13 Oct 2019 The Guardian

The Panopticon

By Jenni Fagan. A National Theatre of Scotland review.

ANNA Russell-Martin doesn't crack a smile. Playing Anais Hendricks, the 15-year-old resident of a Midlothian care home, she is stony-faced, laser-eyed and sour. "That's a pretty grimace you've got there," says Louise McMenemy as fellow resident Shortie, knowing a grimace is as good as she'll get. Anais sneers back. She is a product of a system that has taught her neither to trust nor give ground. Her voice prowls round the bass notes, assertive, sharp, ever ready to strike. It would scare you to meet her.

TheCheviotTheStagandtheBlackBlackOil2019TommyGaKenWan2824 May 2019 The Scotsman

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil

By John McGrath. A National Theatre of Scotland review.

EARLY on in the National Theatre of ScotlandÕs raucous revival of John McGrathÕs 1970s classic, actor Jo Freer asks the women in the audience to stand. When they do so, she delivers a speech that is as shocking as it is matter of fact. It is a litany of the punishments meted out to women who resisted the authorities during the Highland clearances of the 18th century. With the explicitness of a modern-day horror movie, she lists the whippings, head injuries and sexual assaults they suffered simply for defending their homes. The political message is unambiguous


15 April 2018 The Guardian


By Frances Poet. A Traverse/NTS theatre review.

WHEN Iago causes Othello to doubt himself, it only takes the slightest trigger for the seed of jealousy to take root. It’s the same in Frances Poet’s Gut, except what gnaws away at Kirsty Stuart’s Maddy, turning her from a sparky young mother into a neurotic creature of violent intent, is the possibility – just the possibility – that her toddler, Joshua, has been abused by a stranger. The evidence is as circumstantial as Desdemona’s misplaced handkerchief, but such is her protective instinct – initially supported and sometimes exceeded by Peter Collins as her even-tempered husband – that she starts to see danger everywhere.

27 Aug 2017 Scotland on Sunday

How to Act

By Graham Eatough. A National Theatre of Scotland review

YOU'LL recognise the type. He’s the guy who looks as if he’s got all the answers. Charismatic in his laidback way, he fancies himself as a bit of a guru – although he’s too full of false modesty to say so. He’s here to lead a theatre workshop and he likes to give the impression it’s all about you, the participants, and not about him. But, of course, it’s all about him. Played by Robert Goodale with a shrewdly observed combination of apparent generosity and concealed conceit, fictional theatremaker Anthony Nicholl reckons he’s dug deep enough into the human experience to find a universal language. In Graham Eatough’s excellent How To Act, presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, he describes how his journeys with a theatre troupe into the remote corners of Nigeria helped him learn to communicate in a place where there is no common tongue.

20 Aug 2017 Scotland on Sunday


By Jo Clifford. A National Theatre of Scotland review

THERE'S another example when we return to Chris Goode. He’s the co-writer of Eve, Jo Clifford’s memoir about a life lived as a woman trapped in a man’s body and her eventual transition from John to Jo. Goode is a prolific theatre-maker and Clifford has 90 plays to her name. That should be reassurance enough to know it can’t have escaped their notice that the form of Eve is quietly experimental. Rather than a conventional drama with protagonist set against antagonist and with an issue in need of resolution, this National Theatre of Scotland production is theatre as self-portrait. Clifford has never written anything quite like it.


23 Jun 2017 The Guardian

Room to roam: how Scotland's vagabond national theatre broke free

A National Theatre of Scotland blog

FOR two or three centuries, national theatres have been based in grand culture palaces, with their colonnades, proscenium arches and chandeliers. For little more than a decade, the National Theatre of Scotland has been a theatre “without walls”. If you want to see an NTS show, you have to find it first. The idea takes a little getting used to, but the absence of a building is fundamental to how the organisation operates. Far from being a limitation, it can be artistically liberating. This company is shape-shifting. It can be what it wants.


11 May 2017 The Guardian

The 306: Day

By Oliver Emanuel. An NTS/Perth/Stellar Quines theatre review

ONE day last summer, thanks to the artist Jeremy Deller, silent soldiers from the first world war mysteriously appeared on UK streets like ghosts urging us to reflect on our collective past. Around the same time – and as part of the same 14-18 Now cultural programme – the National Theatre of Scotland presented The 306: Dawn, a tribute to those men who lost their lives during the conflict not as heroes but as “cowards”. Whether through fear, pacifism or trauma, they were soldiers who had fled their positions and paid the price at the hands of their own side. In the second part of his trilogy, playwright Oliver Emanuel brings us home, to the munitions factories, post offices and street corners of Britain, where a domestic army of women are keeping the country going. But these are not the happy workers of patriotic myth. Rather they are the bolshie agitators of a disenfranchised sex, the suffragettes and militants who know their worth, know they are being exploited and know the futility of war.




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