Reviews | Traverse

Skeleton Wumman – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   Puts flesh on bones

Buchan Lennon and Amy Conachan. Photo © Oran Mor

Buchan Lennon and Amy Conachan. Photo © Oran Mor

A Play, A Pie and A Pint at the Traverse
Tue 22 – Sat 26 April 2014
Review by Thom Dibdin

Lang syne deid, the Skeleton Wumman is an eerie and intriguing storyteller in Gerda Stevenson’s contribution to this Spring’s season of lunchtime theatre at the Traverse.

Trapped beneath the sea, the Skeleton Wumman, played by Amy Conachan, has silver drifts of fish flipping through her ribs. At low tide she can hear the tolling of a church bell, caught in the same sea surge which drowned her.

She speaks of all this, of being dragged around the seabed at the whim of the tide and her memories of her childhood in a fishing town, in a … Continue reading Skeleton Wumman – Review

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A Perfect Stroke – Review

✭✭✭✭✭     Perfectly stroked

Anita Vettesse, Dani Heron and Scott Reid. Photo © Oran Mor

Anita Vettesse, Dani Heron and Scott Reid. Photo © Oran Mor

Traverse Theatre
Tue 8 – Sat 12 April 2014
Review by Thom Dibdin

Tense and nervous drama of the kind that just won’t relax comes to the Traverse this week in the second instalment of the Spring 2014 season of lunchtime theatre A Play, A Pie and A Pint.

Writer Johnny McKnight, who has six seasons of successful pantomime at the macrobert in Stirling under his belt, is best known for his comedy – and this certainly sets out as such.

But he also knows how to write the sort of drama that will have you squirming in your seat at the truth and suspense of it all. Which is exactly where he has gone with this brilliant piece of lunchtime theatre. … Continue reading A Perfect Stroke – Review

Reviews | Traverse

Review – Ciara

✭✭✭✭☆  Brutally poetic

Blythe Duff in Ciara. Photo © Jeremy Abrahams

Blythe Duff in Ciara. Photo © Jeremy Abrahams

Traverse Theatre
Tues 3 – Sat 21 December
Review by Hugh Simpson

A towering performance by Blythe Duff marks out the Traverse’s revival of their Edinburgh fringe hit Ciara, which plays until the 21st.

The Ciara of the title of David Harrower’s play is the daughter of a feared Glasgow criminal. Shielded by her father from his world while he was alive, she now runs a gallery.

Her husband Brian, who was previously one of her father’s trusted associates and is now in charge of his empire, introduces her to fading artist Alan Torrance, who seems to represent a chance for her to put her business on the map. Instead … Continue reading Review – Ciara

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Review – Ciphers

Shereen Martin as Sunita. Photo © Out of Joint

Shereen Martin as Sunita. Photo © Out of Joint

Traverse Theatre
Tue 12 – Sat 16 November 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

Crisp and smart, Dawn King’s spy thriller for Out of Joint, which is at the Traverse all week, builds up a great head of steam as it follows the path of the once happy-go-lucky Kelly, now determined to discover the truth about the death of her sister.

The first half zings by, although on reflection it doesn’t quite find the meat it might for a truly satisfying ending, as it follows the sister, young and impressionable Justine, into the anonymous world of spooks.

With sliding walls running across the minimal set and confidently realistic dialogue, this feels every inch the … Continue reading Review – Ciphers

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Review – Oedipussy

✭✭✭☆☆   Tragically funny

A well-drilled outfit. Aitor Basauri. Photo © Johan Persson

Aitor Basauri. A well-drilled outfit. Photo © Johan Persson

Traverse Theatre
Wed 9 – Sat 12 October
Review by Hugh Simpson

Energetic and anarchic, Spymonkey’s take on Sophocles provides its quota of laughs in what it is ultimately a somewhat uneven evening at the Traverse until Saturday.

Even though it is presented as a spoof, the story stays close to the original Greek myth, and anyone coming new to the story would leave with a good working knowledge of the story of how Oedipus unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother.

The production, in association with Royal and Derngate Northampton, is billed as ‘Barbarella, Bowie and a little bit of Bond’ which – a cruelly accurate parody of … Continue reading Review – Oedipussy

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Review – The Idiot at the Wall

✭✭✭✭☆    Excellent debut

Lucy Goldie and Tim Barrow. Photo © Daniel William Hill

Lucy Goldie and Tim Barrow. Photo © Daniel William Hill

Traverse Theatre
03 October 2013
Review by Jen McGregor

Sibling rivalry leads to a disastrous turn of events in Elspeth Turner’s extremely promising debut 2012 play, revived for a Scottish tour by Edinburgh company Stoirm Og and seen at the Traverse.

Set on an unspecified Hebridean island in 1919, The Idiot at the Wall tells the tale of a family living under the shadow of a terrible prophecy while their community struggles to define its relationship with the changing world beyond its shores.

Turner steals the show as Odhran, a charmingly ordinary young woman who … Continue reading Review – The Idiot at the Wall

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Review – Some Other Mother

✭✭✭✭☆    Poetry of helplessness

Shvorne Marks (Star) and Billy Mack (Dogman) in AJ Toudervin's Some Other Mother. Photo © Oein Carey

Shvorne Marks (Star) and Billy Mack (Dogman). Photo © Eoin Carey

Traverse Theatre
Fri 7 – Sat 8 June
Review by Hugh Simpson

The words ‘produced in association with the Scottish Refugee Council’ on a theatre programme will create a variety of reactions. Any suggestion, however, that AJ Taudevin’s new play would put worthy points-scoring ahead of drama are soon dispelled by an involving and poetic performance.

The play features Nigerian asylum seeker Mama and her ten-year-old daughter Star, who are living in fear that they will be sent back to a country they describe as ‘broken’. The play does not take a documentary approach to their life in a Glasgow tower block, instead drawing largely on the escapist, imaginary world Star constructs. … Continue reading Review – Some Other Mother

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Review – Calum’s Road

✭✭✭✭☆    Long and righteous road

Angela Hardie and Iain Macrae in the NTS/Communicado production of Calum's Road. Photo credit: Drew Farrell

Angela Hardie and Iain Macrae in the NTS/Communicado production of Calum’s Road. Photo credit: Drew Farrell

Traverse Theatre
Thurs 6 – Sat 8 June
Review by Irene Brown

Fine, slow-paced energy, permeates this co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and Gerry Mulgrew’s Communicado that tells of a man’s solitary and dogged fight against bureaucracy as he makes the choice between being defeated and being defiant.

David Harrower’s adaptation of Roger Hutchinson’s book relates the remarkable true story of the tenacious Calum Macleod. Born a sickly wean in Glasgow in 1911 and taken to Raasay on medical advice, he feels he owes his life to the island. When the Council’s road-building programme stops short in Raasay, Calum Macleod picks up his wheelbarrow and, with axe, pick and shovel, starts the colossal job of connecting-up the island himself. … Continue reading Review – Calum’s Road

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Review – The Poor Mouth

✭✭✭✭✭   Rich Lip

The Poor Mouth. Photo credit: Blue Raincoat Ensemble

The Poor Mouth. Photo credit: Blue Raincoat Ensemble

Traverse Theatre
Thurs 30 May – Sat 1 June
Review by Irene Brown

Magnificent theatricality marks out this clever touring adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s great satire from Irish company Blue Raincoat, which is at the Traverse and touring to the Tron in Glasgow.

The slopey stage has become a map of Ireland, its wooden planks like half- ploughed green and brown fields, dotted along the edge with wee white cottages. Over this fine set, by Jamie Vartan, the cast move with pedestrian grace to tell the tragicomic tale of Bonaparte O’Cloonassa of Corkadoragha.

O’Brien’s satire on the Irish, their language and their culture was originally published in Irish Gaelic in 1941 under the name Myles na gCopaleen, and is regarded as one of the greatest … Continue reading Review – The Poor Mouth

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Review – First Love

✭✭✭✭☆  Crackles with tension

Conor Lovett in the Gare St Lazare Players Ireland production of First Love by Samuel Beckett, directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett. Photo creadit Ros Kavanagh

Conor Lovett in First Love by Samuel Beckett, directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett. Photo creadit Ros Kavanagh

Traverse Theatre
Thurs 23-Sat 25 May, 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

Samuel Beckett is back in the house, down in Traverse One with the return of the Gare St Lazare Players and their thorough, particular adaptation of First Love, a short story written in 1948 but not published until 1971.

On the surface, there is little to this first-person narrative. A young man leaves home when his father dies, meets a woman on a bench by the canal and, after a bit of havering, goes to live with her in her flat. Despite his best intentions he is in love.

But such a synopsis is an all-but-inappropriate oversimplification of a tale which twists with spite and failed lassitude. The sweet smell of corpses underlines it and the young man is motivated – if that is not … Continue reading Review – First Love