Tag Archives: Pitlochry Festival Theatre

WHAT’S ON: Martin McCormick’s powerful play THE MAGGIE WALL to return to Pitlochry Festival Theatre

This June, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre production of The Maggie Wall, Martin McCormick’s acclaimed play, is set to make  a welcome return to the Studio in Pitlochry from 9 to 28 June.

The play was inspired by a mysterious monument built in Dunning in Perthshire, commemorating the death of a woman who was supposedly tried and executed in the 17th century for witchcraft.

Co–produced with Aberdeen Arts Centre, The Maggie Wall explores the vulnerability of women and the injustices suffered by them in a patriarchal and closed community, resonating with contemporary experiences, as well as reminding us of a chapter of Scottish and British history in which many people, predominantly women, were accused, tried and killed as suspected witches.

 ‘The Maggie Wall’ is the site of a mysterious marker to a woman tried and executed in the 17th century for witchcraft. It’s a collection of stones standing about 20 feet high, bearing the words in white lettering, “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch”.

The mystery, however, is that no record of a woman called Maggie Wall has ever been discovered. There is no evidence of her crimes, and nothing to indicate what she did to warrant the label of ‘witch’. Historians now believe that Maggie Wall’s monument  is, in fact, a memorial to honour the memory of all the women executed, using Maggie as a mythical figure to represent those who were accused of witchcraft and lost their lives as a result.

The Maggie Wall is performed by acclaimed Scottish actress Blythe Jandoo whose theatre credits include Gypsy and Sunshine on Leith (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Peter Pan (Clyde Auditorium Glasgow), and who featured in the Walt Disney Picture’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Blythe is currently appearing in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s 2023 production of Gypsy and will shortly be seen at the Theatre in The Secret Garden.

Perthshire based Martin McCormick is a writer, actor and director. He won the Critics’ Awards Theatre in Scotland (CATS) award for Best New Play in 2014 for his play Squash. His theatre credits include 22 Mays (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), South Bend (Grid Iron), Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths (National Theatre of Scotland/Tron Theatre), The Day The Pope Emptied Croy (Traverse Theatre) and most recently Oh When the Saints (Perth Theatre).

Martin McCormick said about the return of The Maggie Wall:

I’m thrilled that Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s production of The Maggie Wall, along with Amy’s direction and Blythe’s performance, are reaching a wider audience in 2023. Maggie’s story is a fictionalised account of an individual tried and executed as a witch in 17th century rural Scotland. However, the themes of my narrative; a young woman being persecuted, subjugated, and imprisoned by a patriarchy, are tragically valid and real.”

Director of Aberdeen Arts Centre Amy Liptrott added:

The Maggie Wall is a visceral, intimate, and thought-provoking play. I feel very lucky to be directing Blythe Jandoo again for a co-production of Martin’s brilliant play with Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and in October, the production will be part of a very special celebration at Aberdeen Arts Centre. The persecution Maggie suffers, sadly, isn’t a thing of fiction and, in sharing her story, we remember the injustice of the Witch Trials and the injustice consistently suffered by persecuted people ever since.”

The Maggie Wall will be in the Studio at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 9 to 28 June.

Tickets for The Maggie Wall are available from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Box Office on 01796 484626 or online at www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

NEWS: West End performers set to bring the Pitlochry hills alive with the sounds of the greatest musicals

West End musical performers and Pitlochry Festival Theatre summer 2023 ensemble members Shona White and Ben Stock are set to bring the Pitlochry hills alive with the sounds of some of the greatest musicals of all time when they perform a series of must-see concerts this summer at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

 The Greatest Musicals of All Time and West End Musical Extravaganza feature some of the greatest show-stopping songs from the musicals we all know and love.

Prepare to enjoy The Greatest Musicals of All Time, an electrifying musical concert taking audiences on the full spectrum of the human experience through the alchemy of great composers. The concert features performances of unforgettable songs such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun“Do Re Mi” from the Sound of Music, “Maybe this time” from Cabaret, “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked,  “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music, “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl.

And take your seats for West End Musical Extravaganza, a wonderful medley of smash hits from the musical theatre stages of London’s famous West End featuring smash hit songs including “I Know Him So Well” from Chess,  “Luck be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls, “Oom pah pah and As Long As He Needs Me ” from Oliver!, “Winner Takes It All” from Mamma Mia!,    “Any Dream Will Do” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat,   “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins, On My Own” from Les Misérables, and many more classic songs.

Both  concerts  feature two wonderful performers who have regularly starred on the West End stage. Fife born Shona White, who will be playing Mamma Rose in the forthcoming Pitlochry Festival Theatre production of the musical Gypsy, has performed in the West End in Wicked (Apollo Victoria), The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour and Playhouse, London), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward) and the award winning Donmar Warehouse production of Merrily We Roll Along. Shona most recently appeared in the National Theatre production of Jack Absolute Flies Again.

Shona White said about the forthcoming concerts:

“Growing up in Fife inspired by the old movie musicals on TV, I played Annie in my local Children’s Theatre and was hooked! After 25 years of performing in musicals all over the world it is thrilling to be bringing these concerts so close to home with the fabulous Ben Stock.”

Shona will be joined onstage by fellow Gypsy cast member Ben Stock, who is making a welcome return to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre for the first time in 10 years having appeared in, amongst other productions, Hello Dolly and A Chorus of Disapproval. Ben’s West End credits include GreaseChitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as appearing on tour as Lumiere in the much-loved musical Beauty and the Beast.

Ben Stock added:

“Ever since my first show at the age of 10, music from musicals has been a soundtrack of my life.  I was in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre ensemble in 2013 and it’s really exciting to be bringing some of the songs that have inspired me, and that I have performed in shows, to the Pitlochry stage. All alongside the brilliant Shona White.”

The Greatest Musicals of All Time will be performed on 23 May; 24 June; 1, 13 and 25 July, 10 August and 2, and 17 September.

The West End Musical Extravaganza will be performed on 25 May; 18 & 29 June; 16 July; 1 & 13 August and 7 & 21 September.

Tickets are priced from £16 and can be purchased by calling 01796 484626 or online at http://www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/whats-on

NEWS: Sunshine on Leith to be Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Winter production

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is excited to announce Sunshine on LeithStephen Greenhorn’s much-loved musical featuring the songs from world-renowned Scottish band The Proclaimers, is set to play in Pitlochry this Winter.

Photo: Fraser Band

Sunshine on Leith sees the return of service members Davy and Ally from war overseas, to be confronted with civilian life relationships, blind dates, and new responsibilities. As the pair embark on intertwining journeys of love, they begin to question what home really means to them as they rediscover their sense of identity.

Set to the classic songs of the much-loved The Proclaimers, including “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), “Letter from America” and of course the emotive “Sunshine on Leith”, this feel-good Scottish musical asks the question, would you walk 500 miles for love?

 Sunshine on Leith was originally staged at Dundee Rep in 2007 before being transformed into the 2013 smash hit feature film adaptation starring Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan.

Originally conceived last year in partnership with Capital Theatres, Sunshine on Leith will run at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 17 November till 23 December.

Further information about casting will be announced in the coming months.

The 2023 Autumn season will also see the world stage première in the theatre’s Studio of Cathy Forde’s new play Helping Hands directed by the Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Associate Director Ben Occhipinti.

Tickets for the Pitlochry Festival Theatre revival of Sunshine on Leith and the première of Helping Hands , will go on sale on Wednesday 17 May and will be available from the box office on 01796 484626 or online at http://www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

NEWS: Pitlochry Festival Theatre to open 2023 Season with new production of the much-loved musical Gypsy

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is set to open its exciting 2023 Season in May in a most spectacular way with the first staging in Scotland for nearly 20 years of Gypsy, Jule Styne, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre – 2023 Cast.

Gypsy is one of the greatest and most dazzling of all musicals. Based on the tantalising comedic memoirs of famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, it tells the amusing and sassy story of pushy showbiz mother Rose, who travels across America with her daughters, Baby June and Louise, in search of success with their homemade vaudeville act.

When Baby June leaves the act to elope, Rose vows to make introverted Louise into a star, and will do almost anything to see her daughter break into the big time.

Featuring the iconic songs Some PeopleLet Me Entertain You, and the show-stopping Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Gypsy is set to be a cracking night out that will have audiences humming all the way into the night as they leave the theatre.

Gypsy’s exciting cast will feature Shona White (Jack Absolute Flies Again, National Theatre, Mamma Mia!, West End and Merrily We Roll Along, Donmar Warehouse) as Mamma Rose; Blythe Jandoo (The Maggie Wall and Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and A Mother’s Song: A New Folk Musical, Macrobert Arts Centre) as Louise; Patricia Panther (Peter Pan and Wendy, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Orphans and Glasgow Girls, National Theatre of Scotland) as June; Ben Stock (Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, West End) as Herbie; Oliver Cookson (Hay Fever and Travels with my Aunt, Assembly Roxy) as Pop Rose/Mr Goldstone); Matthew Churcher (Animal Farm, National Tour/Fiery Angel & Birmingham Rep, Peter Pan, National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic and White Teeth, Kiln Theatre) as LA/Cigar; Rachael McAllister (Little Women and A Christmas Carol, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) as Mazeppa; Robbie Scott (Peter Pan and Wendy, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) as Tulsa; Joseph Tweedale (The Meaning of Zong, Bristol Old Vic and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Theatre Clwyd) as Yonkers/Weber; Jack Ward (Bridgerton, Netflix) as Angie; Trudy Ward (As You Like It, Jupiter Theatre) as Electra/ Agnes, and Kristin Weichen Wong (Field- Something For The Future Now, Edinburgh International Festival) as Tessie Tura.

Gypsy is directed by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Associate Director Ben Occhipinti (Blonde Bombshells in 1943 and co-director Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Designed by Liz Cooke, lighting by Kate Bonney, Musical Direction by Rob Hiley (CATS nominated for Blonde Bombshells in 1943), Choreography by Maggie Rawlinson and Sound Design by Lorna Munden.

Ben Occhipinti said:

“Gypsy is one of the most loved and powerful musicals ever written. I have wanted to direct it ever since I discovered the film years ago. I can’t think of another musical that brings the combined elements of drama, song and dance together in such a clear and joyful way. The combination of Sondheim’s exquisite lyrics and Styne’s beautiful melodies make Gypsy an enduring, powerful story. I can’t wait to bring it to life on the Pitlochry stage with such a talented and brilliant company.”

Gypsy runs at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 19 May till 30 September.

Tickets for Gypsy are now on sale and are available from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Box Office on 01796 484626 or online at www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com


NEWS: Pitlochry Festival Theatre announces Ensemble for 2023 season.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is delighted to announce its Ensemble for the 2023 season, which runs between May and late September this summer.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s exciting 19-strong Ensemble will feature John Michie (DI Robbie Ross in Taggart and Karl Munro in Coronation Street, both on ITV and Guy Self in Holby City, BBC); Kirsty Stuart (Adventures with the Painted People and Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Othello, Frantic Assembly, Call The Midwife, BBC and Shetland, BBC Scotland); Sally Reid (PC Sarah Fletcher in Scot Squad, BBC Scotland and Shirley Valentine, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Shona White (Jack Absolute Flies Again, National Theatre, Mamma Mia!, West End and Merrily We Roll Along, Donmar Warehouse); Benny Young (Monarch of the Glen; Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Brian Dunkley in Coronation Street, ITV; Shetland, BBC as well as appearing in the Oscar winning films Chariots of Fire and Out of Africa (opposite Robert Redford and Meryl Streep) Nalini Chetty (Cyrano, Citizens Theatre/NTS, Zinnie Hassoun in River City, BBC and will shortly be seen in Gregory Burke’s new ITV Drama Six-Four); Blythe Jandoo (The Maggie Wall and Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and A Mother’s Song: A New Folk Musical, Macrobert Arts Centre); Matthew Trevannion (War Horse, National Theatre, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, West End and Othello, Frantic Assembly);  Patricia Panther (Peter Pan and Wendy, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Orphans and Glasgow Girls, National Theatre of Scotland) and Deirdre Davis (Eileen Donachie in River City, BBC Scotland and Monarch of The Glen, Pitlochry Festival Theatre).

The ensemble will also feature Matthew Churcher (Animal Farm, National Tour/Fiery Angel & Birmingham Rep, Peter Pan, National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic and White Teeth, Kiln Theatre); Oliver Cookson (Hay Fever and Travels with my Aunt, Assembly Roxy); Rachael McAllister (Little Women and A Christmas Carol, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Keith Macpherson (Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Waiting for Godot, Citizens Theatre and Stan and Ollie, BBC Films); Robbie Scott (Peter Pan and Wendy, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Marc Small (TV credits include The IT CrowdJonathan Creek and recently appeared in the Amazon Prime film The People We Hate At The Wedding with Ben Platt);  Ben Stock (Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, West End and A Chorus of Disapproval and Hello Dolly, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Joseph Tweedale (The Meaning of Zong, Bristol Old Vic and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Theatre Clwyd);  Jack Ward (Bridgerton, Netflix); Trudy Ward (As You Like It, Jupiter Theatre) and Kristin Weichen Wong (Field- Something For The Future Now, Edinburgh International Festival).

Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman said about the talented Ensemble:

“It has been an inspiring experience bringing together the Summer season Ensemble this year. We are thrilled to share the news of all the talented people who are coming to Pitlochry for the first time as well as some brilliant returning collaborators. We did a big open call again this year. And two of our wonderful ensemble members came from the open-call self-tape process and several others came from the Spotlight open process too.

Every member of the Ensemble offers different skills and experiences to the season, which I am sure will help us to make rich and thrilling work for our audiences to enjoy. The actors in our Ensemble continue to be the life blood of the season and their hard work always has a profound effect on audiences and delights all our visitors.”

Running from 19 May until 30 September, the 2023 season Ensemble will feature in revivals of the legendary musical Gypsy (19 May – 30 September) and Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire (2 June – 30 September), the Scottish première of Emma Rice’s acclaimed stage adaptation of Noël Coward’s screenplay for the film Brief Encounter (16 June-29 September);  Peter Arnott’s new play Group Portrait In A Summer Landscape (25 August – 28 September), co-produced by Pitlochry Festival Theatre with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and directed by The Lyceum’s Artistic Director David Greig and the première of acclaimed Scottish playwright Isla Cowan’s (She Wolf, Edinburgh Festival Fringe) new play To The Bone (18 August-29 September).

The Ensemble will also feature the première of Elizabeth Newman’s new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s much-loved classic story The Secret Garden (7 July-19 August) and the return of the Theatre’s acclaimed productions of Martin McCormick’s The Maggie Wall (9-28 June) and Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Lipstick, Ketchup and Blood (1-22 September), Lesley Hart’s adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1887 classic Sherlock Holmes adventure A Study in Scarlet.

For further information and tickets for the Pitlochry Festival Theatre 2023 season visit pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

NEWS: Pitlochry Festival Theatre announce line up for 2023 season

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has today announced an exciting line up of world premières, classic plays, new writing and a smash-hit musical for its 2023 summer season


Running from 19 May until 30 September, the 2023 season will open with the legendary musical Gypsy. With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the musical tells the story of the burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee and her ambitious showbiz mother, Rose.

This will be followed by a rare Scottish theatre revival of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Williams’ masterpiece follows sisters Blanche and Stella’s reunion in New Orleans. Reality and illusion collide for these complex women, especially when Stella’s husband Stanley uncovers hidden truths.

The 2023 season in the Auditorium will host the Scottish première of Emma Rice’s acclaimed adaptation of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter in which a chance meeting at a railway station tearoom hurls two strangers headlong into a whirlwind romance that threatens to blow their worlds apart. It will also feature the world première of Scottish playwright Peter Arnott’s new play Group Portrait In A Summer Landscape, co-produced with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

After a highly successful opening season in 2022, the Theatre’s new Studio will stage the première of To The Bone, Scottish playwright Isla Cowan’s (She Wolf, Edinburgh Festival Fringe) new play which explores haunting, healing, and what we call ‘home’. The new performance space will also see Pitlochry Festival Theatre collaborate with A Play, A Pie and A Pint for the first time with The Great Replacement, Uma Nada-Rajah’s darkly comedic romp through intergenerational politics and the absurdities and peculiarities of race. Finally, the 2023 Studio season will see the welcome return of The Maggie Wall, Martin McCormick’s acclaimed play inspired by a mysterious monument built in Dunning, Perthshire to commemorate the death of a woman who was tried and executed in the 17th century for witchcraft. The Maggie Wall will be a co-production with Aberdeen Arts Centre.

The 2023 season will also see live performances in the venue’s picturesque Amphitheatre, nestled within its Explorers Garden and in the shadow of Ben-y-Vrackie, with the première of Elizabeth Newman’s new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s much-loved classic tale The Secret Garden and the return of the sold-out tale of Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Lipstick, Ketchup and Blood, Lesley Hart’s adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1887 classic Sherlock Holmes adventure A Study in Scarlet. The acclaimed play will be a co-production with OVO and will transfer to the Roman Theatre in St Albans later in the year.

In February, Pitlochry Festival Theatre can’t wait to announce the news of its tenth and final production of its 2023 season – the world première of a brand-new play that is set to captivate audiences this Summer.

Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre said:

“We are proud to continue to be the nation’s largest producing Theatre located in beautiful Pitlochry.  We reach audiences and artists from all across Scotland (mainland and islands), and we cannot wait to spend next year deepening our relationships locally, regionally, and nationally.

This summer season we also collaborate with other companies to share Pitlochry with the world and the world with Pitlochry. We will collaborate with A Play, a Pie and a Pint, OVO and Aberdeen Arts Centre, all for the first time and continue our important relationship with the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre prides itself on making great drama in the heart of Scotland and we can’t wait to welcome more people to get involved through our participation activities too, and if you’re an artist, you can also connect with us through our different talent development initiatives and Writers Room.

The investment made by Creative Scotland and Perth & Kinross Council to Pitlochry Festival Theatre enables us to create meaningful, accessible, and entertaining work for the people of Scotland. In a typical year, we reach audiences across an extraordinary third of the entire country and have the widest reach of any Scottish theatre maker. With the support of these two organisations, we are delighted to provide theatre Inside, Outside and Online for all.”

Further to an already great line-up of theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre will also be celebrating live music throughout the season by hosting a series of Inside and Outside events, featuring music from the great musicals.

 Ahead of the start of the summer 2023 season, Pitlochry Festival Theatre will be staging its annual Winter Words Festival (9 – 12 February), which will be in person for the first time in two years and will include the extremely popular Banff Mountain Film Festival (11 February) and The Makings of a Murderer (12 February) with the Scottish detective David Swindle.

Further information about the casting for the 2023 ensemble and the full line up for the Winter Words Festival will be announced in the coming months.

Tickets for the 2023 season will go on sale to existing Pitlochry Festival Theatre members on Wednesday 15 February 2023 and on general sale on Wednesday 1 March 2023. Tickets for Winter Words Festival will go on sale in mid-January. For further information on tickets and productions visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com or call 01796 484626.

REVIEW: Sister Radio – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Silence. Silence is what sisters Fatemeh and Shirin live in every day in their Edinburgh tenement flat. The reason for the imposed silence is slowly, elegantly and heartbreakingingly, revealed in Sara Shaarawi’s Sister Radio.

Spanning over 40 years, from the 1970s, when Shirin moves into her older sister Fatimeh’s flat after their father has sent them ostensibly to Scotland to study (but in reality, to escape the impending Islamic Revolution in their homeland Iran), to the COVID pandemic in 2020.

Through monotonous repetition of their present-day domestic routines and flashbacks coloured by the ever-present radio, to their younger lives together, the story unfolds, adding a little more, and a little more with every scene.

The thoughts of the idealistic Shirin in the 1970s, who desperately wants to return to fight for her homeland, actually gives chills, given the benefit of hindsight and the horrifying case of Mahsa Amini at the hand of the country’s ‘morality police’ last month. Sister Fatimeh is much more accepting of her new life created in Scotland. However, it is a personal betrayal that is at the heart of the piece.

Both Lanna Joffrey (Fatemeh) and Nalân Burgess (Shirin) handle the piece with commendable restraint and deliver a believable chemistry between older and younger sister, indeed theirs is a five-star acting performance in a not-quite-perfect play. The domestic monotony does become too monotonous unfortunately, and the ending is a little stretched out, a little too sentimentally drawn together, which deprives the piece of the impact it could have had. That said, the post-curtain call speeches from both actors delivers a dose of the present-day reality in Iran that brings the audience to tears.

Runs until 22 October 2022 then continues touring | Image: Fraser Band

REVIEW: Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

This was meant to be The 39 Steps – however due to the indisposition of one of the actors due to an eye injury ( I’d like to imagine the understudy punched him to get the lead role) this was, at the last minute, switched to Alan Ayckbourn’s time travelling comedy drama Communicating Doors.

Three women. One hotel suite. In 1992, one is on her honeymoon night. In 2012, one is about to be murdered. In 2032, one discovers that a communicating door holds the key to all their destinies . . .

When Poopay, a self-styled ‘Specialist Sexual Consultant’, is summoned to a five star hotel, it transpires that her elderly client isn’t interested in her usual services. Instead, the conscience-stricken Reece wants her to witness his dying confession: that many years before, he employed his business associate, Julian, to murder his two wives.

When he learns of the confession, the deranged Julian decides that Poopay must be silenced permanently. Terrified, Poopay flees through the communicating door, only to find that it leads not into an adjacent room, but back into the same suite . . . twenty years before on the very night that wife number two is about to die.

This reviewer has a chequered history with Ayckbourn’s plays. His output is often very much of its time and revivals of his work often seem badly dated.  After an over-long set up this however turned into an absorbing evening’s entertainment with deft acting and storytelling keeping the story arc cohesive and engaging.

On the down side, one point of weakness is the staging: the setting here is 1992 and the 2012 of the play is the future. Possibly due to a slightly outdated set decoration (the actual design which incorporated the time-travelling door was cleverly done) but without significant decorative differences across the years this wasn’t conveyed as well as it could have been. For Pitlochry this is a surprise as it’s usually known for phenomenally inventive set design.

This Ayckbourn play has fared better than most and provides as many laughs as suspenseful moments. Worth a visit.

Runs until 11th October – Pitlochry Festival Theatre details here

REVIEW: Little Shop of Horrors – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

“Business is so bad at his Skid Row Florists that Mr. Mushnik is considering throwing in the trowel, but just when it seems that the roses are destined for the garbage, Mushnik’s accident-prone assistant, Seymour, discovers a strange and exotic new plant. Seymour names his discovery Audrey Two, but Audrey Two is no ordinary shrub, it grows at a phenomenal rate thanks to a rather unusual diet, oh, and it has plans for world domination. Only Seymour knows Audrey Two’s terrible secrets and he’s prepared to risk everything for a shot at fame, fortune and true love.”

Once again, apologies for tardy posting, I saw this a few weeks ago.

Following on from last year’s success My Fair Lady, Pitlochry Festival Theatre present Little Shop of Horrors. Taking as its starting point classic 50s B-Movies, this comedy-horror musical is ably performed by a 14-strong cast who take on all of the roles as well as the orchestral duties. 

Deserving of praise are Charlie Tighe in the central role of Seymour, who takes tortured geek to a whole new level and Elliot Harper (above centre) who, amongst a series of roles, delivers a lesson in how to pitch an over the top role perfectly. Kate Quinnell (below), last year’s Eliza Doolittle turns in another accomplished performance, singing, dancing, playing the clarinet and acting with aplomb. Special mention must go to Dan Smith as the voice of Audrey, who had to step in to cover with minimal notice – so adept was the performance that you would never have believed he was anything other than the originator of the role. 

My only concern with this, as it was with last year’s musical show at Pitlochry, was that the vocals and music were seriously under-powered. It may be the fault of the amplification or the fact that the actors had to double up as musicians but it all needed a little more oomph. The quality was there it was just lacking in volume. That said, the sets, costumes and the fabulous animated plant Audrey were first class and there were laughs a-plenty to keep everyone entertained.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Port Na Craig, Pitlochry, runs until October 13

Author:  Howard Ashman

Music: Alan Menken

Director: John Durnin

REVIEW: Henceforward – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

It’s sometime quite soon . . .

Jerome is a serious avant-garde composer. He`s written string quartets, a ‘cello sonata. Unfortunately, he`s best known for the soundtrack of the infamous Singing Babies TV commercial . . .

Even worse, ever since his bank manager wife Corinna left him, taking their daughter with her, Jerome has suffered from creative block. Locked inside his fortress flat, he now lives surrounded by TV screens, computers and synthesizers, with just one companion: NAN 300F, a robot nanny who seems almost human, despite being perpetually on the blink. Well, the manufacturer did have to withdraw the entire range after that ‘unfortunate incident’ . . .

Desperate to gain custody of his daughter, but knowing that this unconventional lifestyle is unlikely to endear him to the Department of Child Wellbeing, Jerome hires out-of-work actress Zoë to pose as his fiancée and play happy families for the benefit of Mervyn Bickerdyke, the Child Welfare Officer.

But things with Zoë go horribly wrong – just as Mervyn and Corinna are on their way to examine Jerome’s stable new home environment – and Jerome is forced to improvise. You know, it’s amazing what you can do with a robot, a few micro-chips and a screwdriver . . .

Alan Ayckbourn’s play unfortunately doesn’t stand up to the ravages of time and has dated – badly. It’s not helped by the fact the central character, though well enough acted, had no redeeming features. Ultimately it all left me a little bit cold.

« Older Entries