Tag Archives: Eilidh McCormick

REVIEW: Damned Rebel Bitches – Platform, Easterhouse

From the Clydebank Blitz in WW2, where Ella and her older sister Irene are orphaned, through emigration to New York in the 50s, a return to Scotland after widow-hood, to the streets of New York in 2012, Sandy Thomson’s Damned Rebel Bitches, part of Luminate the creative ageing Festival, is a joyous celebration of the women of the war years and an inspiring rallying call that life can be lived to the full, no matter what your age.

It’s 2012, and Ella’s grandson Cameron has disappeared in New York, with Hurricane Sandy looming, 80-year-old Ella packs her backpack and her walking poles and heads to the Big Apple with her 86-year-old sister, to sort it out.

Using age-blind casting and with the eras intertwining using flashback/forward, this is a vastly ambitious work, full of big ideas, and all the more compelling for that. This truly is a rollicking tale that flies by in the blink of an eye, belying its two and a half hour running time.

Ella is a survivor, a risk-taker, there’s a spark that is present throughout her life, and a never diminishing fire inside, and veteran actress Tina Gray shines as this feisty and fabulous woman. This ain’t no ‘nice old lady’, this is a woman you know would have your back in the toughest of times. This is an 80 year-old who is Tinder, Facebook and life-savvy, who can hot-wire a car and wield a gun if need be. Gray is more than ably supported by her fellow (younger and multi-national) cast mates Eilidh McCormick as older sister Irene, Geoffrey Pounsett as Canadian husband Pete and Jeremiah Reynolds as American grandson Cameron. Each turns in a perfectly judged and utterly compelling performance.

As Bette Davis said, and as quoted in the play: “old age ain’t no place for sissies”, but what an adventure it can be. This is stand-out storytelling: life affirming and above all hugely entertaining.

Reviewed at Platform, Easterhouse, Glasgow.

You can still catch it at:

Irvine Harbour Arts on Fri 6 October 2017

Paisley Arts Centre on Sat 7 October 2017

REVIEW: Twinkle Bell – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

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

Writer and Director: Clare McGarry

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★☆

There’s nothing as endearing as seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes as they are transported by the captivating power of a story well told. Grinagog Theatre present Twinkle Bell, a magical Christmas tale for three to six year olds at the Citizens Theatre. Twinkle Bell is the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, but one day she follows a glittering snowflake out of the window of her flat and gets lost. We join her, and the friends she meets along the way, on a journey to help get her back to the top of her tree.

The set, ideas and execution are simplistic but this enchanting experience shows what can be achieved in a performance space no more than ten feet by six. Clare McGarry’s script effectively incorporates many theatrical elements through the appealing characters: the cast of “friends” include an hilarious Scottish chef Mr. Scrummy, who engages in some gentle slapstick, eliciting howls of delight from the young viewers; a sparkly cowboy horse who delivers a gentle sing-a-long song and they’re all joined by a rather skittish rat who has the children on their feet dancing. All this added to puppetry, storytelling, acting, costumes and a transforming set, imaginatively introduces the young audience to almost every theatrical device known.

The teeny audience, sitting on multi-coloured cushions on the floor in front of the actors, remain utterly entranced and impeccably behaved throughout, their attention never wavering, instinctively responding and interacting, carried along by the engaging narrative. The performers Eilidh McCormick and Chris Alexander deftly handle any unscripted interactions and subtly and skilfully manipulate the tiny sized audience to keep them fully involved.

This is the epitome of a production perfectly tailored for its audience – the mixture of puppetry, song and interaction strikes the perfect balance. Its 45 minute length just long enough to ensure that the attention never wanes. It captivates the hearts, not only of its tiny target audience but of the rather bigger friends they bring with them. A charming and beguiling introduction to theatre and a reminder that the simplest of things can create the greatest magic.

Runs until 30 December