Skip to main content

The Night Watch

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

The shadow of St Paul’s hangs over a war-torn London throughout this revival of Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ brooding novel of overlapping lives, brought to life for this current tour by the Original Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal. It’s there in 1947, where the story starts with Phoebe Pryce’s rudderless former war-time ambulance worker Kay, wandering the bombed-out London streets in search of old certainties and lost love as the crux of a romantic triangle with Florence Roberts’ Helen and Izabella Urbanowicz’s Julia. It’s there too as Waters’ story rewinds, first to 1944, then to 1941, both less indifferent times that show how Helen ended up running a dating agency for those attempting to get back to how things were. That was before the first excited flush of her affair with Julia left her in a similar state of decline.

Everybody is bereft in the first half of Alastair Whatley’s production, with both Helen’s assistant Viv and Viv’s brother Duncan attempting to find some kind of salvation by holding on to the past. As they cling to each other for dear life in the emotional crossfire, like St Paul’s, they survive. Like the blitzed houses they once occupied, however, they are empty shells, sleep-walking their way through loveless half-lives in the rubble.

A slow-burning sense of sadness permeates the world conjured up by David Woodhead’s set and the midnight blues of Nic Farman’s lighting, with Whatley’s cast of eight woozily pulsed along by Sophie Cotton’s stately score. Through the slow unfurling of fractured lives, we see the damage inflicted on a generation whose accidental flight into personal liberation as much as something greater ends up leaving them with nothing once they come blinking into the light. If things don’t always catch fire here, Naylor’s reimagining of Waters’ story nevertheless lays bare the need to find a reason to live throughout dark times.

The Herald, October 17th 2019



Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug