Author Archives: glasgowtheatreblog

REVIEW: The Wandering Hearts – Broadcast, Glasgow

Having spent weeks at the top of the Country Artist Album chart, the talent and quality of London-based ‘country, folk-pop’ group The Wandering Hearts won’t be confined to intimate venues like Glasgow’s Broadcast for long.

Thirty minutes after uploading two demos to SoundCloud, the group, then called The Paper Hearts, caught the attention of Decca Records, who invited them to audition one month later, and signed them on the spot. A small name change, a turn supporting the Brothers Osbourne, an appearance at the C2C Festival and here we are on their first headline tour.

Read the rest of this review at:



REVIEW: Irit – Òran Mór, Glasgow

Irit Dekel’s life story is almost as colourful as her music. The Tel Aviv native has been an Israeli Army sniper, actress, TV host, film-maker and comedian and is in Glasgow with her three-piece band to showcase her debut solo album Happy.

Her sun-soaked sound transports, instead of sub-zero Scotland, it’s the sound of Parisian pavements, middle eastern rhythms, Astrid Gilberto, Buena Vista Social Club, and a dash of Piaf.

There’s a bite to the lyrics behind the catchy melodies, and Dekel describes some of the life experiences that have influenced the songs, one particularly affecting is based on her military service and the paralysing of her bunk mate in a freak gun accident. That said, the over-riding feeling is one of joy. The rhythms infectious. There’s also an original take on R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People.

Irit Dekel is offering up something original with this east-west hybrid of influences. An antidote to the grey world outside the doors. Highly recommended.


WHAT’S ON MARCH: David Callaghan’s Dead Man’s Chest at Glasgow International Comedy Festival

Talented Young Comic Promises Inimitable Adventure 

Rising star comedian David Callaghan presents a unique choose-your-own-adventure show that promises to be a one-off spectacle. Join Callaghan in this tech led stand-up show where the audience controls the story through their smart phones. Callaghan combines two of Britain’s most beloved institutions (Taggart and the Internet) to lead the audience on a ludicrous, laugh-filled adventure. Set in 1996 and led by famous washed-up theatre director David Callaghan (no relation), our adventure follows murder and mayhem.  There promises to be nothing like this show anywhere else in the festival (or the world). IT wunderkind Callaghan combines his charming, offbeat comedy with his innovative tech skills to create a joyous, nostalgic and surreal experience. There are 269 billion different possible versions of this show, guaranteeing a supremely unique event. 

Callaghan’s thrilling, absurd and hilarious show is a one of a kind slice of the festival, a must-see that beautifully demonstrates his talents and puts him at the forefront of new and innovative British comedy. 


‘He really hits the mark, and scores’ **** TheReviewsHub

7.30pm, 16th March, McPhabbs, Sandyford Place, Glasgow

Twitter @DavidCallaghan

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Chilling new production Velvet Evening Séance comes to Platform on Friday 2 March

Velvet Evening Séance is the fascinating, chilling tale of a young man on trial for the murder of his brother. It arrives in Glasgow following a successful Scottish tour and will be at Platform on Friday 2 March at 7pm.

Inspired by a true story and set in the Victorian era, Velvet Evening Séance recounts the story of young medium James McGregor who is on trial for the murder of Thomas – the defendant’s brother and partner in spiritualism. In an effort to clear his name, James uses a loophole in the Victorian court system which allows him to call on his brother to speak from beyond the grave as a witness in the murder case.

Velvet Evening Seance dress rehearsal at Aberdeen Lemon Tree.

Combining storytelling, illusion, tricks and puppetry, Velvet Evening Séance winds around a compelling narrative, all set in the gothic surroundings of a candle-lit courtroom, with ingenious set design and a stunning, original score played live on stage.

Performed by Scott Gilmour with music composed and performed by Jim Harbourne, Velvet Evening Séance is a co-production between Freshly Squeezed Productions and Ross MacKay, a renowned Scottish director and Artistic Director of visual theatre company Tortoise in a Nutshell. It is written by multi award-winning playwright Suzie Miller.

Ross said: “In a world full of half-truths and fake news, Velvet Evening Séance feels more relevant than ever. It really puts the audience on the edge of their seats and asks them what do they really believe?  I am delighted the show has been given the opportunity to be performed to audiences across the length and breadth of Scotland. It has been fantastic to work with a world-class, inspiring team and it is a real honour to be representing Freshly Squeezed Productions with this national production.”

Launched last year, Freshly Squeezed Productions (FSP), is Aberdeen Performing Arts’ new producing arm. Through FSP, Aberdeen Performing Arts champions, supports and produces new work, new voices and new talent across art forms and works with local and national actors and artists.

Velvet Evening Séance


Friday 2 March 2018, 7pm

Age 14 yrs+

Tickets £8.50/£5/£4 (Local Links)

Booking: / 0141 276 9696

Platform, The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow, G34 9JW

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Smash hit Spring Awakening at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in March

The smash hit musical Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik based on the play by Frank Wedekin, will be at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from Sat 10th Mar – Fri 16th March.

Winner of 8 Tony awards, 4 Oliviers and a Grammy for best original cast album, Spring Awakening redefined the boundaries between music and theatre with its fusion of adolescent angst-fuelled anthems.

A group of emotionally unprepared teenagers try to understand their strong, new, thrilling and scary feelings. What’s right and what’s wrong? What are the rules? How far can they be pushed and what happens when you break them?

Desires, emotions and hormones smash and explode in this hard hitting punk-rock musical.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)
All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe

Please Note: This production contains adult themes, and may not be suitable for younger children.

Wed 14 Mar / 7.30pm – Signed in BSL by Amy Cheskin and Iain Hodgetts.


REVIEW: Flight – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis’ contemporary opera Flight is almost universally loved and with good reason. A knockout score and a story filled with both drama and humour make it a hit with audiences world wide.

Image: James Glossop

Beginning as a story about a series of couples stranded at an airport due to electrical storms, librettist De Angelis discovered the real-life story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri stranded at Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 (a story which spawned a book The Terminal Man; French movie Tombés du ciel (Lost in Transit); the Steven Spielberg film The Terminal; short story The Fifteen Year Layover; two documentaries Waiting For Godot at De Gaulle and Sir Alfred of Charles De Gaulle Airport as well as the mockumentary Here To Where) and she and Dove wove the story of a refugee hiding at the terminal around the more comic aspects of the opera. The relationships unravel and entwine and all the while the refugee strives to overcome his plight.

Image: James Glossop

Many of the cast reprise their roles from the previous Opera Holland Park production (Jennifer France as the Controller, Victoria Simmonds as Minskwoman and James Laing as the Refugee) and their comfort and familiarity with the roles shows, especially Countertenor Laing whose voice gives goose bumps) however, while France has an impressive top range she was a little underpowered at times). Peter Auty (Bill) and Stephanie Corley (Tina) provide comic relief as the long-married couple seeking to spice up their marriage as do Jonathan McGovern and Sioned Gwen Davies as the randy Steward and Stewardess.

Image: James Glossop

Image: James Glossop

The music has a mid-century cinema musical feel – almost Bernstein or Gershwin-like, it is, at all times, melodic and an absolute joy to the ear. However, personally I can’t help wonder if it would have sounded better for being less ‘operatic’ and more ‘musical theatre’: the operatic voices, in this production all excellent, don’t entirely do the fabulous score justice.

Image: James Glossop

This re-imagined production by director Stepehn Barlow and the design team of Andrew Riley, Richard Howell and Jack Henry James is an absolute joy to watch and listen to, a welcome addition to this season’s operatic programme at Scottish Opera and one not to miss.

Image: James Glossop

The production continues at Glasgow Theatre Royal until 24 February then at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 1 to 3 March 2018. 

REVIEW: Beautiful the Carole King Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Beginning with the now famous Carnegie Hall concert in June 1971 to celebrate her seminal album Tapestry, Beautiful the Carole King Musical, quickly flashes back 14 years to a 16-year-old King (then just plain Carol Joan Klein) about to sell her first song (It Might as Well Rain Until September) to Don Kirshner at Aldon Music. In the blink of an eye, King has a new name, is pregnant, married to the man who would become her world-famous song writing partner, Gerry Goffin, and churning out hit after hit.

King’s isn’t a tale of sunshine and rainbows, there’s a world of pain behind the boppy pop songs making it more than the straight-forward jukebox musical: young motherhood and marriage, self-doubt and Goffin’s mental collapse and chronic infidelity. It also explores the friendly rivalry between Goffin and King and fellow song writers (and real-life partners) Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann at their Times Square hit factory at 1650 Broadway. The relatable human aspects of the tale, despite the fame and acclaim of the main protagonists, give it a greater resonance with its audience.

For all the moments of drama the story is pretty functional but it still manages to tug at the heart strings in all the right places. The story having been given the inevitable American gloss-over, it’s left to the songs to carry the tale. And what songs: Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up on the Roof, One Fine Day, The Loco-Motion and Pleasant Valley Sunday from Goffin and/or King, and Mann and Weil’s Walking in the Rain and On Broadway, to name a few. If there’s one criticism of the music it’s that many of the songs are presented as works in progress, snippets rather than full production numbers and it leaves you, on most occasions, begging for more, more, more. The full production numbers like the Drifters On Broadway and particularly The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, Barry Mann’s rendition of We Gotta Get Out of This Place and King’s own (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman and You’ve Got a Friend give you goose bumps.

Bronté Barbé, while not entirely the epitome of King, her voice is a tad nasal, does capture her essence, and when at full belt is utterly electrifying. Amy Ellen Richardson’s Cynthia Weil is a knockout, her energy levels and roof-raising voice are a treat. Kane Oliver Parry is a nicely judged Gerry Goffin, the object of our ire for the evening, and Matthew Gonsalves excels as the fantastically comic, and hugely talented hypochondriac, Barry Mann. The ensemble are first rate, doubling up as the roster of hit acts who recorded King’s songs.

Fundamentally, Beautiful is the story of one woman quite literally finding her voice. After a career providing hits for some of the biggest artists of the 60s, King emerges from the shadows, uses the highs and lows of her life and finally claims the limelight for herself. Both empowering and entertaining, a ‘must-see’.

Runs until 17 February 2018 | Image: Birgit & Ralf Brinkhoff

This review was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub


The Citizens Theatre has released casting details for its forthcoming co-production with HOME, Manchester, of Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which runs from 13 Apr – 5 May at the Citizens Theatre and at HOME, Manchester from 9 – 16 May.

Long regarded as one of the greatest American dramas of the 20th century, Long Day’s Journey Into Night delves into the private lives and failings of the conflicted Tyrone family. Due to the intensely personal nature of the play O’Neill refused for it to be performed in his own lifetime, though when it was finally staged in 1956, it would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play.

George Costigan, who is best known for portraying Bob in Alan Clarke’s 1987 film Rita, Sue and Bob Too, leads a cast of five in the role of the embittered washed-up actor and negligent father, James Tyrone.

In recent years George has starred in numerous quality TV drama series including Line of Duty, Happy Valley, Vera and Scott & Bailey and has also worked with Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Dominic Hill on acclaimed productions including Crime and Punishment, King Lear and Oresteia: This Restless House.

 Lorn Macdonald is familiar to Citizens Theatre regulars for his “spectacularly brilliant” (Scotsman) performance as Renton in Gareth Nicholls’ Trainspotting, and for the role of Orestes in Dominic Hill’s critically acclaimed production of Zinnie Harris’s The Oresteia: This Restless House. In Long Day’s Journey Into Night Lorn plays Edmund Tyrone – a character modelled on Eugene O’Neill himself.

Playing opposite George is Bríd Ní Neachtain in the role of troubled wife and mother Mary Cavan Tyrone. A longstanding member of the renowned Abbey Theatre company, Bríd has a host of film and TV credits to her name, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night marks her debut on the Citizens stage.

They will be joined by Sam Phillips as the couple’s elder son, James Tyrone Jr. Sam’s screen credits include appearing alongside Martin Sheen in Far From the Madding Crowd and the BBC One TV drama, The Syndicate, with stage appearances including the National Theatre’s renowned production of The History Boys.

The cast is completed by Dani Heron as Cathleen. Dani recently graduated from London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art with a first class degree in acting.

Backstage, Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director Dominic Hill heads a creative team including regular collaborators Designer Tom Piper (Hay Fever, Endgame, The Libertine, Hamlet and King Lear) and Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod (Oresteia: This Restless House, King Lear, Hamlet). Award-winning Composer Claire Mckenzie and Sound Designer Matt Padden will also join the team.

Rehearsing and opening at the Citizens Theatre, the production will play at co-producers HOME, Manchester from 9 – 26 May, following their previous successful collaboration on Endgame in 2015.

NEWS: Dog casting confirmed after Legally Blonde auditions

Last month, the producers of the smash-hit musical Broadway and West End production issued a casting call issue the role of Rufus, character Paulette Bonafonté’s dog.

Legally Blonde the Musical will run at the King’s Monday 23-Saturday 28 April.

A British Bulldog was the preferred breed however other dogs were welcome to apply if they had a “brutish nature”.

Among the 12 dogs selected to audition at Theatre Royal on Wednesday 14 February were British Bulldogs, a Chow Chow and a Husky.

Each pooch had five minutes to impress the judging panel which was formed of David Barrett, Associate Director of Legally Blonde, Helen Petrovna, who will play Brooke in the show and Robyn Davis from the King’s and Theatre Royal.

The judges then selected the final three pooches before calling them to back to make a choice on the ultimate candidate.

The three final three dogs were Diniro from Netherburn, Tia from East Kilbride and Guinness from Penilee, all of whom were bulldogs.

The standout contestant for the judging panel however was bulldog Diniro thanks to his laidback attitude.

David Barrett said: “We had a great turn out in Glasgow and we were very impressed with the talent each dog had.

“It was an incredibly difficult decision but we unanimously decided on Diniro due to his fantastic relaxed temperament in the exercises during the audition.

“We can’t wait to welcome him to the Legally Blonde company upon out arrival in Glasgow.”

Deniro’s owner Annis Sweeney, said she was thrilled and that this would be Deniro’s stage debut.

She added: “He has always been very laid back. He’s like this all the time, it’s in his nature,

“He loves being around the people so he’ll have a great time with the Legally Blonde cast.”

Deniro will star alongside, Eastender’s Rita Simmons, Eurovision singer Lucie Jones, Emmerdale’s Bill Ward and  of course, Elle’s dog Brusier.

Legally Blonde the Musical is an all singing, all dancing romantic comedy, a fun-filled, feel-good pink fest.

The popular tale tells of college sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods who doesn’t take no for an answer. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone more serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law School while proving that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

Based on the Reese Witherspoon film, Legally Blonde the Musical earned seven Tony nominations and 10 Drama Desk Award nominations during its Broadway run.




Eastwood Park Theatre has lined up three special shows of music, comedy and dance, to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) and Mother’s Day (11 March).

Catch big band music with Back to Bacharach on 8 March, comedy with Gary Lamont: Dropping the Soap on 9 March and dance production Virago on 10 March.

Jude Smith from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure said: “There is something on offer for everyone during our three day celebration, from light-hearted comedy with Gary Lamont to the thought-provoking and inspiring Virago.

“A small donation from ticket sales from the big band show Back to Bacharach will also be donated to a very important charity, Breast Cancer Now, which helps hundreds of women across the UK.”

A live ten piece band, three of the finest west end singers and Burt Bacharach’s famous hits – Back to Bacharach on 8 March is sure to be a huge hit. Eastwood Park presents the only Glasgow date of the show, featuring the work of the most accomplished popular composers of the 20th Century. This show is jam packed with big songs including I Say a Little Prayer for You, Walk on By and What’s New Pussycat.

Comedy fans are in for a treat when former River City star and Glasgow southsider Gary Lamont comes back to his roots with his show Gary Lamont: Dropping the Soap on Friday 9 March. Look out for guest stars Claire from Steps, Martine McCutcheon and Graham Norton who will be featured along the way…

Celebrate International Women’s Day with a dance-digital solo production on Saturday 10 March. Virago is a vibrant, compelling and brave show, exploring light versus dark and the real versus fairytale versions of female existence. Virago, which means ‘female warrior’ in Latin, is both a protest and a celebration – come and be part of the revolution.

Book tickets now, visit:

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