinor Styles to write a play about the Welsh firebrand Labour minister and the Lochgelly-born miner’s daughter who was elected into Westminster as the UK parliament’s then youngest sitting MP.
Between them, Bevan and Lee changed the landscape of Britain into a seemingly more benevolent and enlightened society than what existed before. As the youngest member of Prime Minister Clement Atlee’s cabinet following the 1945 Labour landslide, Bevan was appointed Minister of Health, and was instrumental in the setting up of the National Health Service, set up to provide free medical care for all. Almost twenty years later, Lee’s brief as Minister for the Arts in Harold Wilson’s Labour government of 1964 saw her widening the…

The Breathing House

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Three Stars

A tale of two cities is at the heart of Peter Arnott’s Edinburgh-set Victorian gothic, revived here by Mark Thomson in his production performed by the RCS’s final year BA Acting students. Like Twin Peaks scripted by Robert Louis Stevenson, Arnott recognises Auld Reekie as a Jekyll and Hyde city, with the Old Town’s lower depths shielding a dark underbelly from those occupying its seemingly respectable facade.

It is the seamier side that appeals to Gilbert, who farms his servant mistress Agnes out to a place of ill repute to protect his reputation while seeking cheap thrills wherever he can. Cloon is a more liberal-minded fetishist, taking pictures of working women living in the gutter and falling for his own servant Hannah, who has secrets of her own.

From this erupts a plague of false piety and hypocrisy in the face of class division, sexual abuse and self-destructive pleasure-seeking. Parallels with modern day Edinburgh and any other…

Pauline Knowles - An Obituary

Pauline Knowles – Actress
Born December 16 1967; died October 17 2018
Pauline Knowles, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 50, was one of the most powerful stage actresses of her generation. Over more than twenty years, Knowles brought a quiet intensity and fierce intelligence to every part she played. This was the case when she played the barely articulate rural woman in Philip Howard’s original 1995 Traverse Theatre production of David Harrower’s modern classic, Knives in Hens. It was still the case when Knowles gave a ferociously contemporary portrayal of Clytemnestra in This Restless House, Zinnie Harris’ stunning reinvention of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy directed by Dominic Hill at the Citizens Theatre with the National Theatre of Scotland twenty-one years later.
Knowles occupied both roles with an innate sense of each woman’s everyday ordinariness in ways that made their experiences totally recognisable. As a result, however extreme their actions and however powerful the…