Author Archives: glasgowtheatreblog

NEWS: FIRST NEW PRODUCTION IN 25 YEARS OF GREASE AT KING’S THEATRE

Following a highly acclaimed sold out 8-week run at Curve, the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE will tour the UK and Ireland in 2019, with a stop in Glasgow.

Directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, the electrifyn’ show will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 27 – Saturday 31 August 2019.

Casting is to be announced.

Nikolai Foster is Artistic Director at Curve, which has just celebrated its 10th birthday. For Curve, Nikolai has most recently directed An Officer and a Gentleman – The Musical, Scrooge, Sunset Boulevard, which won Best Musical at the Manchester Theatre Awards and Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards, Legally Blonde (also Opera Garnier, Monaco & Daegu Opera Festival, South Korea), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (also Theatre Royal Haymarket, London & UK tour) and A Streetcar Named Desire. Nikolai’s production of Annie completed a successful run at the Piccadilly Theatre, London earlier this year and is about to transfer to the Mirvish Theatre, Toronto.

Nikolai Foster said: “We are looking forward to working alongside Jim Jacobs, Colin Ingram and Arlene Philips on the return of our critically acclaimed, Made at Curve production of GREASE. Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical is an electrifying celebration of the birth of cool and teenage culture. It provides a gripping snapshot of a country on the cusp of social change, all set to one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll scores ever written. Curve audiences love GREASE and we are immensely proud to be sharing our production with audiences across the UK.”

Grease

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 19 – Sat 31 Aug 2019

ww.atgtickets.com/Glasgow

 

WHAT’S ON NOVEMBER: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists brought to life on stage

Townsend Theatre Productions has announced the return of its critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Robert Tressell’s 1914 novel, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

For the first time ever this new version of the play will be presented as a single performer show, featuring writer and actor Neil Gore, and will comprise an Edwardian Magic Lantern Show, political conjuring tricks and live music and song as the audience joins the performer through the events surrounding the renovation of a large townhouse, meeting the many familiar and infamous characters from the book.

Between 2011 and 2015 the company toured a two-man version of the show in a variety of venues across the country, receiving four and five star reviews from The Times, Liverpool Echo, Whatsonstage, and a recommendation from veteran film director Ken Loach.

Due the warm reception the play received across the country, Gore and director Louise Townsend have revised the production, transforming it into a one-man show complete with speeches, audience participation and songs from the classic book, featuring the Great Money Trick as its centrepiece.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a unique document. A novel of humour and sharply observed characterisation, it is also a passionate defence of socialist ideas and one of the first truly imaginative portrayals of life written from a working-class perspective.

The book charts a year in the lives of a group of painters and decorators in the town of Mugsborough at the turn of the last century. Haunted by fears of unemployment, the men struggle to keep their jobs at any cost but, in the course of events, some of them begin to realise that their condition of miserable poverty is neither ‘natural’ or ‘just’.

These workers, the ‘philanthropists’ of the title, who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poor wages to generate profit for their ‘masters’ are joined by an artist, Owen, whose spirited attacks on the dishonesty of capitalism, along with his socialist vision, highlight their workplace exploitation and the inequality in society as a whole.

Writer and adapter of the book, Neil Gore said: “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was published originally in 1914, but the themes explored in the book are still relevant today. When Tressell wrote the book, Britain was on the brink of war, and the majority of the population were living in a very tight economy with low wages and appalling working and living conditions.

“Questions were being raised about the reliability of those thought to be ‘masters’; and the capitalist system was under scrutiny by those who considered it responsible for massive and growing inequalities in society. These themes will resonate with many working and living in our current regime of austerity, where wages and working conditions are squeezed and where many struggle for the basic necessities of life in the midst of spiralling rises in the cost of living and housing. Meanwhile the richest in society just seem to be getting richer. Recent Government policy would seem to be driving us backwards into the vast inequalities that existed in Tressell’s time.

“What’s so special about the book, and what to expect from the play, is how it relates so closely to everyone’s experience of work: the workplace hierarchy; petty and amusing incidents of workplace rivalry; workers’ good-natured humour and banter; hostility to political change and the acceptance of greed as inevitable and a natural way of life.

“All these aspects of life will be portrayed through theatrical tricks, songs, Magic Lantern projection and skilled performance of lively, relevant characterisation and rich storytelling offering a good night out for all.”

November 15th Glasgow TUC
For more information visit: http://www.townsendproductions.org.uk/

WHAT’S ON OCTOBER: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)

Award-winning theatre company Silent Uproar is bringing its critically acclaimed musical cabaret about depression to Glasgow after wowing crowds and critics alike at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

As part of its first ever UK tour, Silent Uproar presents A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) at Tron Theatre from 25 to 27 October. Written by Olivier award-winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho) with music by Matthew Floyd Jones (Frisky and Mannish), prepare to laugh, cry and even get a song or two stuck in your head.

Influenced by the company’s personal experiences and informed by interviews with people living with mental health problems and medical professionals, it’s a joyful, buoyant, gleeful, slightly silly, sugar coated, unrelenting and completely super happy show! Except for all the bits about depression.

The show is supported by NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, which has not only funded performances at the University of Hull to raise awareness of mental health issues among students, but also arranged for the cast and crew to have mental health awareness training via Hull and East Yorkshire MIND. Silent Uproar is also hoping to have mental healthcare professionals at each performance. The idea is that if anybody is affected by the issues in the show, they will be able to talk to somebody afterwards.

Alex Mitchell, Artistic Director of Silent Uproar said: “We wanted to make a show that was entertaining, accessible and discussed depression without being a depressing show. From suffering with anxiety and bouts of depression, and seeing friends and loved ones suffer, I wanted something that said ‘do you know what it doesn’t matter if you feel sh*t today, it’s okay not to be okay. And most of all it’s okay to talk about it because the talking helps’.”

Silent Uproar is pioneering Pay What You Decide across this tour. Although commonly used by some venues, this is thought to be the first time a theatre company has used it across a tour. It is hoped the ‘try before you buy’ model adopted by the likes of Netflix, will attract new and more diverse audiences and more venues across the country will use it as a tool to develop audiences who might not currently think theatre is for them.

Dan Roper, Chair of NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.

“There is a growing body of research evidencing the positive role of the arts on health and wellbeing. We also know there is a strong link between poverty and mental health, yet low income can be a barrier to accessing the arts. By allowing audience members to pay what they can afford, this barrier is being removed, in effect putting them in control of their own social prescription.

The comedic and production style of the show draws from sources as diverse as Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Pixar’s Inside Out, Juno, and musicals like Cabaret and Chicago. The show won the Fringe First Award and Best Musical Award at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

To coincide with the show’s run at Tron Theatre, Tron Creative will be hosting several workshops addressing mental in the performing arts. These workshops are open to both members of Tron Theatre’s MAKER professional membership scheme, as well as non-members. Participants are invited to explore Self-Care in Conscious Theatre Practice with yoga instructor Lou Prendergast, as well as workshops focusing on Psychological Wellbeing in the Performing Arts with Dr Jane Oakland, an accredited BAPAM practitioner (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) and professional opera singer.

 

REVIEW: South Bend – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

The problem with actor/playwright Martin McCormick’s autobiographical (or so he claims) South Bend, is that the minute he asks the audience to “trust me”, it has the opposite effect. You desperately want to believe this tall tale, but the nagging seed of doubt is sown in those two words. That said, there’s no doubt that this is precisely what McCormick wants to achieve in his theatrical road movie.

Obsessed since childhood with the US, he dreams of the world of Saved by the Bell, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Blossom and Seinfeld. When he eventually arrives for a semester at college in California, his every childhood dream is fulfilled. There he falls in love. Unfortunately, his time there is limited, and he has to return home. With promises from his love to visit him in Scotland ringing in his ear, he heads home.

When time passes, and the phone doesn’t ring, he heads to South Bend, Indiana to find his girl. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go to plan. On the receiving end of hostilities from his girlfriend’s step-mother, McCormick finds himself in a domestic version of Dante’s nine circles of hell.

How much of these antics are actually reflective of McCormick’s real experiences is questionable but the quality of the storytelling is just enough to entertain. McCormick is a better playwright than actor and his delivery does detract at times, it plays like someone playing the part of McCormick, rather than the person who is supposed to have experienced this madness.

Live foley artist David A. Pollock effectively provides the on-stage sound effects and a very Glaswegian voice of reason and Jess Chanlieu is chameleon-like playing all other characters.

South Bend is ultimately an undemanding, entertaining hour of theatre, but there’s a nagging feeling that it could have been so much more.

Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

REVIEW: Opera Highlights (Scottish Opera) – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Four singers, one piano, seventeen venues, Scottish Opera’s much-anticipated Opera Highlights returns (yippee!) and as always, it never fails to delight.

Director Daisy Evans has framed this year’s production as an electronically created playlist of opera gems. An “on-stage opera newbie” goes on an “emotional musical voyage” discovering, via Spotify and Google via Alexa, just how music has the power to move. Evans is a director to watch, and her staging undoubtedly adds greatly to the enjoyment of the evening. It’s funny, clever, accessible, inclusive, all the things that good theatre of any genre should be. It also looks great. A neon door and window and a few wooden crates serve as the only stage dressing, but coupled with the brightly coloured suited, booted and co-ordinating nail-varnished cast, it works brilliantly.

Freed from the constraints of remaining in a single character, the singers’ personalities are given the chance to shine in a variety of roles, and the warmth just radiates from the quartet. The acoustics in this small auditorium are as close to ideal as it is possible to get in a theatre and the voices give goose bumps. Soprano Sofia Troncoso, Mezzo Sarah Champion, Tenor Richard Pinkstone, Baritone Dawid Kimberg are exceptional as is pianist Jonathon Swinard.

The programme, designed by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, delivers something for everyone. The range of composers, styles and moods, genuinely runs the gamut of human emotion.

Scottish Opera’s annual ‘Highlights’ tour, and indeed the whole of the company’s programming, is a model for how a national company should operate. A hands-down, five star, exemplary evening of entertainment.

Currently on tour to: Ayr, Drumnadrochit, Wick, Forres, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Lanark, Helensburgh, Dundee, Inverurie, Laurencekirk, Perth, Dumfries, Musselburgh and St. Andrews.

More information at Scottish Opera

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S ON SEPTEMBER: New performance about men and power discusses the rapidly changing landscape of Brexit Britain.

First performed to a shell-shocked audience the day Trump was elected back in 2016 – innovative performance artists and theatre makers Two Destination Language look at changing roles for men, the ‘safe spaces’ they build themselves, and how much they love wires. Tracing the history of Britain’s industrial decline since the 1975 vote to remain in the EU, Manpower admits the possibility: men haven’t worked for decades. 

(c) Alex Brenner

Manpower is on tour this autumn across Scotland and England. After a successful run of Fallen Fruit at Summerhall this Edinburgh Festival Fringe – a play about Bulgaria in the 1980s and 1990s and the parallels to today in the EU after the wall fell in Berlin 89, Two Destination Language are back on stage with a piece they created between the Brexit Vote and the shift to the right in US politics. 

(c) Alex Brenner 

The devised work is another very personal two-hander exploring how creators and performers Kat and Alister see, feel and think about gender, work and power. A lot has changed over the last century for men – traditional roles and expectations of masculinity are in flux. With these roles changing, continued privilege afforded to ‘the white male,’ and a political climate in which uses the marketing techniques of capitalism to shape fears and drive votes to allay them, Manpower has a lot to talk about. 

(c) Alex Brenner 

The show itself revolves around a wooden building, DIY live, built on stage…. As Alister builds Kat begins to tell the story of her perception of the British working class. As the show unfolds, against period-defining music tied to moments, movements and happenings all will be familiar with, the politics becomes more troubling and futile vacuity of political language is laid out. This is a performance by two people, about the situation we ALL find ourselves in today, and how the words that created it have become part of the problem. 

(c) Alex Brenner 

Two Destination Language have adopted a way of working that suits the current climate for theatre makers, bringing in practitioners from specialisms across the theatre spectrum to help get ideas onto the stage. For this show they are delighted to be working with dramaturg Ben Francombe who has previously worked with 1927Search Party and Paper Birds 

Led by artists Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie, Two Destination Language’s work explores questions of identity, belonging and culture. 

LISTINGS 

26th – 27th September – 8pm, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh  

29th September – 7.30pm, Tullynessle & Forbes Hall 

11th October – 8pm, Lyth Arts Centre, Wick  

24th October – 8pm, Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock 

25th October – 7pm, Platform, Glasgow 

Images: Alex Brenner

NEWS: Angela Hewitt joins the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra at Usher Hall for Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto

Following the opening concert from the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, the second concert in the Sunday Classics 2018-19 season sees the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra bring an evening of wonderfully varied music to the Usher Hall.

Japanese conductor Yutaka Sado and his Orchestra open with musical heroes not often referenced in the Usher Hall: the three wide-eyed sailors on shore leave in Bernstein’s foot-tapping musical On the Town. His feel-good Three Dance Episodes blend jazz, big band and classical to electrifying effect – and feature Bernstein’s hit tune ‘New York, New York’.

The remarkable Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt joins Orchestra and conductor for one of the most heroic piano concertos of them all. Beethoven’s noble Emperor Concerto was the composer’s last for the piano, and is cast on a grand scale, but its brilliant, breathtaking virtuosity melds effortlessly with tenderness and exquisite beauty.

The piece is an ideal match for Hewitt’s fresh, elegant, powerful playing. Born into a musical family, Hewitt started her piano education at the age of three and has gone on to win awards and fans across the world. In 2018 she was awarded Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the highest honour for an artist in Canada, an achievement that sits comfortably next to her 2006 OBE from Queen Elizabeth II.

‘Today I saw 16 swans. Lord God, what beauty!’ That’s how Sibelius himself described the inspiration for his visionary Fifth Symphony, a majestic hymn of praise to the natural wonders of his Finnish homeland. Teeming with life, surging with optimism, it propels the listener along to the unmatched orchestral grandeur of its ecstatic finale.

Sibelius’s Fifth forms the towering climax to a heroic programme from the superb Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, one of Austria’s most pioneering ensembles, who are making an eagerly awaited return under Chief Conductor Yutaka Sado following adored recent concerts at the Usher Hall.

Listings information:

Sunday 28 Oct 2018, 7.30pm

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

 

Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra

Yutaka Sado  Conductor

Angela Hewitt  Piano

 

Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Tickets available at www.usherhall.co.uk

Prices

£35 | £29 | £24 | £18 | £13.50

Full time students are entitled to tickets for £10 which can be booked in advance

Under 16s are entitled to free tickets when booked with a paying adult

Concessions available

**Please note a £1.50 transaction fee applies on the overall booking when purchasing online or over the phone (non-refundable)**

INTERVIEW: Scottish actor Martin Docherty currently touring Scotland with acclaimed play McLuckie’s Line.

Scottish actor Martin Docherty, who is currently touring Scotland with McLuckie’s Line chatted with Glasgow Theatre Blog about this hugely acclaimed show, coming to Glen Halls in Neilston on Tuesday 25 September and Eastwood Park Theatre on Wednesday 26 September.

Tickets are £9, available from: https://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/9670/McLuckies-Line.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

The play is a funny, sad , raw hard hitting monolougue about Lawrence McLuckie , an out of work actor and compulsive gambler who is waiting in a hospital corridor for his first session of Chemo after being diagnosed with cancer. He is also waiting on a call from his agent about the biggest part he will have ever had. He can’t stand the silence so he begins to talk.

And your role…

McLuckie’s Line is an old fashioned working class tale where I play 32 characters!

McLuckie is a nice guy who has been dealt a bad hand. He’s a great actor but like most actors he struggles to get work. He has always seen life as a bit of a gamble but the stakes are really high. He ponders his life as he faces his mortality.

How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?

The play is very Glaswegian and goes down a storm in Glasgow and the surrounding area but it is also going down well in Inverness, Dundee and Stirling. People no matter where can relate to Mcluckie or other characters in the play.

What is life like backstage on tour?

Life backstage on this show is different from any other I’ve done mainly because I’m on my own. It can get a bit lonely. I have to ensure the lights, sound queues etc are spot on and ensure before I leave the house that I have everything as there is no stage manager. I feel I’m learning all the time though I could do with a chum now and again.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?

The travelling and performing is something I’m used to as an actor.  It can be tough and a little stressful relying on Scotrail. I tend to get to the venue around 2.30pm, run the technical stuff then try and relax. Then ensure I have a good meal and get home asap to get enough sleep. It’s tricky trying to peak at 7.30pm but like I say I’ve been acting for 21 years so my body is used to it, I guess.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I started acting when I was 10 years old thanks to my sister who was in an amateur company. My first part was the Artful Dodger in Oliver. I auditioned for the RSAMD when I was 20, was accepted and I loved it. It truly is my dream job and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

Advice for actors…..I would say only do it if it really is your dream. Be prepared to take rejection and have periods without work and constantly work at your craft.  When not working spend at least an hour doing something, your voice, your physicality, sight read the newspaper. You must always be trying to improve.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? and where else can we see it?

People should come and see McLuckie’s Line as it deals with many issues that can affect us all . You’ll laugh, you may cry. It’s just me, three chairs and some props . There is no fancy set or costumes . It’s theatre stripped back to pure storytelling. Most importantly I think you’ll have a good night out at the Theatre. There is something for everyone I’m McLuckie’s Line. Writer Martin (Traverse) and I are very proud of it.

Glen Halls in Neilston on Tuesday 25 September and Eastwood Park Theatre on Wednesday 26 September.

Tickets are £9, available from: https://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/9670/McLuckies-Line.

NEWS: New site WeAudition offers actors an innovative way to rehearse and audition

Actors and performers can benefit from one-on-one career advice from industry professionals, audition or take general meetings with casting directors and agents with new site WeAudition.com. Casting Directors, Producers, Agents & Managers can also create a video room to meet actors and record auditions. Private invite or open calls, all with superior video quality.

ACTORS CAN:

  • Rehearse though video chat with other actors around the world on demand
  • Record your self-tapes with a video partner
  • Submit to auditions and general meetings
  • Get career advice, one-on-one from industry professionals
  • Superior video quality, no downloads needed
  • Earn money by rehearsing with and coaching other actors
  • Save time and money not traveling to auditions and rehearsals
  • Network with other professional working actors

CASTING DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS:

  • Use easily with your preferred submissions service
  • Record, save and send best takes
  • Superior video quality, no downloads needed
  • Direct and interact with actors
  • Fast, efficient waiting room system
  • Great for pre-reads or location casting

Glasgow Theatre Blog is offering a discount code for the site.

Using the code: GTB25 , Glasgow Theatre Blog Readers can receive a huge 25% discount.

Visit WeAudition.com for more info and check out @WeAudition on Twitter


FUN FROM THE ARCHIVES: Broadway Bears

With the blog nearly seven years old and while flicking through the archives, I stumbled upon some posts from the early days of the site that I’d forgotten about. So in this short series of blasts from the past, here are some fun favourites that deserve another airing.

First up it’s Broadway Bears.

For 15 years The Broadway Bears, the annual auction of handmade, one-of-a-kind, theatrically costumed teddy bears raised money for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS appeal. 2012 saw the final auction and was among the most spectacular, bringing the total collected for the charity to more than 2 million dollars.

Can you name all of the musicals involved? Answers at the end of each gallery.

Cats, Grease, Jersey Boys, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Follies, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, The Producers and War Horse.

Avenue Q, Beauty and the Beast, Billy Elliot, Evita, Jerusalem, Mamma Mia, Shrek, Sister Act and Wicked.

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