Tag Archives: Des McLean

REVIEW: News Hacks – Òran Mór, Glasgow

Political satire may not be dead in Scotland, but it’s demise on the comedy scene has left it in dire need of resuscitation. Producers Karen Townsend and Rikki Brown have applied the defibrillator and delivered News Hacks, a monthly riff on the great, the good and the not so clever making the headlines in Scotland.

No political stone is left unturned and no Scottish political figure of any worth escapes examination. While Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, diminutive Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie and Scottish Lib Dem’s Willie Rennie come in for some cutting comment, it is the SNP and it’s leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, one Fiona Hyslop, who are on the receiving end of the most biting satire.

While the lion’s share of the night is given over to national politics, it spreads its gaze further: Putin’s Russia, TV show Shetland (a highlight of the evening), Lorraine Kelly’s somewhat idiosyncratic interview style (having Ed Sheerin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in the same segment), local TV news anchor John MacKay and newspaper The National and it’s independence referendum spin on even the most ridiculous subjects, all come under scrutiny.

The sharply observed script is given greater punch by the three hugely talented actors delivering it. Stand up comedian, actor and presenter Des McLean has the requisite comedy chops to pull this off with great aplomb and his accents are (largely) on the nose, hugely experienced actor and comedy veteran Elaine MacKenzie Ellis has the chance to shine with her spot-on take on a wide range of Scottish female worthies, and Scottish national treasure Jimmy Chisholm’s comic timing and ability to get an audience on side, all amount to an absolutely hysterical look at Scotland today and all our quirks.

News Hacks is a hugely welcome addition to the comedy scene: biting, brilliant and about time too for a resuscitation of satire in Scotland.

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub 

The next News Hacks will be at Òran Mór on 20 June 2018 | Image: Contributed

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol – Lourdes Theatre Group, Glasgow

As we tip-toe towards the Christmas season, Lourdes Theatre Group take us a step closer to that festive feeling with this production of Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ A Christmas Carol. 

This is the perfect show to help get into the spirit of the season, having as it does a joyous charm throughout. Menken and Ahren’s music has that magical Disney feel that will soften even the hardest of hearts.

The large ensemble are fine voiced from the start and truly shine when singing together, their joy at performing together just radiates from the faces of the performers throughout. 

Accompanied by one of the best sounding orchestras I’ve heard anywhere in the UK the musicians are polished to perfection. Special credit must go to the masterful musical direction of Des McLean who keeps the energy levels and quality up for the length of the piece and to the sound engineers who had the balance of orchestra and voice perfectly balanced throughout.

This is a largely youthful cast ably supported by a small band of more seasoned performers: Kevin Lynch in the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge is a fantastic talent, with crystal-clear diction and a soaring voice, he convincingly portrays the transformation of the cold-hearted miser with a sureness of touch and no small amount of skill. In smaller but memorable roles are: Sarah Kerr as the Blind Old Hag/Ghost of Christmas Future – not only in possession of a beautiful voice, Kerr is a fine young actress and dancer as well. Lee Anne Holly and Claire McKernan as Mrs. Cratchitt and Sally Anderson are also both strong-voiced young actresses who doubtlessly would shine given bigger roles. Special mention must also go to Alexander Campbell, one of the tiniest cast members who stole the hearts of the audience as the young Scrooge.

This is an engaging production, performed with spirit and heart, and its warmth will fill you choc full of the true spirit of Christmas. See it if you can.

Runs until Saturday at Lourdes Secondary, Cardonald.