Tag Archives: Perth

WHAT TO WATCH: Comedian Samantha’s Lockdown Video Explores a Year-Long Search for Happiness

Edinburgh Fringe hit show is now being shared online

Comedian Samantha Hannah is offering some lockdown laughter after releasing one of her hit Edinburgh Fringe shows online.

How to Find Happiness in a Year had followed on from her previous Fringe production How to Find a Husband in a Year.

A measure of her success in the earlier enterprise is that the video (in accordance with lockdown rules) was filmed in front of a live audience of one. That one being Toby, the man she met on her search for love and now lives with in London.

But finding happiness is perhaps an even more ambitious challenge and takes Samantha through the world of self-help books and even into the fine details of the UN’s World Happiness Report.

Samantha, who was raised in the Scottish city of Perth, said: “I think a lot of people need some laughter in their lives right now and with events like the Fringe cancelled, and comedy clubs in crisis, that’s not always easy to come by.

“And I feel that making the video totally saved my sanity during lockdown. Things had been going well and I had given up my full time job at the start of the year to fully go for it comedy wise. Then three days into my new part time job I was furloughed and all comedy was cancelled by that point too.

“I’d done a big crowdfunder earlier this year and had planned a brand new show for the Edinburgh Fringe and now that was cancelled too. I felt so lost.

“Then I decided I would make something myself. It got me through a tough time. Now it’s out there and I’m no longer furloughed either.”

The video, which updates her 2019 Fringe show, explores many aspects of happiness, from passion and romantic love through to finding contentment and learning to be comfortable with yourself.

Samantha shares pearls of wisdom that she has picked up – including the benefits of stopping being embarrassed when you do something ridiculous and thinking of yourself as a “big emotional Weeble”.

And ultimately her biggest personal discovery is that what makes us most happy is connectedness – our meaningful relationships with others – something many people are hoping to rediscover and reinforce as the country starts to come out of lockdown.

REVIEW: Prince Charming – Perth Theatre

illustration of prince charming as a child

There’s a lot of pressure being charming all the time. So many expectations. It’s enough to make you take to your bed and stay there in the same pants for three months. Prince Charming is crippled with anxiety, worrying about the dark, being struck by lightning, getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle, living up to his legendary name, falling into quicksand, fighting dragons and the last day of the world – to name a few. Our prince is “too busy with his brain” to get out of bed. It takes the kindly Gomo to help overcome his anxieties and coax our hero out from under his duvet.

Jenny Worton’s delightful tale reminds us that every worry has equal weight when you are a child and that worry unites us all, no matter whether you’re big or small. It also reminds us all that it’s perfectly OK not to have all the answers, we’re all in this together.

Giulia Innocenti’s Gomo is a warm guide through the story and Nix Wood manages to represent the whole gamut of human emotion in our strange-looking, but appealing, little wooden hero in blue Y-Fronts and a vest. There are a few musical numbers including the fabulous I’m Not Special (when it comes to worry), which reminds this reviewer of the unexpected and slightly subversive songs of Tim Minchin in Matilda. The set is simple but effective and the lighting, particularly the ceiling of stars is particularly beautiful.

There is as much entertainment for the adults as the children here. It all gets a bit meta as our Prince has an existential crisis: he’s already a “one size fits all character”, “general not special”, never the title character – there’s no story called Prince Charming, when he finds out he’s really a puppet, something that threatens to send him right back under the bed covers. But after he breaks the fourth wall and the tinies in the audience get up close and personal, all is well in our theatrical world.

It’s seems glib to say that something is heart-warming but Prince Charming truly is. Not only does it open up conversations on mental health in children in the most fabulous way, there are also laughs a-plenty, mild peril, some ear-worm songs and a whole lot to ruminate over, but ultimately it all adds up to a fabulous piece of entertainment for all ages that will send you to the street with a smile on your face.

Runs until 20 April 2019 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally written for THE REVIEWS HUB

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