Review: The Duke

As I file into Traverse 2, escaping from the dreary early April chill, an unexpected handshake and warm greeting from actor/playwright Shôn Dale-Jones welcomes me and every other audience member to his show as if we were mates coming round for a blether. It’s a conversational tone that will continue throughout the one-man performance, as Dale-Jones weaves a tale that blurs reality with fantasy, comedy with pathos, touching on subjects both tragic and mundane.

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Review: How To Disappear

It’s not an easy task pulling off genuine laugh-out-loud moments in what is ostensibly a grim play about benefit cuts. And yet Morna Pearson’s script, even as it plunges into bleakness, transcends it. From the cluttered and claustrophobic bedroom that serves as the set, to siblings Robert (Owen Whitelaw) and Isla (Kirsty Mackay), doing their best to get through life in harsh circumstances, there is an intriguing underlying suggestiveness willing us to look beyond these surfaces.

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Review: Cinderella

I’ll admit it – I love panto. Done well, it’s absolutely brilliant. And to those who say, “Oh no it isn’t!” don’t worry. I have done my utmost to ensure that this is an impartial review, free of catchphrases and corny one-liners. How, you ask? My response – take someone to the show who most decidedly DOES NOT want to come. Okay, he’s not quite five years old and doesn’t even properly know what panto is, but still. He’s not going, my opinionated companion tells me, and that’s that.

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Review: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Having never spent more than an hour in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and those few visits all related to coming or going somewhere else, I’m not sure what to expect from a five-day sojourn. What will a film & media festival be like in this small coastal town? I imagine tramping back and forth from my accommodation to a few different venues, seeing most of the things worth seeing after a couple of days. I certainly don’t imagine that I will leave having missed things I wanted to see, or with the feeling that there were even more places to discover than I had time for.

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Review: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

There is a moment when, sitting in the cavernous bubble of the SSE Hydro, the heads of the crowd below me lit by droplets of swirling colour, I experience a feeling that I, and everyone else in this gigantic space, are one single breathing organism. While the pulsating rhythm and bass hum of the Bad Seeds provide the backdrop, Nick Cave wraps his voice around us and pulls us into his universe. Yes it is dark, and takes us to landscapes of long black cars driving through desert nights, of blood and loss, and pistols shots cracking the sky. But there is celebration in this world too, and Cave’s mesmerizing delivery draws his audience in to share it.

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