The Guardian 5 October 2022

It’s a cosmopolitan place, the court of James IV of Scotland. In the earthy crucible of Jon Bausor’s set, you hear Spanish, French, Scots, Gaelic – even English.

With so much international traffic around him, the 16th-century king, played with relaxed authority by Daniel Cahill, knows he has the eyes of Europe on him. “This is a place of peace,” he spits out, making it sound like a threat.

Peaceful though it may be, with its tournaments and deer hunting, this is a court on edge. In Rona Munro’s expansive history play, the fourth in a series that began with James I, everyone is insecure. “I’ve climbed up from dirt and now I cling,” says Blythe Duff as Dame Phemy, the queen’s attendant who, beneath the politeness, is a coarse and hard-bitten survivor. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).