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by Mark Fisher

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British Theatre Guide

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With a foreword by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune





26 May 2016 The Guardian

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme

By Frank McGuinness. A Citizens Theatre review.

REVIVED to mark the centenary year of the battle of the Somme, Frank McGuinness’s play is a great act of theatrical generosity. Those who saw the first production in 1985 may have expected an author from republican County Donegal to have set a wartime drama among the Roman Catholics he’d grown up with. Instead, the troops who file into the makeshift barracks are sash-wearing Protestants from Belfast’s dockyards, Coleraine’s factories and the churches of Enniskillen. They prepare for battle in the trenches of the first world war with the same never-surrender defiance that characterises their historical defence of Ulster.


4 May 2016 The Guardian

Leaf by Niggle

By JRR Tolkien. A Puppet State review.

AT THE start of his enchanting one-man show, actor Richard Medrington recommends we think of Leaf by Niggle as “less like a parable and more like a painting”. That being the case, perhaps we shouldn’t dwell on how much JRR Tolkien’s fairy story, published in 1945, feels like a Christian redemption allegory.We should maybe call it coincidence that, at the end of his productive life, the “little man called Niggle” finds himself in a Kafkaesque purgatory of endless menial labour before escaping to an elysian idyll, as if he were en route to heaven. And maybe it’s not relevant to note that, having acquired some self-knowledge, Niggle departs in the company of a shepherd who has offered to guide him on his final journey.


14 April 2016 The Guardian

Squaddies, goblins and sex with Macbeth: 10 years of the National Theatre of Scotland

A National Theatre of Scotland retrospective

THERE had been talk of a Scottish national theatre since the early 19th century, so it was with considerable weight of expectation that Vicky Featherstone launched her self-styled “theatre without walls” 10 years ago. She did so in a way that would define its maverick spirit. Not with red carpets, classic texts and theatrical grandees, but with 10 site-specific performances around the country on the same weekend. I saw amateur actors on a ferry in Lerwick, domestic drama in an Aberdeen council flat, a first minister’s question time written by schoolchildren and abseiling actors scaling down a Glasgow tower block. The National Theatre of Scotland had arrived.




by Mark Fisher

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