Tag Archives: A NEW LIFE

REVIEW: A New Life – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

It all starts off chirpy enough in Andy McGregor’s musical, A New Life. Career-driven Jess and Robbie’s only worries are where their next exotic destination is going to be or whether they should get a new SMEG fridge. She’s on track to be the headteacher of her primary school, his latest computer game is about to be picked up by Nintendo. As we all know, the most predictable thing about life is its unpredictability, and a great big baby-shaped spanner is thrown in the works with a very unplanned pregnancy.

McGregor tackles some tough subject matter here: post-partum depression; the grim reality of what motherhood can make you; suicide. He dares to say the unsayable, but is it best delivered through the medium of musical theatre? McGregor can really write a tune and there are some real crackers here. However, the tunes (and their sublime delivery by Kim Shepherd) are not enough to carry this new work – not yet anyway.

The relationship between Jess and Robbie (Kim Shepherd and Simon Donaldson) is presented as a given, but there’s no time to establish their real bond, or for you to get on-side and root for them. The work is only around 80 minutes long and you’d be forgiven for rushing to the heart of the matter, but the descent into darkness is steep and prolonged, taking up much of the running time. The only (and much needed) light relief comes in the form of six-foot, nappy wearing, tap dancing, back-talking baby Barry (Stephen Arden) who steals the show with his outrageous antics.

Hats off to McGregor for even trying to tackle the subject matter and he delivers a dose of harsh reality in a largely palatable way. However, the balance between the light relief and the hard-hitting realities is a little off kilter. Never one to ask for a work’s running time to be extended, A New Life has huge potential and with a bit of work could strike the right balance and take its place at the vanguard of new musical theatre writing.

Reviewed on 29 October 2022 at the Tron Theatre and continues to tour Scotland with Crocodile Rock | Image: Tim Morozzo

 

WHAT’S ON: ANDY MCGREGOR’S CROCODILE ROCK AND A NEW LIFE – BOTH AT THE TRON THIS MONTH

Sleeping Warrior Theatre Company in association with Beacon Arts Centre and Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse have announced the 2022 tour of Crocodile Rock and A New Life
 
Both shows are written by Andy McGregor, the creator of the critically acclaimed SPUDS, and designed by Kenny Miller with lighting by Grant Anderson. The cast for both shows includes Stephen ArdenKim Shepherd and Simon Donaldson. Performing Musical Director is Andy Manning
 
Crocodile Rock
It’s 1997, it’s Millport and Steven McPhail is bored. He’s 17 and it’s now time to work out what to do with the rest of his life. The problem is, there’s only so many options when you find yourself stuck on a Scottish island.
 
Everything changes when a chance encounter with a glorious drag queen shows Steven a world he never knew existed. A one-man musical featuring original music, Crocodile Rock is a story about finding yourself, understanding others and being true to those you love.
A New Life
Robbie and Jess are living the life.
 
He’s a successful computer programmer and she is on her way to being a headteacher. Until totally out of the blue, Jess discovers she is pregnant.
They’ll be fine. It’s just a baby. I mean…how disruptive to their metropolitan, 21st century lives can that be?
They. Have. No. Idea.
 
A heartfelt, surreal and truthful musical comedy that may or may not feature a tap-dancing baby…!
 
Crocodile Rock and A New Life are touring to Greenock, Glasgow, Falkirk, Bathgate, Stirling, Kilmarnock, Largs, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Aberdeen.
 
TOURING TO:

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock 
Sat 24 Sep | A New Life | 2.30pm 
£12/£10 | 01475 723 723 | beaconartscentre.co.uk
 
Sat 24 Sep | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm 
£12/£10 | 01475 723 723 | beaconartscentre.co.uk
 
Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Wed 28 Sep | Crocodile Rock | 7:30pm 
£19/£16/£14.50 0141 552 4267 | tron.co.uk
 
Thu 29 Sep | A New Life  | 7.30pm
£19/£16/£14.50 0141 552 4267 | tron.co.uk
 
Fri 30 Sep | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm
£19/£16/£14.50 | 0141 552 4267 | tron.co.uk
 
Sat 1 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 2.30pm
£19/£16/£14.50 | 0141 552 4267 | tron.co.uk
 
Sat 1 Oct | A New Life | 7.30pm
£19/£16/£14.50 | 0141 552 4267 | tron.co.uk
 
Reconnect Regal Theatre, Bathgate 
Sun 2 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm 
£12/£10 | 01506 639 000 | reconnectregaltheatre.com
 
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling 
Sat 8 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm
£15.50/£13.50 | 01786 466 666 | macrobertartscentre.org
 
FTH Theatre, Falkirk
Sun 9 Oct | A New Life | 7pm
£15 (includes a drink and a pie) | 01324 506 850 | falkirkleisureandculture.org
 
CentreStage, Kilmarnock 
Sat 15 Oct | A New Life | 2pm 
£12/£10 | 01563 551 505 | centrestagemt.org.uk
 
Sat 15 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 7pm 
£12/£10 | 01563 551 505 | centrestagemt.org.uk
discount applies when booking both shows
 
Barrfields Theatre, Largs
Thu 20 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm 
£15/£12 | 01475 689 777 | ticketsource.co.uk/barrfields
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 
Tue 25 Oct | Crocodile Rock | 7.30pm 
£15/£12/£10/£5 | 0131 228 1404 | traverse.co.uk
 
Wed 26 Oct | A New Life | 7.30pm 
£15/£12/£10/£5 | 0131 228 1404 | traverse.co.uk
 
Byre Theatre, St Andrews 
Thu 27 Oct | A New Life | 6.30pm
£15/£12/£10 (pay what you decide) | 01334 475 000 | byretheatre.com
 
Lemon Tree, Aberdeen 
Fri 4 Nov | Crocodile Rock | 7pm 
£13.20 | 01224 641 122 | aberdeenperformingarts.com
 
Sat 5 Nov | A New Life | 7pm
£13.20 | 01224 641 122 | aberdeenperformingarts.com
discount applies when booking both shows