Tag Archives: Isobel Barrett

REVIEW: Rabbie The Man – The Shed, Shawlands, Glasgow

Now in its second year, Tram Direct’s Rabbie The Man is The Shed’s alternative Burns’ Night, and it aims to put the man behind the annual revelries firmly at centre stage.

Revered from Tokyo to Moscow, every year there are celebrations to the great man on the 25th January the world over. However, Burns is a man of many contradictions, inspiration to liberal thinkers and socialists, ploughman poet and society darling, serial philanderer as well as loving and devoted husband, Burns means many things to many people.

Most of the elements that those familiar with the traditional celebrations are all here in Rabbie The Man: The Selkirk Grace; The Toast to the Lassies; The Immortal Memory, there’s even haggis, but are entertainingly woven through with a dramatised biography of the life of The Bard. Isobel Barrett’s script manages to present a healthily balanced portrait of a man who attracts the undiminished adulation of a nation. Burns is charismatically played by Colin McGowan who delivers a well-judged performance of this complex and often conflicted man and the evening is rounded out by songs, poetry and reflection: Ae Fond Kiss and A Red, Red Rose are beautifully sung by Gill Gilmour, a spirited rendition of Holy Wullie’s Prayer is given by Graeme Dallas and a heartfelt and eloquent Immortal Memory by David Sturgeon.

For those who want a slightly different take on the traditional Burns supper.


REVIEW: Cocktails for Two – An Afternoon of Cole Porter, The Shed, Glasgow

cole porter cocktails for two

The weekend lunchtime theatre programme at The Shed in Glasgow is fast becoming home to some little theatrical gems. Following the success of Beyond the Rainbow and also from the pen of Isobel Barrett, comes Cocktails for Two a biographical cabaret of the life, loves and work of the acclaimed composer.

Witty, erudite and wonderful, who could fail to be entertained by the sublime show tunes of Porter: “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “You do Something to Me”, “Anything Goes” and “Night and Day” to name a few, only begin to scratch the surface of the vast back catalogue of hits. This show is an edited highlights programme of the most famous and emotive numbers.

The two performers Noreen Boyle, fresh from her success as Judy Garland and Chris McLaughlin, add life and vitality to the songs, in particular McLaughlin’s pitch-perfect comic delivery of “Blow Gabriel Blow” and heart-rending rendition of “So in Love”. Boyle’s evocative voice also conjurs up the era perfectly especially in “In the Still of the Night” and “Night and Day”. The pair entertainingly interlace the songs with an informative and entertaining biography of the colourful Porter.

The show also runs this weekend Saturday and Sunday. Doors 12pm for a 1pm show. Each ticket includes a drink and a bite to eat.

Tickets available from: manager@tramdirect / Tel: 0141 637 0778 or on the door.

REVIEW: Beyond The Rainbow – Live@The Shed, Glasgow

cid_2dbfa219-15ff-467c-838c-6ef5c79f60e7This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at:


Writer: Isobel Barrett

Director: Isobel Barrett

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

Beyond The Rainbow, staged in the intimate, candle-lit, cabaret club style surroundings of The Shed in Glasgow, charts the troubled life of the legendary Judy Garland. This little gem of a musical play, from the pen of Isobel Barrett, flashes back from the sad spectacle of Garland’s final disastrous days to her early life as a child star, through the abuse she suffered at the hands of studio executives and the endless quest for love and acclaim from her audience, a love which so sadly eluded her in her private life.

Garland’s decline has been much-charted, most recently in Peter Quilter’s triumphant End of the Rainbow, and there has been the tendency to descend into well-worn cliché in its telling, but Barrett resists this, managing to get to the heart of the woman and examine the demos which drove her to such a sorry end. A woman who, reflecting on her teenage years at MGM said: “They’d give us pep pills then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills, after four hours they’d wake us up and give us the pep pills again”. The play cleverly interweaves some of Garland’s finest tunes into the action, retaining the narrative thread whilst punctuating the piece with colour and emotion, and giving the audience the chance to hear these beloved songs sung live.

Noreen Boyle is triumphant as Garland, delivering a highly emotive and finely nuanced performance. Not only does her voice manage to capture the star’s famous vibrato but she also manages to convincingly convey the torture Garland endured both physically and psychologically throughout her life. Drugged by both pills and the unquenchable desire for acclaim from her audience, it is often painful to watch as she manages to wring yet another performance from her drug riddled body. She trembles before us, a tiny, vulnerable figure captured in the spotlight, trapped between the the desire to run and the desire for acclaim from her audience.

This is no cheap cabaret or jukebox musical but a compelling and intense two hander which refuses to shy away from the less palatable aspects of Garland’s life. It leaves both performer and audience moved, but ultimately uplifted by the feeling that you have been in the presence of a legend.

There’s definitely gold at the end of this rainbow, unmissable.


  1. Joe Dunn
    3:42 pm on November 19th, 2013

    Amazing thoroughly enjoyed the show I would say the report above describes the performance to a tee.

    Simply unmissable five stars all round .

  2. Linda Allan
    8:14 pm on November 19th, 2013

    Very well written and accurate review of this absolutely amazing show. This has to be one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Very powerful storyline executed to perfection by Noreen Boyle and her co star. If this show goes on tour I would highly recommend doing anything you can to get your hands on a ticket.

  3. Shirley canning
    9:16 pm on November 19th, 2013

    This show has to go on the road, I want everyone to see this wonderful performance. An absolute treat and pleasure to watch.

  4. James Wilson
    12:45 pm on November 20th, 2013

    Can’t praise this show highly enough … I hope others get the chance to see it. Highly recommended for superb acting, great songs and a moving story. *****

  5. Nuala Grace
    4:40 pm on November 25th, 2013

    ​Over the Rainbow at the Shed Newlands, was a highly evocative piece of enthralling theatre about the rise and fall of legendary Judy Garland. Noreen Preston embodied the soul and spirit of this great talent – a no mean feat to undertake – with such brilliance that we were transported to the inner world of one of our greatest divas. Highly entertaining, a strong story, and great production, this is a theatrical gem that must continue with Ms Preston, it certainly deserves a place beyond the Shed, and would be great to see it again, if only at the Edinburgh Festival.​

REVIEW: You Go to My Head – Live@TheShed, Shawlands, Glasgow


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

This new cabaret show from Tram Direct is the latest offering in the fledgling Live@TheShed lunchtime theatre programme. You Go to My Head takes us on a trip back in time to the golden age of the Hollywood musical. Presenting an hour choc-full of classic tunes, it not only endeavours to entertain but educate a little too. The songs are entertainingly interspersed with information about the origins of each song and some biographical detail about the colourful lives of their composers. There’s even a bit of a musical theatre quiz thrown in to keep the audience on its toes.

The three engaging performers: Reaghan Reilly, Filipa Fallow and Liam Lambie, keep the proceedings going apace and their complimentary voices make for an interesting and varied show. The programme is a pleasing mix of solos, duets and company numbers and the block-busting musicals represented include: Kiss Me KateGuys and DollsHello Dolly, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Showboat. There are changes of pace and tone throughout with ballads, big show-stoppers and some comedy to lighten the mood. There is something for everyone here, there are even some big songs from unknown shows which have in turn become pop standards: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” to name a few. Particular highlights include Reilly’s spirited rendition of “I Hate Men”, Lambie’s “Luck be a Lady Tonight”  and Fallow and Reilly’s duet on “A Bushel and a Peck”.

As well as delivering high quality, entertaining and original shows which give new and young performers a platform to showcase their talents, Live@TheShed brings theatre right to the doorstep of residents in the south side of Glasgow. With a drink and a snack lunch thrown in for the ticket price it really is a winner.

Runs on Saturdays and Sundays until 6th October