4-star

The Panopticon

The Panopticon

A stunning central performance, superb casting and a striking, minimalist set combine to make this seminal 2012 novel come alive on stage. This is powerful, visceral, and shocking. Anais Hendricks (Anna Russel-Martin) is a 15-year-old girl who has been locked in to the ‘care system’ since birth, and has now been transferred to the Panopticon,…

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Solaris

l-r-Polly-Frame-Keegan-Joyce-SOLARIS-Photo-Mihaela-Bodlovic

This is the first time that Solaris has been brought to the stage, and David Greig’s treatment based on the novel by Stanisław Lem is stunning, fresh and resonant. Science fiction allows for rules to be broken and conventions to be usurped, and this production certainly defies the norm, and any expectations you may bring…

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The Duchess [of Malfi]

Adam Best as Bosola and Kirsty Stuart as The Duchess. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

This finely-staged drama is a visceral exploration of male violence and oppression, at once gripping, terrifying and mesmerising. A purposely nervous but soulful song starts the action in a stark, stripped back setting, and Kirsty Stuart quietly asserts both her power and her fragility from the start. Based on John Webster’s Jacobean revenge tragedy, The…

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Kátya Kabanová

Laura Wilde (Kátya Kabanová) and Ric Furman (Boris Grigoyevich) in Kátya Kabanová. Scottish Opera 2019. Photo: James Glossop

Scottish Opera seems to have caught the zeitgeist with this production, which is one of three Kátya Kabanovás running in the UK at the beginning of this year, with Opera North and Covent Garden also joining in the Katyamania. But, even without seeing the others, I can be confident in saying that this looks very…

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Wendy and Peter Pan

Wendy and Peter Pan

The Lyceum’s Christmas production of ‘Wendy and Peter Pan’ is heart warming, funny, with elements of pantomime (but not too overdramatized). The first half of the show follows the traditional storyline of Peter Pan with Peter, John and Michael wanting to do nothing but play games and fight after arriving in Neverland. But there is…

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The Journey

The Journey

This is an excoriating, disturbing and intense hour of theatre in the round, and it highlights the desperate plight of refugees in a hard-hitting and unforgettable way. Three actors play the role of a family who are ‘found by war’ and graphically portray their plight as war comes to their unnamed home and gradually but…

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Rigoletto

Aris Argiris as Rigoletto and Lina Johnson as Gilda. Scottish Opera 2018. Photo: Julie Howden

Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda is an innocent who is first deceptively seduced, then kidnapped, and raped – behind this are powerful men acting with complete impunity and treating a woman as nothing more than a disposable object for their pleasure. Written in 1850, Rigoletto was perhaps the first opera to deal openly with the issue of…

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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

Yon Cyrano has a muckle great neb, and this yin’s a pure dead brilliant show. You’re immersed from the start in glorious rhyming Scots with Edwin Morgan’s seminal translation, and it combines with the semi-industrial but inventive set design pulls you into this cracking piece of theatre completely. Brian Ferguson as Cyrano dominates almost effortlessly…

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Passionate Machine

Rosy Carrick in Passionate Machine

The evidence about the reality of time travel builds steadily in this engrossing, fabulous story: the book about Mayakovsky really was written by Doctor Rosy Carrick, she really does have a tattoo with a Bowie lyric on her wrist, and she really is wearing a CERN t-shirt. Could all of these seemingly impossibly surreal facts…

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Viv Groskop: Vivalicious

Viv Groskop: Vivalicious

A show about self-help in the coming age of President Oprah Winfrey. Everything seems to be about reinvention, and Viv Groskop wants to be the best possible version of herself. So why is that so hard? Does there come a time when you should just give up and accept you are not that great a…

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