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5 April 2011 The Guardian

The Hard Man

By Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle. A Touring Theatre Consortium theatre review

WHEN Tom McGrath died two years ago, he was commemorated for many things: editor of International Times, counter-culture poet, founder of two Glasgow theatres and musical director for Billy Connolly. Less certain was his legacy as a playwright.Laurel and Hardy , his tribute to Stan and Ollie was still going strong, but there was a suspicion that much of his work was right for the moment, as befits a jazz man, but didn't necessarily stand the test of time.

5 April 2011 Northings

The Hard Man

By Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle. A Touring Theatre Consortium theatre review

TODAY Jimmy Boyle has a reputation as a wealthy sculptor and a connoisseur of champagne, living the good life in his Marrakesh home. At the time he co-wrote The Hard Man with the late Tom McGrath, by contrast, he was serving a life sentence in the special unit of Barlinnie prison for murder. It is hard to imagine how one man could lead such different lives, but The Hard Man gives an insight into what always set Boyle apart from the pack.

15 December The Guardian

Jackand the Beanstalk

A King's Theatre, Edinburgh review.

TO see what's good about this show, consider the scene where the baddie recruits four soldiers, gives each a stick and puts them through their military paces. The more incompetently they deal with their weapons, the more infuriated he becomes and – cue laughter – the more faithfully they imitate his every move. There's no reason for this stock panto sketch, nor even any originality in the way they stage it, but such is the actors' rapport with the audience that it's a hoot.

8 December 2009 The Guardian

Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates

A King's Theatre, Edinburgh review

FOR many years, the King's fielded an invincible panto double act in the shape of Allan Stewart, the consummate everywoman dame, and Andy Gray, a hangdog foil with a genius for working the crowd. Gray's departure a couple of years ago (this season, he's at Glasgow's Oran Mór) left Stewart carrying the show. If anything, he was too capable of this, exerting such control that he even ended up in the cave with Aladdin, which kept the laughs coming but negated the point of the boy's coming-of-age story.

14 December 2006 The Guardian

Cinderella

King's Edinburgh review.

THE collage of clock faces projected onto the sets of Paul Elliott's pantomime refer, of course, to the moment at midnight when the upwardly mobile Cinders is turned back into a servant. It also refers to the 100 years that have passed since the King's theatre staged Cinderella as its inaugural production.

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11 December 2005 The Sunday Times

Mother Goose

King's Edinburgh review.

A BEAR a panda, a fox and an all-singing, all-dancing cast fill the stage as sweets are catapulted into the upper circle on tennis rackets. Meanwhile the Crazy Frog is shot dead, Allan Stewart spins round on a motorised wheelchair flashing his matronly Mother Goose legs and Andy Gray (aka Hamish McFly) puts a local spin on this year’s Peter Kay/Tony Christie hit with Is This the Way to Portobello. And that’s just the first five minutes of this pacey Mother Goose.

7 Dece,ber 2004 The Guardian

Aladdin

King's Edinburgh review.

IT is always the slushy parts of a pantomime that let the side down. With an audience geared up for hissing and booing, the baddie gets an easy ride and, with the Dame and her sidekick being the real stars, the comedy is usually the highlight. This leaves the scenes of innocent young love and communal dancing rather exposed.

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