Tag Archives: Arts Centre

REVIEW: Waiting For Gabriel – East Kilbride Arts Centre

Theatre Company Running Late have written and produced a real Christmas cracker of a show at East Kilbride Arts Centre this Festive Season.

It’s Christmas Eve and a group of strangers who were once friends wait for Gabriel. A vacancy has opened up so if they want that promotion, they’ll  have to impress him. They’ve each been waiting 2000 years, have plenty of work experience and the right skills for the job so they really shouldn’t let a little friendly rivalry distract them before he arrives.

Through its comedy and the unfolding competition that ensues as Loreli (Ailsa Courtney), Cassiel (Samantha Toyer-Wright), Ariel (Natalie Clark) and Tobias (Allan Gilmour) each vie for Gabriel’s attention, it prompts us to look at how seemingly random acts of kindness come along when we need them most, how do so-called miraculous feats of human strength and endurance happen when all hope is gone. Is it because of angels? And what about these angels? What happens when their faith and hope are tested?  Is it worth carrying on? Waiting for Gabriel is an original work that, though sprinkled throughout with gentle humour, (and some top-notch singing from Allan Gilmour) eventually takes us to a place that makes us ask some pretty big questions. To its credit it does it in the gentlest, most entertaining way.

Susan Arbuckle’s set is atmospherically dressed and there are some neat visual effects and director Lorna Gold steers the events along at a admirable pace.

Much of the success of the piece is due to its talented cast who perfectly deliver their own script. There’s a surety with the material and a conviction in what they are delivering. Running Late Theatre Company look set to be a company to watch. I look forward to seeing what’s next.

WHAT’S ON MAY: Dancing at Lughnasa

New Victory Players Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

EAST KILBRIDE ARTS CENTRE

Wednesday 10 May – Saturday 13 May 2017 / 7.30pm
£12.00

New Victory Players return to The East Kilbride Arts Centre with this beautiful evocative play by one of Theatres best loved dramatists Brian Friel.

Dancing at Lughnasa is a tender poignant and humorous study of the Mundy family. Narrated by Michael he recalls his childhood home in County Donegal during the summer of 1936.

Premiered at Dublin Abbey Theatre in 1990, this multi award winning play was acclaimed subsequently in London and on Broadway . This was followed by a screen adaptation in 1998 starring Meryl Streep and Michael Gambon.

REVIEW: A Life With The Beatles – EK Arts Centre

Entering to the strains of Billy J. Kramer’s version of Lennon & McCartney’s Do You Want to Know a Secret; actor Ian Sexon takes the audience on a blisteringly paced account of the life of Neil Aspinall. A man at the very heart of The Beatles’ story, a man who shared their brightest and darkest moments, a man, who, unlike almost everyone else associated with the group, took his secrets to the grave.

Aspinall went from school pal of Paul McCartney and George Harrison to trainee accountant to first ever roadie, driving his beat-up Commer van the length of the country, to CEO of Apple Corps, The Beatles’ global business conglomerate. Notably,  in helping to sustain The Beatles’ legacy, it was Aspinall who masterminded the creation of the world-wide, best-selling, Beatles Anthology documentary, three-volume double album and book.

Davide Verazzani’s A Life With The Beatles seeks to shed light on some of the most famous moments in the band’s history, most notably, the ground-breaking and quite frankly, bizarre, making of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Verazzani’s writing grips from start to end, while you may think you know everything about The Beatles, there’s enough insight here to surprise even the most die-hard fan. There’s a perfect blend of emotive drama and clever humour. Sexon is a natural storyteller, and his performance in this one-hander is a tour de force, with only four suitcases, a smattering of props and some simple back projections, he has a hypnotic hold over the audience throughout.

This 60-minute show is a little belter, proving that sometimes smallest is best.

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Image: Gary Daniell

REVIEW: Stags and Hens – East Kilbride Arts Centre

It’s Liverpool. It’s the 70s. It’s a Liverpool where Industry has gone to the dogs and opportunity has taken a very long ferry trip far beyond the Mersey.

Dave and Linda are on their respective stag and hen nights, unbeknownst to each other, in the same place, a trashy, down-at-heel disco in the city.

The action in Willy Russell’s Stags and Hens takes place in the toilets of the dodgy disco, where Linda and her pals and Dave (who spends the play with his head down the toilet) and his mates, ruminate on life, the universe and everything in between.

Russell is a master portrayer of the lives of the ordinary man (and woman); the clothes may be desperately dated, the jokes chronic; “love is blind, marriage is an institution…who wants to live in an institution for the blind?”, but the dialogue is natural, believable and entirely relatable and underneath the surface laughs there is a deeper commentary on working class life, misogyny, opportunity and expectation.

Inspire Theatre’s production of this little-seen play is near-faultless. Under the tight direction of Elaine Berry, the action moves along at a cracking pace and the razor-sharp dialogue hits the mark every time, but what elevates the whole production is the cast. Universally on point throughout, the cast of twelve maintain an impeccable focus and the production is replete with pristine tiny detail, from the girls’ primping and preening to the boys’ posturing, this is a masterclass in acting.

Particularly impressive are Hazel May MacGregor as the bolshy and boisterous Bernadette and Michelle Minto as the hysterical Maureen. To his great credit, Francis Lyons manages to keep the role of violent hothead Eddy completely within the bounds of reality – a role which could so easily have been overplayed and Martin Haddow elicits both laughs and sympathetic awws, as the misfit Billy. That said, this is a perfect example of exemplary ensemble acting.

This is a theatre company to watch out for, small but perfectly formed, bigger companies should take heed – quality wins every time.