Tag Archives: East Kilbride Arts Centre

WHAT’S ON APRIL: For Matrimonial Purposes at EK Arts Centre

EKO Players present

For Matrimonial Purposes

By James Martin

When Archie Leach and his side kick Arthur McArthur decide to put an ad in the newspaper for a wife without Mattie, Archie’s housekeeper, finding out, disaster is sure to ensue especially when the applicants appear.

The path of true love never runs smoothly which is evident in this comedy by James Martin from Still Game. With a few heart felt confessions and a love triangle or two these lovable rogues are sure to having you laughing until your belly hurts.

Available to book online or by calling East Kilbride Arts Centre on 01355 261000.

Date: 25-27 Apr 2019

Time: 7:30pm

Cost: £8.00 / £6.00 conc

Venue: East Kilbride Arts Centre

REVIEW: The Browning Version – Rapture Bites – EK Arts Centre, East Kilbride

Second up in the inventively curated Rapture Bites season is Terence Rattigan’s 1948 classic, The Browning Version. Almost always guaranteed to wring a tear from even those with the hardest of hearts, it again proves so today at a packed East Kilbride Arts Centre.

Dubbed “the crock” by his students and despised for his unyielding manner and humourlessness (unlike his unfaithful, younger wife), it’s the last day of work at an un-named English public school for Classics teacher Andrew Crocker-Harris (the Himmler of the Lower Fifth) before moving to a new post. It takes a gift from one of his pupils, to prompt him to reflect on his past, look to what his future may be, and think deeply how he is going to end his tenure at the school where he has spent the best part of his life.

Rattigan’s 70 year-old play speaks to us down through the decades, dealing as it does with universal themes: our increasing feelings of uselessness as we age, the guilt of remaining in a marriage of unequal emotion, the consequence of our decisions in early life, the regret at potential unfulfilled. Michael Emans’ again demonstrates his sure hand at the helm of the production. Every subtle nuance is coaxed out of every beautifully written line. 

This is one of the most exquisitely acted productions I’ve seen in a very long time, rarely have I seen such a perfectly cast and performed piece. Robin Kingsland is a beautifully judged Crocker-Harris (I defy you not to have a glimmer of a tear in your eye near the end) as is Paul Albertson as Hunter who despite being Crocker-Harris’ wife’s lover, shows the most compassion towards him at the end. Michael Mackenzie does a fine job of demonstrating Head Master, Dr. Frobisher’s crushing insensitivity towards the departing master, but, it is Dylan Blore as schoolboy Taplow who turns in an utterly scene-stealing performance. 

Rightly regarded as a 70-minute masterpiece, this production from Rapture Theatre is as close to perfection as you are likely to see on any stage – truly out-standing and proves that sometimes an anti-climax is the most perfect way to end.

 

REVIEW: The Twelve Pound Look – East Kilbride Arts Centre

Published in 1910, in the midst of the suffragette movement, J.M. Barrie’s The Twelve Pound Look, is an astonishingly relevant, early feminist drama, rightly regarded as one of the most perfect examples of a one-act play in contemporary drama.

Rapture Theatre are to be lauded for their decision to stage the play as part of their inaugural Rapture Bites lunchtime classics, theatre season, which is being presented here at East Kilbride Arts Centre and in slightly different forms at: The Byre Theatre, St. Andrews; Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock; Eastgate Theatre, Peebles; Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkaldy; Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine and CatStrand, New Galloway. The afternoon includes a light lunch, tea, coffee or soft drink as well as a top-quality play from Scotland’s premier touring theatre company.

Harry Sims is the classic example of a man of his time: a pompous, upper class, status-obsessed chauvinist. On the eve of his Knighthood, Harry has enlisted the help of his simpering, supportive, younger, second ‘trophy’ wife to help him practise for the ceremony. Such is his blind self-belief, that he hires a secretary from an agency to respond to the avalanche of correspondence that he expects on the announcement of his award. The secretary turns out to be Kate, the first Mrs. Sims who left him unceremoniously in the middle of the night years before, leaving behind only a note. Harry knows no reason why any sane woman would leave him. The first Mrs. Sims eloquently avails him of the precise reasons why and how she came to secure her freedom.

That such serious subject matter is doused in such humour, shows the adroitness of Barrie. The script is sharp and astute and exquisitely written. While on the surface it all seems like a perfectly palatable piece of fluff for an Edwardian audience, it carries a much deeper message. Who knew that Barrie was such a supporter of the equality of the sexes?

Much of the success of the production is the clarity of direction of Michael Emans and the attractive yet uncomplicated production design, but it is the central performance of Julia Watson as Kate that seals the deal as a polished jewel of a production. Watson is captivating, the elegant fluency and calm assurance with which she skilfully takes Harry down more than a peg or two, is an utter delight to witness.

Rapture Bites, is a welcome addition to the lunchtime theatre movement and with quality such as this, an entertaining time seems assured.

Next up in the series is Terrence Rattigan’s classic The Browning Version on 10th March and Harold Pinter’s A Kind of Alaska on 31 March.

*Please note that this writer has no affiliations with the venues, playwrights or theatre companies whose productions are reviewed on the blog. 

WHAT’S ON MAY: Benny Lynch play at EK Arts Centre

The Lynching written and Directed by Paul Moore Original Music by Oliver Lodge

1935. The Florence Street Flyweight, Benny Lynch conquers the world…and its imagination.

100,000 people welcome home their Champion to Glasgow’s Central Station.

From Gorbals slum to grandiose glamour.

Fought and won. A knockout.

A world first, when pugilism meets performance… explore the mind set of this Gorbals boy in this poignant, pulls no punches drama.

The journey of a true sporting legend, as he battles his demons… in and out of the ring.

Available to book online or by calling East Kilbride Arts Centre on 01355 261000.

Date: 17-18 May 2017

Time: 8:00pm

Cost: £12.00 / £10.00 concession

Venue: East Kilbride Arts Centre

REVIEW: Michelle McManus Reality The Musical – East Kilbride Arts Centre

The recently engaged Ballieston belle has had more than her fair share of knocks in the showbiz world, but if medals were given out for being a survivor, then Michelle McManus would surely win gold.

Well over over a decade has passed since winning Pop Idol with a landslide number of votes in 2003, and Reality: The Musical charts McManus’ roller coaster ride with fame. From her Pop Idol win and her relationship with Simon Cowell, to weight battles (an hilarious tale of ten months with healthy eating guru Gillian McKeith), being dumped by both her record company and management team, relationship troubles and the contestant struggle to find work, (she admits she even toyed with the idea of becoming “Britain’s foremost Adele tribute act”, until the global megastar lost weight “that was 80 quid lost to Vistaprint on business cards!”), her redemption as a presenter on radio and TV, and her new career in this one woman show.

For all her comedy prowess, and boy is she hysterically funny, it’s her mega-decibel voice that shines. The repartee is punctuated with matching songs from the musical theatre world: the story of her relationship with Cowell accompanied by Calamity Jane’s Secret Love and tales of relationship woes with Les Mis’ On My Own and Grease’s There Are Worse Things I Could Do, you get the idea. There are some gems among the power ballads, in particular a roof-raising rendition of When You’re Good to Mama from Chicago and Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers, a musical she wishes she had been in (getting down to the last two to play Mrs Johnston in a touring production). There’s even some audience participation in a ‘duet’ of Chess’ I Know Him So Well.

After all she’s been through, (just Google her name to experience a slice of the vitriol she’s had to put up with) you want to root for her. She’s incredibly humble about what she has achieved and genuinely moved by the audience’s response to her, and when it comes, the rendition of her Pop Idol number one hit All This Time is unexpectedly emotional.

It would seem that McManus’ life and work are now in happy harmony, hopefully this makes for more comedy and more one-woman shows.

Currently touring the country and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

REVIEW: The Maltese Falcon – Lunchtime Theatre at East Kilbride Arts Centre

The success of Oran Mor’s ground-breaking, lunchtime theatre programme has inspired similar initiatives around the country: A Play, A Pie and a Pint now has off-shoots at the Traverse in Edinburgh and the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, Rutherglen Town Hall has been successfully running a lunch theatre programme for several years and in Glasgow’s southside The Shed in Shawlands is presenting Lunchtime Live with a pie and a drink in the ticket price. Now it’s East Kilbride Arts Centre’s turn with their own take on the genre.

First up this season is Bookend Theatre’s Radio Hour with Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 favourite The Maltese Falcon: the story of hard-boiled private eye Sam Spade and his hunt for the elusive and priceless black bird.

Presented as a 1940’s radio play, with a script based on the 1941 John Huston movie, the cast of nine successfully step in to the shoes of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor to evocatively bring the classic tale to life. The range and quality of the vocal characterisations is impressive and the hour running time zips past in the blink of an eye.

Included in the bargain £10 ticket price is a first-rate lunch of home-made soup, enough sandwiches to feed a battalion and tea and coffee. The soup is vegetarian and the sandwich selection caters for most tastes. The quality is excellent and the servings incredibly generous. Highly recommended for both lunchtime theatre regulars and newcomers alike, this is a quality endeavour.

Next up in the series is The Bishop’s Wife on 8th March

bishops wife ek arts centre

More info: http://www.slleisureandculture.co.uk/site/scripts/events_info.php?period=full&offset=45&year=2015&month=9

REVIEW: Jacqueline Hughes From East to West and Back – The Arts Centre, East Kilbride

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This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Currently appearing in the West End production of Wicked, Jacqueline Hughes returns to her home town with her debut cabaret, From East to West and Back Again.

Hughes starts as she means to go on, opening with the Streisand classic “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and the parade of show-stoppers just keeps coming, from “All That Jazz” to “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries”, each selection perfectly showcasing her powerhouse voice.

As well as Hughes’ engaging personality and the welcoming intimacy of the venue, what elevates this above the run of the mill cabaret fodder is the well devised programme. There’s an eclectic mix of the classic: “Broadway Baby”; the familiar: “On My Own”; some cleverly re-worked pop numbers: “Poker Face”, “Imagine”, “Songbird” and a smattering of the downright obscure: “Alto’s Lament” and “Taylor the Latte Boy” (sung by MD Alison Rona Cleland) both by cult composers Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler and “An Old Fashioned Love Story” from Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, all of which delight. There’s a pleasing mix of solos and duets, guest performances, interaction, emotional and celebratory moments.

This is an intensely personal show and Hughes acknowledges both her roots and her beginnings as a performer, indeed one of her guests is her first singing teacher whom she cites as the person who started her on her performing career and who touchingly performs “The Look of Love” and “Over the Rainbow”. Hughes’ other guest is life-long best friend Lyndsey Gardiner, currently appearing in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s. Gardiner delivers a touching rendition of  “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom and a stunning display of vocal gymnastics in Jeanine Tesori’s “The Girl From 14G” originally made famous by Kristin Chenoweth. Both women then sing “For Good” a touching tribute to their friendship. To her credit Hughes isn’t afraid to share the spotlight and her two special guests more than hold their own, both having their own moments in the spotlight. Mention must also be made of MD Alison Rona Cleland whose impressive accompaniment on both piano and guitar and characterful vocals reveal her to be yet another star in the making.

Hughes (and her guest Gardiner) are perfect examples of how good you need to be to even stand on a West End stage and the reality is that both of these stunningly talented performers are ensemble members. This cabaret allows Hughes her rightful place in the spotlight and with her rendition of  ”The Wizard and I” and the revelation that next year she will be understudying the role of Elphaba in Wicked after over two years in the production, hopefully, she will finally get her chance to shine and gain the plaudits she so richly deserves.