Miracleon34ParnieStreet

4 December 2014 The Guardian

Miracle on 34 Parnie Street

By Johnny McKnight. A Tron Theatre review.

THE 1947 seasonal film favourite Miracle on 34th Street is a modest and sweet-natured comedy with the unfeasibly grand ambition of squaring the contradictory values of capitalism and religion. However greedy the market gets, the movie suggests, it’s nothing that can’t be solved by blind faith in a supernatural power. So when the real Father Christmas takes over the grotto at Macy’s, he shows the money-grubbing store managers that altruism is not only an end in itself, it can be great for business too. They only have to believe.

3 November 2014

Colquhoun & MacBryde

By John Byrne. A Tron Theatre review.

WE'RE in the ration-book London of Dylan Thomas, Wyndham Lewis and Francis Bacon. It’s a curious place that swings from bohemian excess to battened-down austerity. Into this wartime world step Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, graduates of the Glasgow School of Art hell-bent on smashing their way into the establishment – and smashing themselves up in the process. Slimmed down to an efficient two-hander since its 1992 Royal Court debut, John Byrne’s play is a true-life portrait of two largely forgotten artists who arrived at the GSA a generation before he did.

Guardian 9 October 2014

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov in a version by John Byrne. A Tron Theatre review.

WATCHING John Byrne’s new adaptation of the Chekhov classic, it’s hard to put aside the memory of Alasdair Gray’s notorious “colonisers and settlers” essay. This was the pre-referendum broadside in which the novelist used the loaded language of imperial Britain to describe incomers to Scotland. As Gray saw it, there were those who used the country as a stepping stone for a career elsewhere and those who stayed to make a lasting contribution.

The Guardian 31 July 2014

Beowulf

By Seamus Heaney. A Tron Theatre review.

GRENDEL is dead. Beowulf is victorious. The mood is of celebration and so, in Seamus Heaney's taut and muscular adaptation, King Hrothgar calls for a bard to commemorate the defeat of the monster. What is needed, he says, is a work that links "a new theme to a strict metre". It is the observance of Heaney's own strict metre that distinguishes Lynne Parker's consummate staging of this Old English poem. Billed as a dramatic reading, her austere, controlled and gripping production splits the text between Helen McAlpine, Lorraine McIntosh and Anita Vettesse, a Greek chorus in muted greys who strike every syllable with urgent authority.

Guardian 27 February 2014

This Wide Night

By Chloe Moss. A Tron Theatre review.

THE last time we saw Elaine C Smith, she was sending up Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight and Adele as a Fairy Godmother in the Aberdeen panto. David Greig, meanwhile, has been pulling in the crowds to his adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End. Fans of Cinderella and Roald Dahl are unlikely to be prepared for This Wide Night, a grim slice-of-life two-hander, directed by Greig, in which Smith plays an ex-con. Escapist holiday entertainment it is not.

The Scotsman 31 October 2013

The New Maw Broon Monologues

By Jackie Kay. A Glasgay/Tron review.

SINCE Since 1936, Maw Broon has suffered the indignity of being two dimensional. As the stock mother in a comic strip, she is a figure without depth or hinterland. In this, as poet Jackie Kay sees it, she has something in common with a generation of women whom emancipation passed by and with the nation itself, torn between couthiness and modernity, dependence and freedom.

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The Guardian 11 July 2013

Cannibal Women of Mars

By Mick Cooke, Gordon Davidson and Alan Wilkinson. A Tron Theatre review.

IT'S 100 years hence, and things are looking grim on planet Earth. Unemployment has exceeded 90% and government robots are around every corner. Worse, sex has been outlawed. For randy virgins Largs and Jaxxon, a trip on the "Mars sex, sex, sex flight" to a colony of space women is too tempting to resist. On their three-month trip, however, they discover the Martian women are less interested in their bodies than their flesh.

18 February 2013 The Guardian

Running on the Cracks

Adapted from the Julia Donaldson novel by Andy Arnold. A Tron/Pilot review.

YOU couldn't fault this adaptation of Julia Donaldson's novel for being short of themes. In 90 minutes, it ticks off bereavement, child abuse, missing people, drug addiction, mental illness, multiculturalism and the search for identity. Throw in a cat-and-mouse chase across the country, and you have the kind of sensationalist narrative that plays well to the target teenage audience.

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10 December 2012 TheGuardian

Aganeza Scrooge

By Johnny McKnight. A Tron Theatre review.

WHEN Charles Dickens conceived the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, it is unlikely that he had in mind a large woman in a spangly leotard, bejewelled shoulder pads and curly black wig. But in Johnny McKnight's raucous revision of A Christmas Carol, the writer, director and star makes a convincing case for Scrooge as Dame. As an avaricious money-lender and sole proprietor of Marley & Me, this Aganeza Scrooge has survived the loadsamoney era to become the epitome of bah-humbug misanthropy. Selfish and merciless, she spends much of the show chatting up terrified audience members. Sharp-tongued, waspish and given to ad-libbing, she is also very funny.

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6 March 2012 The Guardian

Plume

By JC Marshall. A Tron Theatre review.

THE birds and the bees in JC Marshall's timely play signify not sex but death. In a poetic flourish, she pictures the victims of a mid-air terrorist atrocity being accompanied by an array of exotic birds. Down on the ground, meanwhile, a primary school pupil with a fatal allergy to stings deliberately grabs hold of a bee.

31 May 2011 The Guardian

Crazy Gary's Mobile Disco

By Gary Owen. A Tron Theatre review.

THERE used to be an argument that a play couldn't be called feminist – even one with an all-female cast – if its characters' lives were defined by men. Gary Owen's three-hander from 2001 offers the opposite scenario. It is about three men in a Welsh town whose lives are defined by women.

item3218 May 2011 The Guardian

A Slow Air

By David Harrower. A Tron Theatre review.

IN his hits Knives in Hens and Blackbird, David Harrower stripped away the extraneous details to leave characters who could be from anywhere. His latest play isn't like that. Although estranged siblings Morna and Athol's dilemma is universal, their story's particulars are not.

6 May 2011 The Guardian

Poll attacks: Election specials hit Scottish theatres

Blog about election plays. A Traverse Theatre/Tron Theatre blog/

FOR anyone interested in theatre and politics – and the relationship between the two – there was a fascinating juxtaposition of shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh this week. Kicking off the polemical Mayfesto programme at the Tron in Glasgow, It's a Dead Liberty reunited the old musically minded lefties of Wildcat and 7:84 theatre companies – both long since defunct – for a blues-inflected socialist cabaret.

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3 March 2011 The Guardian

Staircase

By Charles Dyer. A Tron Theatre review.

LOOK on Amazon and you'll find a poster for sale for the film version of Staircase. It features Rex Harrison and Richard Burton dancing hand in hand, cocking their legs behind, with the slogan "Whoops!". This was 1969 and the subtext was clear: here were two straight movie icons camping it up for laughs.

10 November 2010 The Guardian

The Maids

By Jean Genet. A Tron/Glasgay theatre review.

IT is a particularly sour pair of ugly sisters who primp and preen around their mistress's boudoir in this all-male staging of the Jean Genet play for the Glasgay festival. Derek McLuckie's lanky, shaven-headed Solange and Wullie Brennan's portly, shuffling Claire are two working-class Glasgow housekeepers whose hatred of their place in the social pecking order has become a poison that eats away at them.

16 October 2010 The Guardian

Sea and Land and Sky

By Abigail Docherty. A Tron Theatre review.

ABIGAIL Docherty's play about nurses in the first world war is light on plot and heavy on reflection. At its best, it captures something of the carnage of Sarah Kane's Blasted and the desolation of Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children. Its strength is in the strange, hallucinatory air that undercuts the period realism, although it is a quality that alienates as much as it intrigues.

9 October 2010 The Guardian

Dirty Paradise

By Leann O'Kasi. A Tron Theatre review.

IT has the hallmarks of a run-of-the-mill one-woman show. Inspired by a Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez story? Check. Woman going on a voyage of self-discovery? Check. Flashbacks to troubled adolescence? Check. But there is something else going on in this 75-minute monologue, and it's not just the vibrant performance by writer Leann O'Kasi.

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12 July 2010 The Guardian

Valhalla!

By Paul Rudnick. A Tron Theatre review.

THE coalition government has just brought in Niall Ferguson to jazz up the school history curriculum. Despite the Harvard academic's talk of war games and television in the classroom, however, it is by no means certain he would give the thumbs-up to the retelling of history in Paul Rudnick's Valhalla! First seen in 2004, this boisterous American comedy filters the story of Ludwig II, the 19th-century king of Bavaria, through a gauze of such outrageous camp that Ð at least in Andy Arnold's exuberant production Ð it comes across more like a video by Adam and the Ants than a session with AJP Taylor.

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19 May 2010 The Scotsman

Address Unknown

By Frank Dunlop adapted from Kressmann Taylor. A Tron Theatre review.

OF ALL the traumas associated with the Second World War, one of the hardest to come to terms with is how people of good character could have thrown their support behind Hitler. Their betrayal produced, on a very big scale, the kind of shock caused by a lover who chooses a new partner; to the rejected party, it is as if there has been an inexplicable personality change. In the case of Germany, it is so difficult to explain that, over 60 years later, we are still trying to process it.

13 May 2010 The Scotsman

A Most Civil Arrangement/Jordan

By Colin Hough, and Moira Buffini and Anna Reynolds. A Tron Theatre review.

AFTER blasting off last week with incendiary visions of Iraq and Palestine, the Tron's new politically minded season, Mayfesto, looks closer to home. The two one-woman shows at the Changing Room consider same-sex marriage and domestic violence a nd, if neither quite upturns our preconceptions, both do a valuable job at giving a voice to the alienated.

11 May 2010 The Guardian

From the West Bank

By David Greig and Franca Rame. A Tron Theatre review.

After blanket coverage of the intricacies of the British political system, how refreshing to be reminded of the wider world. And how invigorating, in this opening salvo of Mayfesto, a two-week programme of politically inspired drama, to see it done so consummately.

25 February 2010 The Guardian

The City

By Martin Crimp. A Tron Theatre production

MARTIN Crimp's 2008 play is defined by political movements way beyond the suburban garden of Chris and Clair. No exchange between this professional couple is complete without some allusion to torture, warfare and abuse. The strain on their relationship – which goes from frosty to frigid in the taut performances of Ronnie Simon and Selina Boyack – is a consequence of a social order in which brute power is everything.

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18 February 2010 The Guardian

The Government Inspector

By Nikolai Gogol. A Tron Theatre/Communicado review.

THE gag about Barclays bank is not strictly necessary. The modern relevance of Nikolai Gogol's small-town satire has hit us long before the actor's off-the-cuff quip about bankers' bonuses. Such is the atmosphere of venality in Gerry Mulgrew's hilarious Communicado production that, despite the period setting, we are never far away from financial profiteers and expense-fiddling MPs.

18 February 2010 Northings

The Government Inspector

By Nikolai Gogol. A Tron Theatre/Communicado review.

"IT takes a lot of jockeys to run a one-horse town," says Andy Clark, playing Ivan Khlestakov, the man mistaken for a powerful St Petersburg official in Nikolai Gogol's hilarious satire. To cover up their corrupt behaviour, the locals have been only too willing to pay him off with cash bribes. No mean opportunist himself, Khlestakov has accepted their favours with enthusiasm.

4 December 2009 The Guardian

Ya Beauty and the Beast

By Gordon Dougall and Fetcher Mathers. A Tron Theatre review.

THERE was a time when you could attribute the Tron panto's usual blend of the traditional and the ironic to the postmodern sensibilities of writers Fletcher Mathers and Gordon Dougall. But today, the word "postmodern" no longer does its panto justice. It's as if it has been sucked into a black hole, thrown out the other side, and reconfigured in its own eccentric universe. Panto has eaten itself and Ya Beauty and the Beast is the result.

14 October 2009 The Guardian

That Face

By Polly Stenham. A Tron Theatre review.

SOMEONE once said the most alarming thing about Trainspotting was the thought that Begbie could be prowling the streets in real life. The same is true of Martha in That Face, a character who, like her namesake in Who's Afraid of ­ Virginia Woolf?, is recklessly charismatic, hopelessly drunk and frighteningly believable.

17 July 2009 The Guardian

Cooking with Elvis

By Lee Hall. A Tron Theatre review.

WHEN Newcastle's Live Theatre presented Lee Hall's black comedy a decade ago, it did so with such a surfeit of charm that you almost didn't notice its taboo-busting excess. Here was a play whose pivotal character was a quadriplegic with head trauma and yet, despite scenes of under-age sex, man-on-man hand-jobs and cannibalism – not to mention a great bestiality joke – it remained giddily funny and surprisingly innocent.

5 May 2009 The Guardian

Bliss/Mud

By Olivier Choinière and Maria Irene Fornes. Tron Theatre review.

IT is billed as "Tron Stripped" but, whatever the budget limitations, there is nothing low-rent about the intensity of this north American double bill. Seen individually, Bliss and Mud would pack a powerful punch; together, these bleak studies of the dispossessed are almost overwhelming.

12 February 2009 The Guardian

Defender of the Faith

By Stuart Carolan. Tron Theatre review.

THE first defender of the faith was Sir Thomas More. [CORRECTION: Henry VIII was given that title] Unwilling to sign up to Henry VIII's Protestant church, he was beheaded. For his commitment to Catholicism, he was made a saint. Fast-forward 450 years to Stuart Carolan's play and another Thomas is born. His role as defender of the faith, however, is altogether less high-minded. This is the Northern Ireland of 1986 and Thomas is in an IRA cell run by his ferocious father, Joe, who has become convinced there is an informer in their midst.

9 December 2008 The Guardian

Mother Bruce

By Gordon Dougall and Fletcher Mathers. Tron Theatre review.

TO say this year's Tron panto is conventional would be misleading. Any version of Mother Goose that, instead of a bird, features an Australian spider could hardly be called run-of-the-mill. And only at the Tron would you find a scene in which the cast of The Wizard of Oz at the nearby Citizens (or are they from The Wizard of Never Woz at the Pavilion?) alight at the wrong stop on the panto express and get caught up in the story. That's before the principal boy from Aladdin at the Edinburgh King's starts rubbing her lamp.

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3 November 2008 The Guardian

Suddenly Last Summer/Like the Rain

By Tennessee Williams. Tron Theatre review.

THERE is every reason to be impressed by the British Film Institute's 14-film Tennessee Williams retrospective coming up in London, but that shouldn't eclipse the achievement of the Tron. Andy Arnold's company is ticking off five of the playwright's shorter works on a single evening. If, after that, you still want more, you can follow a Williams strand in the citywide Glasgay! festival.

7 October 08 The Guardian

Six Acts of Love

By Ioanna Anderson. Tron Theatre review.

KATHERINE is a woman in need of a story. For much of the time in Ioanna Anderson's gentle comedy, though, you don't notice her dilemma because the fiftysomething Dublin mother of four seems to be surrounded by stories. There is the story of her husband Tom, who has run off with a young artist and started a new family; the stories of her grown-up sons and the lives they are forging for themselves; and the endless torrent of stories told by her mother Dorothy, desperately hanging on to her memories as dementia sets in.

19 May 2008 The Guardian

The Drawer Boy

By Michael Healey. Tron Theatre review.

ANDY Arnold begins his artistic directorship of the Tron where he left off in his old job - with stories. His swansong at Glasgow's Arches was a production of Tom Murphy's Bailegangaire in which two daughters crave the completion of their mother's favourite story so they can achieve resolution in their own lives. Now Arnold turns to Canadian writer Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy, a warm-hearted well-made play also about the way stories give us self-definition.

30 April 2008 The Guardian

The Wasp Factory

By Malcolm Sutherland. Tron Theatre review.

THE wanton destruction of rabbits; the murder of three children; maggots beneath the metal plate of a patient's head. Such is the shocking territory of Iain Banks's 1984 debut novel, and is the reason it has become cult reading.

8 May 2008 The Guardian

The Wall

By Daniel Jackson. Tron Theatre review.

IT seems they don't do subtext in Ayrshire. The teenagers in Daniel Jackson's gossamer-light rom-com cannot let a sentence go by without releasing an explosion of unsuppressed emotion. They accompany every moment of boy-meets-girl confusion, every foot-in-mouth misunderstanding, every clumsily expressed sexual urge with a pained gesture of adolescent turmoil. It is not subtle, but in Gregory Thompson's production for the Tron and Borderline it gets many a throwaway laugh.

18 October 2007 The Guardian

Antigone

Tron Theatre review.

YOU know you are watching a good production of a classical tragedy when you find yourself hoping it will all end happily. That is the case in David Levin's stripped-back staging of the Sophocles play, in which Antigone and her fiancee Haemon seem to have a fighting chance of persuading King Creon to allow the burial of her brother Polyneices instead of leaving the corpse to the flies. Played by the youthful Hannah Donaldson and David Ashwood, the couple are no match in authority for Jimmy Yuill's king, Haemon's father. Yet with right on their side, they let us imagine they can beat the odds.

30 April 2007 The Guardian

The Patriot

By Grae Cleugh. Tron Theatre review.

YOU'D imagine it would be a bit of a laugh for a playwright who wanted to satirise contemporary politics to hijack some creaky old theatrical form. The prewar well-made play, for example, would be ripe for parody. While we were chuckling at the obviousness of, say, the cliche of the wife who puts her life on hold for her husband's parliamentary career, the writer could deliver his broadsides against today's world of political compromise, expediency and spin.

11 December 2006 The Guardian

Wullie Whittington

by Fletcher Mathers and Gordon Dougall. Tron Theatre review.

THE big question was how the Tron panto, that silliest and most self-referential of institutions, would survive in the absence of writer Forbes Masson, who has opted out to concentrate on his acting career. I'm pleased to report the Masson-esque formula - if formula isn't too strong a word for such anarchic proceedings - is thriving in a show of cartoon-like boldness and energy.

23 November 2006 The Guardian

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare. Tron Theatre review.

THERE are many ideas washed up with the storm in Paddy Cunneen's staging of Shakespeare's island fantasy, but too few of them take root. Consider, for example, the bold set by Jonathan Fensom: a ship's container beached on a pile of tyres and stones, cracking open to free the passengers and - impressively - a grand piano. It is an image that suggests today's world of illegal immigrants, but nothing in the production follows the thought through.

14 December 2005 The Guardian

Weans in the Wood

By Forbes Masson. Tron Theatre review.

THERE'S always a suspicion when you're watching one of Forbes Masson's highly enjoyable pantos that the adults in the audience are having a better time than the kids. Masson delights in subverting the panto form and is as likely to deliver a gag about a gag as the gag itself.

November 2005 Variety

Ubu the King

By David Greig. Tron Theatre review.

WHEN Dominic Hill's arresting staging of Alfred Jarry's scatological classic reaches London at the end of November, it will be the final installment of the Young Genius season, a joint Barbican/Young Vic venture in celebration of those artists, such as Jarry, Robert Lepage and Christopher Marlowe, for whom inspiration struck early. Hill's own distinctive genius, however, has led him to place this "Ubu the King" not in a world of vigorous youth but in the altogether more doddery setting of a retirement home.

14 March 2005 The Guardian

Pyrenees

By David Greig. Tron Theatre review.

THEATRE is like church: you go there to know yourself better. That's an idea that playwright David Greig takes literally. His central character - known only as the Man, although he could be a Keith - doesn't know himself at all. He has lost his memory after a mystery accident in deep snow on a mountain pass.

22 December 2004 The Guardian

Aladdie

By Forbes Masson. Tron Theatre review.

AUDIENCES in London enjoying Forbes Masson as Horatio in the RSC's Hamlet can have little idea that the same man is responsible for quite the silliest pantomime in Scotland. Deliriously entertaining, his 21st-century reworking of Aladdin has an unbeatable joke-per-line ratio, excellent original songs and a small cast who enjoy the daft romp as much as the audience. Shakespeare it is not.

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3 September 2004 The Guardian

The Wonderful World of Dissocia

By Anthony Neilson. Tron Theatre review.

EISENSTEIN'S theory of montage is based on the idea that when presented with two unrelated images, the human brain will make a connection and find a meaning. This is a filmic concept, but it's the best way to get to grips with Anthony Neilson's brilliant and troubling new drama. I know of no other play where the meaning is contained neither in the first act nor in the second, but in the juxtaposition of the two. In this, it is as radical as anything we've seen in this year's festival.

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