Lyceum | Reviews

Union – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  In rude health

Sally Reid (Grace). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Sally Reid (Grace). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Friday 20 Mar – Saturday 12 Apr 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Bawdy, hugely ambitious and almost wilfully uneven, the Lyceum’s world premiere of Union should be applauded for its intentions even if the results are not wholly successful.

Tim Barrow’s timely new play combines the factual story of how a series of political intrigues on both sides of the border – coupled with the lure of hard cash – persuaded the Scottish Parliament to vote itself out of existence, with the fictionalised life of the young poet Allan Ramsay in the fleshpots and drinking dens of Edinburgh. … Continue reading Union – Review

Lyceum | Reviews

Private Lives – Review

✭✭✭☆☆   Comic pleasure

John Hopkins as Elyot Chase and Kirsty Besterman as Amanda Prynne. Photo © Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

John Hopkins and Kirsty Besterman. Photo © Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Fri 14 Feb – Sat 8 Mar 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Comic and crowd-pleasing, the Lyceum’s production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives provides fine entertainment.

This is the familiar story of Elyot and Amanda, a couple who went through an acrimonious divorce. They now find themselves at the same hotel on the first night of their honeymoons with their respective second spouses Sybil and Victor – and discover, furthermore, that they are unable to live either with or without each other.

The humour and effectiveness of the play depends entirely on the interaction between the two leads. While this is largely effective, it is not yet entirely … Continue reading Private Lives – Review

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Long Day’s Journey Into Night

✭✭✭✭☆   Intensely emotional

Paul Shelley as James Tyrone and Diana Kent as Mary Tyrone in the Royal Lyceum's 2014 production of Long Days Journey Into Night. Photo © Alan McCredie

Paul Shelley and Diana Kent. Photo © Alan McCredie

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Friday 17 Jan – Saturday 8 Feb 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Intense, disquieting and ultimately rewarding, the Lyceum’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night is worthy of very high praise.

Largely autobiographical and often considered O’Neill’s masterpiece (albeit a masterpiece which is more often admired than staged), the play deals with the unravelling of relationships in a dysfunctional family over the course of one day.

Dealing as it does with a family who express their feelings through addiction and recrimination, this … Continue reading Review – Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – A Christmas Carol

✭✭✭✭☆   Dickens of a good time

Anthony Bowers as Fred and Christopher Fairbank as Scrooge. Photo © Tommy ga Ken Wan

Anthony Bowers as Fred and Christopher Fairbank as Scrooge. Photo © Tommy ga Ken Wan

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Thurs 28 Nov 2013 – Sat 4 Jan 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Radiating good humour and Christmas cheer, the Lyceum’s production of A Christmas Carol provides highly successful seasonal entertainment.

Dickens’s story of greed and redemption lends itself well to adaptation, being a novella rather than one of his sprawling full-length novels. The story is therefore familiar due to its myriad versions.

This means that any audience will judge any new adaptation against their own favourite, but also means that the story can be told with the minimum of scene-setting and exposition. … Continue reading Review – A Christmas Carol

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Crime and Punishment

✭✭✭✭☆  Brilliantly intelligent

Jessica Hardwick (Sonya) and Adam Best (Raskolnikov). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Jessica Hardwick (Sonya) and Adam Best (Raskolnikov). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Tue 22 Sept – Sat 9 Nov 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

Absorbing and intelligent, the new adaptation of Crime and Punishment by Chris Hannan and directed by Dominic Hill makes for powerful entertainment at the Lyceum.

Dostoyevsky’s novel, despite the title, has very little about the criminal act and virtually nothing about the punishment, being mostly an exploration of the motives behind crime and the nature of guilt.

To a great extent the story takes place inside the head of Raskolnikov, the miserable, penniless student who commits murder as much as an experiment as anything else. This presents … Continue reading Review – Crime and Punishment

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Dark Road

✭✭✭☆☆   Intriguing but imperfect

Chief Superindent Isobel McArthur (Maureen Beattie) confronts Alfred Chalmers (Philip Whitchurch), with Belle Jones' Female Nurse. Photo © Douglas McBride

Chief Superindent Isobel McArthur (Maureen Beattie) confronts Alfred Chalmers (Philip Whitchurch), with Belle Jones’ Female Nurse. Photo © Douglas McBride

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Wed 25 Sept – Sat 19 Oct 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

An excellent cast and some intriguing ideas – which are not all fully realised – mark out the Dark Road of Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson’s collaboration, which runs at the Lyceum until October 19.

Isobel McArthur, once Scotland’s first female Chief Constable but now somewhat sidelined by the amalgamation of the Scottish police services, is contemplating retirement and revisiting her past.

Twenty-five years earlier, her career was boosted by her part in the arrest of notorious serial killer Alfred Chalmers, but now she has doubts about his conviction. Meanwhile, her troubled teenage daughter Alexandra has … Continue reading Review – Dark Road

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – MagicFest Opening Gala

✭✭✭✭☆   Magical entertainment

Charlie Mag making birds appear and disappear at MagicFest

Charlie Mag making birds appear and disappear at MagicFest

Royal Lyceum
Friday 28 June
Review by Thom Dibdin

Disappearing doves and a moonwalking chihuahua joined this year’s MagicFest opening gala at the Lyceum on Friday for an evening of seriously entertaining magic.

It was all compered by Edinburgh’s own Colour Ham, who are fast becoming the local house act in magic circles. While magician Kevin McMahon was involved elsewhere – he is the festival’s director – comedian Gavin Oattes and mind-reader Colin McLeod provided an easy lubrication between the main acts.

There was a shade too much ham, to the detriment of colour, in their presentation – less geeing up and more … Continue reading Review – MagicFest Opening Gala

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Being Tommy Cooper

✭✭✭☆☆ All fezzed up

Being Tommy Cooper. Damien Williams in the title role. © Graeme Braidwood photography.

Being Tommy Cooper. Damien Williams in the title role. © Graeme Braidwood photography.

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Mon 24 June 2013
Review by Irene Brown

Not Quite Like That would be a more appropriate title, for an odd amalgam of tribute act and exposé of the man beneath the famous fez, which ends up being neither.

Writer Tim Green only compounds the confusion by saying that, although the play is inspired by Cooper, it is not intended as a biography. Also, that while most of the elements are true, the characters are meant to be fictional.

The play opens in Las Vegas 1954, with Cooper facing a show closure at the start of his career. Failed old pro Billy Glason (Morgan Deare) is trying – and failing – to sell the incorrigibly tight fisted comedian an … Continue reading Review – Being Tommy Cooper

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Time and the Conways

* * * *

Irene Macdogall, Emily Winter, Jessica Tomchak and Andy Clark in Time and the Conways at the Royal Lyceum Theatre and transfering to Dundee Rep. Photo © Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Irene Macdougall, Emily Winter, Jessica Tomchak and Andy Clark in Time and the Conways at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Photo © Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Royal Lyceum Theatre
18 Feb – Sat 9 March
Review by Thom Dibdin

Conflicts of class and family are tickled and teased with alluring attention to detail in Jemima Levick’s articulate production of Time and the Conways at the Royal Lyceum and transferring to Dundee Rep.

JB Priestley’s script provides a splendid reminder of what a well-crafted three act play looks like. If his An Inspector Calls has become his best known play in recent times, Levick’s direction justifies his own opinion that Time and the Conways was his finest.

First performed in 1937, when the world was on the brink of  War even if it didn’t know it, the play depicts a well off family in a Northern English industrial town, then and now. … Continue reading Review – Time and the Conways

Lyceum | Reviews

Review – Cinderella

* * * * *

Julie Heatherill as Cinderella and Martin McCormick as Prince Pierre in the Royal Lyceum's production of Cinderella, December 2012. Photo by Eamonn McGoldrick

Julie Heatherill as Cinderella and Martin McCormick as Prince Pierre in the Royal Lyceum’s production of Cinderella. Photo by Eamonn McGoldrick

Royal Lyceum
Guest Review by Irene Brown

A child scattering her mother’s ashes with her bereaved father is an unusual, to say the least, opening to a Christmas show.

Yet this is exactly how playwright Johnny McKnight opens his novel and totally updated version of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. He has taken the bones of the well-known story and dragged it in its fantoush footwear across the channel to not just contemporary Paris but also to a land even more foreign: that of reality TV.

The original tale, of Cendrillon, came from French writer Charles Perrault in the 17th century. So McKnight is just sending it home in a new set of 21st century clothes, wonderfully designed by Ken Harrison.

Cinderella (Julie Heatherill) and her widowed Papa (Grant O’Rourke) are living simply and contentedly in a Paris gently evoked by accordion, baguettes and … Continue reading Review – Cinderella