Tag Archives: EK 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: A Life With The Beatles – EK Arts Centre

Entering to the strains of Billy J. Kramer’s version of Lennon & McCartney’s Do You Want to Know a Secret; actor Ian Sexon takes the audience on a blisteringly paced account of the life of Neil Aspinall. A man at the very heart of The Beatles’ story, a man who shared their brightest and darkest moments, a man, who, unlike almost everyone else associated with the group, took his secrets to the grave.

Aspinall went from school pal of Paul McCartney and George Harrison to trainee accountant to first ever roadie, driving his beat-up Commer van the length of the country, to CEO of Apple Corps, The Beatles’ global business conglomerate. Notably,  in helping to sustain The Beatles’ legacy, it was Aspinall who masterminded the creation of the world-wide, best-selling, Beatles Anthology documentary, three-volume double album and book.

Davide Verazzani’s A Life With The Beatles seeks to shed light on some of the most famous moments in the band’s history, most notably, the ground-breaking and quite frankly, bizarre, making of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Verazzani’s writing grips from start to end, while you may think you know everything about The Beatles, there’s enough insight here to surprise even the most die-hard fan. There’s a perfect blend of emotive drama and clever humour. Sexon is a natural storyteller, and his performance in this one-hander is a tour de force, with only four suitcases, a smattering of props and some simple back projections, he has a hypnotic hold over the audience throughout.

This 60-minute show is a little belter, proving that sometimes smallest is best.

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Image: Gary Daniell

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