Tag Archives: Eastwood Park Theatre

REVIEW: Cinderella – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts (GAMTA) have teamed up with Eastwood Park Theatre to present this year’s festive pantomime, Cinderella.

The set and costumes are a feast for the eyes, the glittering, decorated proscenium adds to the wonder before the curtain even rises. There’s glitz, glamour and special effects, all adding to the magic of the production.

While the youthful cast win in the energy and effort department, it is however, a dance-heavy, slow to get going, take on the traditional tale. There are some baffling additions to the story which seem to have been shoe-horned in to showcase GAMTA’s dance credentials, unfortunately they only add to an already over-long run time. It also suffers from the fact Buttons is being played by a young child and the object of his affections a clearly mature teen, it all adds a creepily uncomfortable element which will no doubt go over the heads of the children in the audience, but feels a tad uncomfortable for the adults.

Where it succeeds is in its comedy elements, Ciara Flynn and Rebecca McComb are a perfectly matched comedic double act as Ugly Sisters and provide the majority of the true highlights of the show.

The cast can’t be faulted for their skill or talent, however, they suffer from an over-long and overly-dull script that dilutes the magical potential the show could have had.

REVIEW: Eaten – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Lionel McLion has been roaming the plains of the Serengeti and is having a rest after having eaten his dinner, but all is not as usual. Lionel gets a bit of a fright when Mamoru, the human he’s just eaten, starts talking back.

The highly acclaimed, children’s theatre piece Eaten, starts not only a conversation between the eater and the eaten, but a wider discussion about our relationship to food (including Lionel’s impossible dream of becoming a vegetarian), where it comes from, and what happens after we’ve chomped it down.

For the kiddie audience there are many moments that engage: there are poos, farts and vomit involved and some audience participation where the tiny folk get to be a giraffe, a monkey, a cow or a frog – what’s not to love for the 6+ target audience.

It slips into the surreal often and is hysterically funny in parts: there’s a Q and A session when the tiny audience are confronted by Dr. Poo (from Pooniversity) imploring them to ask a question to their faeces – it’s hard to keep a straight face at their reactions and an off-the-wall dance section to Engelbert Humperdinck’s Last Waltz. 

The ideas are sound, but the script at times smacks of someone who doesn’t know how to pitch to small children – when the question is asked of a puppet cow Are you real or just a concept? you know that this isn’t someone who spends time with a lot of  6-year-olds.

Mamoru Iriguchi plays both predator and prey simultaneously, both he and co-performer Suzi Cunningham are engaging. It must be said though that Iriguchi needs to hone his child interaction and wrangling skills to make this a truly successful endeavour. That said, Eaten raises not only some important questions but many smiles too.

A worthy watch.

 

 

REVIEW: The Music Man – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Runway Theatre Company again prove their worthy position at the top of the tree of amateur companies in Glasgow, reviving Meredith Willson’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning, little-seen, musical theatre classic, The Music Man, with aplomb. A timely choice too, with the announcement that in 2020, Hugh Jackman will lead the first Broadway revival in nearly two decades.

It’s 1912 and the people of sleepy River City, Iowa really don’t know what’s in store for them when smooth talking swindler Harold Hill rolls into town. However, Hill’s plans to con the innocent townsfolk are foiled when his heart finally starts to rule his head.

Old-fashioned in the nicest possible way, this is a light-hearted, undemanding tale with a bunch of quirky characters and two of musical theatre’s most enduring tunes: the oom-pah-pah-ing 76 Trombones and the much-loved classic ballad, Till There Was You.

Its old-fashionedness is both its strength and its weakness. The public’s appetite for nostalgia is sated with the homely, feel-good storyline, the period costumes and score. However, the hokey dialogue has aged badly and the heightened characterisations required by the script, render it too caricatured at times. That said, any criticisms of this production are entirely at the hands of the source material not the actors or musicians.

This is a show with a rousing chorus, the ensemble fill the auditorium with the biggest, most glorious sound you will have the pleasure to hear, and the quartet comprising Tom Russell, Ross Nicol, Cameron Leask and Bob McDevitt are just heavenly sounding. Brendan Lynch (Harold Hill), once again proves to be an adept leading man and a true triple threat, and Catherine Mackenzie (Marian Paroo) is a beautifully toned soprano. The costumes are of an excellent quality. The set and lighting are functional and easy on the eye and the transitions, especially in a theatre with no fly tower, are smooth and pacy. The child actors, of which there are many, are drilled to perfection as are the dancers – it’s unusual in an amateur production to have such universal quality.

A warm and comforting and very welcome blast from the past that will leave audience members of all ages thoroughly entertained.

Runs until Saturday 18 May 2019

 

REVIEW: Opera Highlights (Scottish Opera) – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Four singers, one piano, seventeen venues, Scottish Opera’s much-anticipated Opera Highlights returns (yippee!) and as always, it never fails to delight.

Director Daisy Evans has framed this year’s production as an electronically created playlist of opera gems. An “on-stage opera newbie” goes on an “emotional musical voyage” discovering, via Spotify and Google via Alexa, just how music has the power to move. Evans is a director to watch, and her staging undoubtedly adds greatly to the enjoyment of the evening. It’s funny, clever, accessible, inclusive, all the things that good theatre of any genre should be. It also looks great. A neon door and window and a few wooden crates serve as the only stage dressing, but coupled with the brightly coloured suited, booted and co-ordinating nail-varnished cast, it works brilliantly.

Freed from the constraints of remaining in a single character, the singers’ personalities are given the chance to shine in a variety of roles, and the warmth just radiates from the quartet. The acoustics in this small auditorium are as close to ideal as it is possible to get in a theatre and the voices give goose bumps. Soprano Sofia Troncoso, Mezzo Sarah Champion, Tenor Richard Pinkstone, Baritone Dawid Kimberg are exceptional as is pianist Jonathon Swinard.

The programme, designed by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, delivers something for everyone. The range of composers, styles and moods, genuinely runs the gamut of human emotion.

Scottish Opera’s annual ‘Highlights’ tour, and indeed the whole of the company’s programming, is a model for how a national company should operate. A hands-down, five star, exemplary evening of entertainment.

Currently on tour to: Ayr, Drumnadrochit, Wick, Forres, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Lanark, Helensburgh, Dundee, Inverurie, Laurencekirk, Perth, Dumfries, Musselburgh and St. Andrews.

More information at Scottish Opera

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: The Wedding Reception – Carmichael Hall, Eastwood Park, Giffnock

Interactive Theatre International already have a well-established hit on their hands with their much-loved Faulty Towers Dining Experience. Created in 2015, The Wedding Reception offers the same mad-cap, interactive, who-knows-what’s coming next, evening of adventure.

Will and Kate have got married, and while the groom is under the illusion that their wedding reception is a quiet, intimate affair, his bride and his in-laws have other plans…

Every aspect of The Wedding Reception is startlingly familiar, the seating plan, the circular linen covered tables, the gilded chairs, sparkling silver cutlery, top table resplendent with a multi-tiered cake, a three course meal and over a hundred guests decked out in their finery. There’s also the jack-the-lad best man, an eye-poppingly clad mother of the bride, the snobby aunt, the uninvited mother of the groom and a somewhat out of his depth wedding planner.

A cast of just four gamely portray the motley cast of characters with great gusto. Ben Hood is a particular star as best man Ricky and bride’s dad Ray, his physical comedy garners the biggest laughs of the night and is the catalyst to the audience relaxing and enjoying the craziness. Dave Tremain’s expressions as put-upon bridegroom Will are a masterclass in comic acting: sometimes subtlety is key. There’s mild audience (guest) harassment but nothing that would make anyone uncomfortable and the mixture of madcap comedy and time to enjoy your food is well worked out.

The cast have to be lauded for not only keeping the action going throughout the two-hour plus running time, but also dealing with the unpredictable and unscripted responses of the ‘guests’.

This is an original take on a night at the theatre and delivers an exciting entertainment experience for those looking for something different. Great fun and highly recommended.

 

INTERVIEW: Rebecca Norris, actor and co-deviser of The Wedding Reception coming to Eastwood Park Theatre’s Carmichael Hall in May.

Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to talk to Rebecca Norris, co-creator of The Wedding Reception coming to Eastwood Park Theatre this May.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

The Wedding Reception is a unique immersive theatrical dining experience. It invites you to be a guest at a surprise wedding reception for newlyweds William and Kate. You join the family (and a few uninvited guests) through two hours of a muddled attempt at traditional wedding celebration rites where nothing seems to go as planned. They cry, laugh and dance, and hopefully you will too! (maybe not the cry bit).

And your role…

Four actors play nine roles in The Wedding Reception. I play two roles: Lynn (the mother of the bride) and Marge (the groom’s aunt). Lynn is a great role to play She’s a wonderful and warm northern lady. A bit of a mum to everyone and will talk about anything. Nothing is off limits with Lynn. Aunt Marge is much colder. A stuck up ‘wanna-be’ who’s faked most things in her life to get her where she is today.

 

How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?

The Wedding Reception has been performed all over the UK, including Scotland and Wales – although this is our first time in Glasgow. We have even been lucky enough to do tours across Australia and a show in Singapore. Depending on the location, we change a few references in the show for audiences to relate to but on the whole we’ve found wherever we are the universal truth is that everyone loves a good wedding so everyone always has a great time.

What is life like backstage on tour?

Backstage on tour can be a bit crazy, really. We have a lot of quick costume changes throughout the show so backstage can be manic. Especially when we are out and about on tour and the size of our changing area can vary quite some bit. We’ve all been very close together in some shows.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?

Keeping this show fresh isn’t so much of a challenge, as it’s very different to traditional theatre shows. The audience members are not just watching a show, they become an integral part of it so with their input we never perform never same show twice. It certainly keeps us all on our toes. Good planning and keeping it all in good fun is key to staying healthy and fighting fatigue on the road. We spend a lot of time in each other’s company so trying find ways of making long journeys and mundane jobs fun is really important.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I didn’t get into acting until quite late – I was 30 before I’d even considered it. Although I remember having a love of theatre when I was younger, I never considered it to be an option. It was only by chance that I did a workshop in Brighton which actually changed everything. Suddenly my sole focus and drive was on acting. I went to drama school and worked full-time while attending to fund myself. Once I graduated I tried to make sure each job I got would lead to another until it became my full-time job and I’ve never looked back.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

It’s never too late! If it’s something you have a passion for then go get involved. Maybe do some courses and see where it takes you.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?

Everyone should come to see this play! – though it’s PG, because of some sexual innuendo and partial nudity. That aside, each show is truly different as audiences react in various ways to being swept up in the raucous action. Whatever happens though, one thing’s for sure – it will be an unforgettable experience.
You are all invited to the most madcap marital celebration of them all and get to eat a 3-course meal as well.

We are playing at Carmichael Hall in Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 12 May at 7:30pm.

We’re also visiting:

Birmingham REP (10-11 May)

Greshams in Ipswich (18 May)

Bedford Swan Hotel (also 18 May)

Hadley Park House in Telford (19 May)

AFC Portchester Club House (22 June)

Nottingham Theatre Royal (6 July)

– and Edinburgh Fringe 2-27 August.

REVIEW: Gary Lamont Dropping The Soap – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

It’s hard not to love Gary Lamont. From the moment he walks onto the stage with a giant wedge of cheese on his head – yes, no typo, singing This is my Moment in tribute to his spirit animal Martine McCutcheon, there isn’t a minute he doesn’t have the audience eating out of his hand.

Hugely likeable and hugely talented, Lamont takes the audience on a break-neck journey on life after soap (operas), musing on the somewhat rocky path many much-loved actors have trodden since stepping away from small screen fame. Roping in his showbiz pals, there are mascara ruining sequences with Claire from Steps, Claire from Stepps, Graham Norton, Juliet Cadzow (his mum in the soap River City), Martine McCutcheon and a belly-achingly funny duet of I Know Him So Well with best buddy Michelle McManus. There’s no lull for the entire running time – a feat many so-called comedians would be hard pressed to achieve, this is a show that genuinely has you leaving the theatre, feeling the world is a happier place.

As he says in the show, in Soapland you either leave in a hearse or in the back of a taxi – Lamont left in a silver limo – hopefully a portent for his future career. Lamont has a gigantic gift for comedy, a fine voice and an irresistible personality – Lamont’s brand of joy should be available on prescription. Do yourself a favour and catch this if you can.

On Tour:

Sat 24 Mar – Cumbernauld Theatre – 7.30pm www.cumbernauldtheatre.co.uk

Fri 27 Apr – Stirling MacRobert 7.30pm www.macrobertartscentre.org/

Sat 28 Apr – Paisley Arts Centre – 7.30pm www.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Fri 04 May – Adam Smith Theatre – 7.30pm www.onfife.com

Fri 11 May – Lochgelly Centre – 7.30pm www.onfife.com

Fri 25 May – Livingston Howden Park 7.30pm www.howdenparkcentre.co.uk

Sat 26 May – Byre Theatre St Andrews – 8pm www.byretheatre.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/G_aryLamont

Facebook: www.facebook.com/whatariddy

REVIEW: Back to Bacharach – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

The back catalogue of Burt Bacharach comprises some of the world’s most recognisable hits. In a career spanning six decades (that arguably reached its zenith in the mid-to-late 60s) there’s a rich vein of material to be mined here.

Bach to Bacharach – The What The World Needs Now Concert Tour, delivers not only the big hits: I Say A Little Prayer, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Walk on By, The Look of Love, Make it Easy on Yourself, 24 Hours From Tulsa, the list goes on and on, but there are a few surprises too: Keep Me In Mind covered by Elvis and Don’t Make Me Over from Dionne Warwick.

Backed by an eight-piece band, the principal vocalists Martin Neely, Chloe Du Pre and Arabella Rodrigo have a wealth of experience behind them from the West End stage to backing/session work and cruise/cabaret performance. There’s a warmth from the trio that transmits to the audience and they work hard to keep the energy levels up and the audience engaged throughout.

There’s plenty of bang for your buck here, the hits keep coming and the two-hour show is packed with familiar song after song.

 

The only issue the cast are fighting against is that these songs are synonymous with some of the most legendary vocalists in pop history: Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and Cilla Black, to merely touch on a few, indeed Black’s trials and tribulations when working with control freak Bacharach, are vividly documented in the recent musical of her life Cilla. These are big shoes to fill and while there are some show-stopping moments, Rodrigo’s Anyone Who Had A Heart is a stunner, they never quite hit the heights of the originals. That said, this a top quality production with an on-point band and hugely talented vocalists, one could never tire of hearing these pop classics and the packed audience is testament to the enduring draw of Bacharach. Just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Back to Bacharach is currently touring the U.K. – details here: http://www.back-to-bacharach.co.uk

 

INTERVIEW: Zoe Halliday star of Little Red Riding Hood

Classic kids’ tale with a modern twist, Little Red Riding Hood is coming to Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 13 February at 3pm.

From the creative team behind the hugely popular Hairy Maclary Show, Little Red Riding Hood is a fun, original musical for children, with live music and loveable characters.

The show has toured from Edinburgh to Hong Kong and Singapore and comes to Eastwood Park Theatre as part of its 45th anniversary programme.

Recommended for pre-school children, the show features a forest full of family fun as Scarlet and her side-kick Stanley the Squirrel try to outwit Walter the Wolf. 

Zoe Halliday, from Milton on Campsie, studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s musical theatre course. She will play the lead role of Scarlet and Glasgow Theatre Blog caught up with Zoe to find out about the show.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

The play follows the story of 16yr old Scarlet who is lives in the woods with her father. Not having many friends and feeling a bit alone has left Scarlet longing for an adventure which falls into her lap (literally) in the form of letter from her grandfather. After some indecision about her own bravery Scarlet embarks on the quest her grandfather has sent her. Along the way she meets some wonderful forest friends including Stanley the Squirrel but also faces someone hairy not so nice enemies! The story is a whirl wind of adventure with catchy tunes all the way!

And your role…

I play the fearless “Scarlet”

How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?

The play did a run over Christmas at  Roxy Assembly in Edinburgh. The audiences were fantastic and got right into the spirit of the show by singing along and joining in the madness.

What is life like backstage on tour?

It is exciting! Every day we are in a different theatre/venue and face whatever challenges that presents. Whilst it can be hard going being away from family and friends we have become really close as a cast and always manage to have a laugh! Bringing the show to new audiences every day is really special and even better when you have a strong, fun filled cast.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?

I wish I could say I eat lots of vegetables and exercise regularly but that would be a lie. The performance is fresh every day because it’s my job and I love doing it. That and some orange Lucozade and we are laughing.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I decided I wanted to become an actor very early on. I loved dancing as a young child  and was inspired by my mum who had her own dance school. I had grown up with old school musicals and dance films.  I think I watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers so many times the video broke!

When my parents put me in stage school at 10 it just all made sense.

At the age of 13 I was one the first cohort of the Preparatory Musical Theatre programme at the Dance School of Scotland were I studied all through my high school years. I then went onto study a BA in Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at just 17yrs old.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

If you really want it, it is worth waiting for. The performing arts is an extremely hard industry but worth every ounce of effort!

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? and where else can we see it?

You should come and see Little Red Riding Hood for some exciting, fun and catchy enjoyment! Life isn’t as fun without a little adventure!

Tickets for Little Red Riding Hood are priced £10 standard and £8 concession, available from eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice.

 

 

INTERVIEW: Paul Beeson on playing Robert Burns in Ae Fond Kiss at Eastwood Park

The first tour of new Robert Burns show Ae Fond Kiss, is touring around Scotland this February. Featuring many of Burns’ famous poems and songs, including Red, Red Rose, Ae Fond Kiss and Auld Lang Syne, it will be a show to remember whether you love literature or just want to find out a bit more about the Bard.

Rabbie Burns is played by Paul Beeson who will guide you through the show with amusing and poignant interactions with key characters, played by cast members Gilchrist Muir, Shawney Henderson and Zoe Halliday. Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to catch up with Paul to answer some quick questions about the show.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

Ae Fond Kiss is a play with songs that tells the fascinating story of the life of Robert Burns. It does this using modern original verse, interspersed with Burns’ traditional writing and songs; a Burns’ Greatest Hits if you will! We get to meet the family, friends and (many) women who shaped his life and work along the way.

And your role…

I play Robert Burns himself, at various ages and stages of his life… it is a challenging role but one I am relishing playing!

How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?

The last time the play was produced was nine years ago during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was performed at the Mining Museum in Newtongrange. It was received extremely well then; however being outside the city centre meant it did not get the audience it truly deserved. This newly staged version boasts a completely new set and directorial approach, and will touring in major venues across the country.

What is life like backstage on tour?

Being part of a small-scale touring company is incredibly rewarding and so much fun – if a little challenging at times! The cast and stage manager are responsible for driving the tour vans between venues, unloading and building the set before a performance and loading the set back in the vans afterwards… oh, and performing of course! It’s a valuable experience, as everyone involved takes ownership of the production to make it the best it can be and becomes completely invested in it. You do feel like you are in a little tour bubble at times, as you are living the show (and in each other’s pockets) almost 24 hours a day… but that’s why we love it so! Your cast mates become like family and some of my greatest friendships have been made this way.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?

Every audience is different and responds in different ways… some are incredibly noisy and responsive, some are absolutely silent! As performers, we respond to the energy the audience creates and feed off it, so every performance is fresh in that respect. Also, when you get on the road after the rehearsal process, you start to find the moments that the audience really love and perhaps moments that pass them by. We have to tweak moments like these to ensure we are doing the piece justice and that can keep us on our toes!

As for looking after yourself, it’s finding a balance in your touring life… Eating healthily can be tough when the only eatery near your hotel is a fast food joint! I try to make sure I get enough sleep, drink lots of water, eat a banana for energy and regularly steam the vocal chords… and you just have to be careful that the post-show socialising doesn’t get too out of hand!

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I chose to do Higher Drama when I was in 6th year at high school. I had no aspirations, needed another subject to study and thought Drama would be fun (and if I’m completely honest, a bit of a skive!) After the first few lessons, I realised how much fun it was and it was far from being easy… it was also the first time in my life I found something I felt I was really good at and capable of taking further. A good friend of mine had left school a couple of years before and done a Year Out Drama course in Stratford-Upon-Avon. So, after I left school, I applied and was accepted, then progressed to Drama college the following year.

I became a Drama teacher a few years after graduating, as I struggled to find work and decided to get a full time job where I could use my skills. I taught for ten years before getting back into performing. Towards the end of my teaching career, I began dabbling in amateur theatre and remembered my love of performing… the pull was too much for me!

Any advice for aspiring performers?

It may be a cliché, but never give up, believe in yourself and be prepared to work extremely hard! When I first left college, I think I was too lazy to truly pursue a career in performing… you have to be proactive, the work won’t come to you! Every performer is unique, so play to your strengths. Do not shy away from what makes you ‘you’. Take risks when you can… Despite my performing experience, I had a fear of singing in front of an audience until very recently… and I am 38! I have had to work very hard to get past that and I am all the better for it.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? and where else can we see it?

Ae Fond Kiss has everything; it’s entertaining, heartfelt, funny, sentimental, sad, exciting… it is crammed full of facts about Burns’ life, so everyone will learn something they never knew before… some of the poems and songs will be familiar to the audience and participation is encouraged… and everyone loves a bit of Burns don’t they!

Ae Fond Kiss is touring around Scotland this February and comes to Eastwood Park Theatre on Tuesday 13 February. Tickets cost £15 standard and £12 for concessions and are available to book now: www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice.

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