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Showing posts from November, 2018

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots. More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight. All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocat

The Wizard of Oz

Pitlochry Festival Theatre Four Stars Imagine a land far away from a home where NIMBYish neighbours attempt to flex the only muscles their wealth will allow by restricting the freedoms of others. Wicked citizens of real life town and country haven’t quite managed to outlaw dog-walking yet, although Camille Marmie’s busy-bodyish Almira Gulch’s attempts to get young Dorothy’s pet pooch Toto put down are in much the same spirit in Gemma Fairlie’s revival of L Frank Baum’s much loved yarn. Dorothy’s resistance when she runs away with Toto sees her caught up in an actual whirlwind that transports her to a Munchkinland which looks a bit like Pontin’s holiday camp. Setting out along a yellow brick road that resembles an oversize hamster’s wheel in an adventure playground, Dorothy and the friends she acquires en route to meet her apparent saviour are damaged goods. In what at moments looks like a self-help book come to technicolour life, it is Marmie’s slinky Wicked Witch of the West

Ella Hickson – Wendy and Peter Pan

When Ella Hickson first saw Peter Pan onstage, J.M. Barrie’s tale about the little boy who never grew up captured her imagination. Like most little girls, Hickson was asked to identify with Wendy, who becomes Peter’s sidekick as he magics her and her siblings to Neverland. A couple of decades on, Hickson’s own stage version of Barrie’s story is about to redress the gender balance in Wendy and Peter Pan at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh for the festive season. Despite this, that first experience of Barrie’s story has stayed with her. “It was the flying,” Hickson explains, with more than a hint of wonder in her voice. “I think it’s the only kids story that has flying in it in a very clear and robust way. It’s magic, but it’s not about wizards. If Peter Pan was invented now it would be hard to pitch as a story. It’s not science-fiction and it’s not witchy. It has a fantasy element, but it’s about the power of imagination. That’s quite a hard sell.” This didn’t stop Hickson w