Tag Archives: Citz

FEATURE: Behind the scenes at the Citz – historic backstage tours

Last weekend GTB went on a field trip behind the scenes at the historic Citizens Theatre.

The Citizens’ Company, founded in 1943 by Tom Honeyman, James Bridie and Paul Vincent Carroll, was based at first in the Glasgow Athenaeum (now the Conservatoire) moving in 1945 to its present site, then the Royal Princess’s Theatre (below, opened 1878), to become what we now know and love as the Citizens Theatre.

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As atmospheric and captivating backstage as it is onstage, here are some pictures from the informative tour.

Tours can be booked on the Citz own website at: http://www.citz.co.uk/whatson/info/backstage_tours/

The tour includes tea and cake if any incentive were needed!

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REVIEW: Godspell – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

A knock-out cast, some fabulous, familiar tunes and a clear direction proves there’s life in the old dog yet in the Dance School of Scotland’s production of Godspell.

Always a tricky beast, John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz’s trippy-hippy treatment of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke) has proved problematic in the past, however, here under the steady hand of director Graham Dickie, a clear narrative emerges amongst the disparate parables.

The Dance School of Scotland provide the creme de la creme of musical theatre students in the country and this year’s batch are no exception. Chief among them Ryan Kopel and Aaron Millar, two young men in possession of stunning and very different voices who will doubtless grace the stages of the West End and beyond in years to come. Kopel’s solo rendition of the classic “Beautiful City” is among the best I’ve ever heard.

This is a fitting showcase for the best of young Scottish musical theatre and a must-see in the theatrical calendar. I personally can’t wait until next year.

 

 

 

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Political Drama Absence of War at the Citz

Headlong, Sheffield Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston bring their new production of David Hare’s The Absence of War, directed by Headlong Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin, to the Citizens Theatre from 31 March – 4 April. This new staging of Hare’s funny, stinging political drama focusing on the fortunes of the Labour Party arrives at the Citizens Theatre in the build up to the 2015 general election.

It’s now or never for George Jones. The heavy-smoking, Shakespeare-loving Labour leader needs to get out of opposition and into Number Ten. Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he’s their man. But how much compromise is he prepared to make? How can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the Palace of Westminster? And which tie should he wear for Prime Minister’s Questions?

The cast is led by Reece Dinsdale as George Jones, whose film appearances include Guildenstern in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. His TV appearances include Joe McIntyre in Coronation Street and guest roles in Spooks, Life on Mars, Silent Witness and Waterloo Road amongst others.

Also in the cast is Gorbals-born young actor James Harkness. James is returning to the Citizens Theatre having been a member of the Citizens Young Co. from 2007 – 2009. James performed with Citizens Young Co. as part of the Theatre of Debate season at National Theatre’s New Connections Festival in 2008.  It was during this performance that James was spotted by Anthony Banks, Associate Director NT Learning who offered to mentor James in his preparation for his auditions for drama school. Through this connection with the National Theatre, an anonymous donor came forward and offered to support James financially throughout the duration of his training.   

David Hare is one of the UK’s foremost playwrights and screenwriters. His plays include Plenty, Skylight, The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens. He has received two Academy Award nominations for his screenplays for The Hours and The Reader.  The production marks the third collaboration between Hare and Headlong’s Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin, winner of the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director for Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, and director of the company’s most recent transfer to London’s West End, The Nether.  

Headlong is a regular visitor to the Gorbals theatre, most recently bringing its West End smash-hit version of George Orwell’s 1984 to Glasgow audiences. Previous productions at the Citizens Theatre include Chekov’s The Seagull, Medea, Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Absence of War opened in Sheffield on Friday 6 February and tours to Norwich, Watford, Bristol, Cheltenham, Liverpool, before arriving at the Citizens Theatre. The Absence of War also tours to Oxford, Kingston, Cambridge and ends at Theatre Royal Bath on 9 May.

Tickets: £8.50 – £20.50 (concessions available)
Box Office
0141 429 0022 / citz.co.uk
119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm

REVIEW: The Slab Boys – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-slab-boys-citizens-theatre-glasgow/

There will be few productions in Scotland this year that will be met with more anticipation than the Citizens Theatre revival of John Byrne’s seminal work The Slab Boys. 37 years on from its debut at the Traverse in Edinburgh, original director David Hayman and creator John Byrne reunite to celebrate the Citz 70th year. Mythologised as the play that inspired an entire generation of Scottish writers and performers, the question is: does it stand up to its reputation and regard?

It’s 1957, a typical Friday in a Paisley carpet factory, despite the slate grey surroundings, the seeds of teenage rebellion fester under posters of James Dean and Elvis: “Slab Boys” Phil (Sammy Hayman) and Spanky (Jamie Quinn) rail against both the establishment and circumstance, yearning for a life outside the confines of the “slab room”where their days are spent mixing paint. Whilst Phil dreams of entrance into art school, Spanky wants to make it to a desk in the design room, but the pair’s energies seem to be wholly invested in relentlessly tormenting any and all visitors to their domain, especially their fellow “slab boy” Hector (Scott Fletcher).

Fans will be happy to know that the play retains much of its original allure: Byrne’s brilliantly observed dialogue comes across as razor sharp as it always has, and the work remains one of the finest examples of ensemble theatre. The audience still laughs at the cruelty of Spanky and Phil, but it must be said, in these days of political correctness, there are points where you are left wondering whether to laugh or squirm in discomfort at the relentless torment, even talk of Phil’s mother’s mental illness is delivered with a barrage of cruel barbs. But however brutal the ribbing gets, there is an understanding that it is very much a defence and when the chips are down the pair still have enough heart to rally to the aid of the unfortunate Hector.

There are a brace of fine performances here: director Hayman delivers a sure-footed turn as bombastic factory manager Willie Currie; Jamie Quinn’s Spanky has all the swagger of the typical west of Scotland wide-boy and Kieran Baker’s middle class Alan, is a perfectly pitched foil for the coarse central duo; Scott Fletcher too, is irresistible (not to mention hysterical) as the naive Hector. However, less successful is Sammy Hayman’s Phil: whether it’s nerves, inexperience, bad diction or miscasting, Hayman Jr’s dialogue, delivered at machine gun fire pace, is often lost into the ether, and while he perfectly captures the brutality and callousness of Phil, he fails to bring the required charm that elevates the role to one of the best in Scottish theatre.

David Hayman’s production is sure-footed but one gripe would be the length of the piece, it would benefit from judicious trimming to make it even tighter, the inevitable climax is a little long in coming, but that said it remains unfailingly entertaining throughout.

A solid and satisfying production with plenty of laugh-out loud humour, but lacking that certain something that makes for brilliance.

Runs until Saturday 7 March 2015 then touring