Tag Archives: REVIEWS

FEATURE: The Tron Ambassadors Programme Part 2

Since 2003 the Tron have enabled young people to experience a range of the career opportunities available within a fully operational theatre via the one-year Tron Ambassadors scheme. Through this scheme they foster deeper connections with the theatre itself, and the work they do both in-house and within the community, as well as an understanding of the wider theatre and creative arts industries.

Tron Ambassadors take part in regular workshops with Tron staff, external visitors and leading professionals to identify and develop transferable skills. Previous Tron Ambassadors have worked with the Tron’s production, marketing and front of house departments, theatre critics, set and costume designers and professional actors and directors. The programme also allows the Ambassadors to gain an Arts Award qualification from their full participation in the programme.

For the past four years, I have been lucky enough to work with these talented young people on the theatre criticism element of the programme. Always a joy to discover new voices and foster new talent in the field of arts criticism, I have also had the privilege of working with the most talented writers at The Reviews Hub.

Published here are the next batch of reviews of How Not to Drown, Dritan Kastrati’s perilous asylum story.

Reviewer: Helena Leite

ThickSkin’s production of How Not To Drown, the story of eleven-year-old asylum seeker Dritan Kastrati’s unaccompanied journey to the UK, pulls on the heart strings and leaves us all questioning how much we should appreciate our own lives.

Kastrati’s journey begins in 2002 within the aftermath of the Kosovan War and at such a young age is sent away by his parents to be smuggled to the UK for safety. His journey is perilous and the only things he has in order to survive are his wit and charm. Kastrati struggles to cling to his identity and feels a sense of self-loss when he is put into the British care system.

Dritan himself tells the entire story, and in a Brechtian style of switching roles suddenly, other members of the cast also play the role of Kastrati as well as the influential people in his journey. This aspect of the performance stands out, catching the attention,  leaving you curious to see the other actors’ interpretation of the eleven-year-old Dritan.

The set design is simple but affective, showing the limited amount of supplies Dritan had, and also, the fact the acting space is a raised, relatively small, wooden platform, emphasises this young boy’s isolation. The platform is also on a slight gradient, seemingly representing the mental and physical struggle Kastrati faced on his journey, the actors having to work tirelessly to keep up their energy.

How Not To Drown is more than worthy of its Scotsman Fringe First Award and is definitely to be recommended to anyone who enjoys true theatrical authenticity, and also those who are willing to learn of the trials asylum seekers must go through in order to survive.

 

Reviewer: Holly Morton

Forward, forward, forward. Or Down. Or Nothing. The mantra Dritan Kastrati repeats to himself in How Not To Drown, his intensely emotional life story.Through his play, Kastrati sheds light on the previously unseen side of foster care in the UK, and the unfathomable difficulties faced by refugees.

Kastrati himself is brilliant, laying his whole life out for the audience to step into, and punctuating every scene with his real, raw emotion. The five fantastic actors, who perfectly flick between roles throughout, manage to perform flawless choreography on a tilted, rotating stage. Words cannot encapsulate the effect How Not To Drown has on the audience, which shares an essential message on family that all deserve to see.

Reviewer: Abbie Miller

This amazing tale tells the extremely hard but true story of a young Albanian/Kosovan child named Dritan. Dritan’s father forces him to leave his home country for his own safety. This amazing young boy has only ever known war and violence now must take on a whole different type of challenge in the British foster care system. This tragic yet inspiring story is by the Thick Skin theatre company and they manage to do an amazing job telling it.

Even though not everyone can relate to this show, especially this reviewer as a sixteen-year-old Scottish girl, the message behind the show is still very clear. It teaches you to have strength, gives you perspective on your own life and even changes the way you view things.

The character Dritan is played by Kastrati himself which only makes this show even more special. This cast, although small, are an extremely strong team who all trust and rely on each other, making the show ten times better, as you can practically see their bond.

The characters in the show are not restricted by age or gender or even race, and no one actor is set to play the same character for the whole play, which shows us just how truly talented these actors are. To be able to change to a completely different character in a second is truly phenomenal.

It is impossible not to enthralled when watching this play even though there are no dramatic costumes or intricate sets, the story is the only thing needed. They way the lights are used is enough to keep you on your seats too, when Dritan is on the raft heading for England there is a red floodlight used to represent the danger he is in and when he falls into the water the red floodlight changes to a blue one, this represents the water that surrounds him as he tries to escape it.

We watch as Dritan makes the hard and gruelling journey to England and then his terrifying experience whilst trying to get registered as a British citizen, then as he suffers in the foster care system after being taken away from his brother who had been sent to England a few years before Dritan. At school, there is no respite as he is constantly bullied for not being white and not being able to speak English. Throughout the play you have the urge to stand up and tell Dritan that everything will be alright whilst also being too scared to move a muscle in fear you miss something.

How Not to Drown is a truly exceptional play that will have you leaving the theatre an emotional wreck with a new point of view on the world. This story will hopefully become known across the world so that people know they are not alone and teach people how hard life can be for different people; you should always treat people the way you want to be treated yourself – no matter what.

Reviewer: Danny Taggart

The moving story How Not to Drown is the story of the hard life of Kosovan/Albanian boy, Dritan Kastrati, who is forced by his father to seek a new beginning in a new country. The young kid who has previously grown up surrounded by war and destruction, now must face another kind of hardship in the UK foster care system. The uplifting, but traumatic show is by the theatre company Thick Skin.

While the show is hard to relate to as a 14-year-old Glaswegian teenager it is easy to see the message is very important. This play changes your outlook on life by making you think about how easy you have it. And the fact that Dritan is played by Dritan Kastrati himself, makes the whole thing even more powerful.

The show cleverly has interchanging roles, allowing you to see each one of these talented actors’ performance of Dritan. The cast seamlessly switching between roles without breaking the atmosphere. The small cast seem to have a very strong relationship which only adds to making you feel like part of the action.

Like the rotating roles, the stage also rotates giving you different perspectives of the action. Allowing you to never become bored of the one very simple-seeming set. This is not the only clever aspect of the set design with a chain that allows the actors to lean into the audience which connects you to them.

There is clever use of light too, when a character leans into the audience, a very simple white light shines on them showing their emotions or thoughts at that time. The sound and music immerse you into the show making you feel like you are that little scared young boy.

As you follow Kastrati from his journey on the boat trying to make his way to the UK, to the tough asylum seeking process and then through his horrible experience in the foster care system where he was so excluded from his normal way of life, you just want to tell him everything is going to end up fine, How Not To Drown is a phenomenal play. It will have you walking out at the end with a new perspective.

This show should be remembered and will hopefully make many people have a new outlook on the tough prospects that people on our very doorsteps go through every day of their lives.

 

Reviewer: Jack Byrne

Fringe First Award-winning How Not to Drown, manages to defy expectations and leave a lasting impact.

How Not to Drown focuses on the true story of Dritan Kastrati, writer and star of the play. It tells of how, when he was only 11 years old, his father sent him on his own to the UK from their home in Kosovo, to escape the Kosovan war.

Before the performance even begins, we are met with the stage; a makeshift raft made from planks of wood nailed together, raised up at one side to create a downward slope. Very clever, from the outset, it creates a sense of imbalance. The actors are constantly working to stay upright as they move around the stage.

From the outset we are drawn into Kastrati’s story. It is a harrowing yet uplifting tale, full of humour and heart. The fact that Kastrati himself is telling the story, makes it more real. It takes great bravery to stand in front of an audience and share intimate details of your own personal experience.

The storytelling is fast paced and, as we move from scene to scene, Kastrati and the four other actors are constantly changing characters, with each actor playing Dritan at least once. The idea that they are all Dritan symbolised how we can all relate to his story in some way or another. By the end of the performance you will be in tears, completely moved by the performance, unexpectedly deeply affected by the show, with new-found respect for Kastrati and everyone who has gone through the same thing.

The show is outstanding and definitely to be recommended. Go and see it if you get the chance.

 

Reviewer: Ros Butchart

How Not to Drown is an emotive and captivating play based around the true story of a young boy’s journey from his conflict endangered home to England. It is thought provoking and strikes the perfect balance between heartbreaking and humorous.

Throughout the play there are certain powerful themes that are emphasised, one being that the young boy, Dritan Kastrati or Tan as he is known, is unable to swim. Tan repeats a sort of mantra to himself “forward, forward or down or nothing”, and this serves as a powerful metaphor for the obstacles he faces while growing up and struggling to get to England, the struggle find a home there and then find a place that really feels like home at all. This play deals with real life issues such as the difficulties people in war effected countries face, being an immigrant in a foreign country and the overwhelming bureaucracy of the care system.

At the very beginning of the show we see Dritan being thrown into a river by his older brother and his brothers’ friends, and this is done beautifully as Dritan is tilted forward at an impossible angle of an already tilted stage when he says his mantra for the first time.

This opening is extremely effective in grasping the watcher’s attention, but more so than that, keeping it with the same enchanting intensity consistently present throughout. The ideas of repeated patterns and themes, for example Dritan’s mantra and his ability to read the true intentions of others (which proves to be a key skill that helps him on his journey) , these factors are both impressive and impactful as they really help the audience sink into the rhythm of the play.

Another impressive aspect of the show is the set and staging, with a small cast of only five the storytelling is seamless and engaging. The play is set on a raised, angled wooden surface that represented a raft, the actors ducking behind the stage and appearing again as a different character or to bring on props so smoothly it contributes to the overall dynamic of the play. The piece also incorporates a lot of physical theatre and this is executed flawlessly, the group moving as one.

This is a sharp and well executed production, and the raw emotion displayed on stage leaves you breathless. Without a doubt one of the most impactful pieces of theatre on the current theatrical scene.

Beautifully constructed, this truthful play tells a story that needs to be heard.

Images: Mihaela Bodlovic

REVIEW: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Another production fresh from a run in the West End and now hoofing it up and down the UK is David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, bringing the sunny south of France to a chilly Glasgow this week.

Based on the 1988 Steve Martin/Michael Caine movie where two rival con men vie for the attention and the bank balances of rich ladies, old and young, in beautiful Beaumont sur Mer.

Suave, sophisticated charmer Lawrence Jameson’s (Michael Praed) ruse is to pose as a prince to fleece his victims of their fortunes, whilst rival Freddy Benson (Noel Sullivan) is a masterclass in vulgarity, a fraudster who will do anything to pay for his next feed.

When the pair realise the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, a wager is laid down – the first to swindle €50000 from soap heiress Christine Colgate, gets to stay in town, the loser, packs his bags.

It may seem like an unlikely source of musical theatre material, it was always a lightweight story and writer Jeffrey Lane has done little to elevate the original movie script, leaving it languishing as a piece of fluff, albeit a very attractive looking piece of fluff.

David Yasbek’s songs are more set piece than plot-driver, but they are pleasant enough and feature just about ever style of song you can think of in the theatrical cannon: ‘Oklahoma’ (not that one) is a tongue in cheek country and western treat, Oompah number ‘Ruffhousin’ mit Shuffhuasen’ delivers the laughs, there’s tango and salsa too, and there’s even a great big power ballad (replete with X-Factor style backing choir) ‘Love is my Legs’. Worthy of note though is the exemplary band under the lively baton of Ben Van Tienen, who sound rich and musically on-point throughout.

The cast do their best with the material at hand, the fourth wall is broken throughout but this often misused device works well here. Michael Praed in a role he’s born for, is a smooth, suave, sophisticated charmer with a sonorous voice. Noel Sullivan actually brings a warmth and charm to the previously uncharming Freddy, Carley Stenson is a fine voiced Christine, and Phoebe Coupe wrings the most out of her hick-from-the- sticks character Jolene, but it’s the ever-popular Mark Benton as Lawrence’s right hand man and unlikely lothario, French police chief Andre, who garners the biggest laughs.

The comedy often feels like it’s from another era and considering the source material is almost 30 years old and the musical itself, though only appearing in the West End in 2014, has been doing the rounds in the US since 2004, it’s may be no surprise, but it really does need revision – is there really a need for saucy maids in suspenders and bottomless dresses in 2015 – c’mon.

There’s nothing new here, it’s not a groundbreaking work but it’s glitzy, glamorous, undemanding and undeniably entertaining and the cast and band are of the highest class.

Runs until Saturday 27th June 2015 then touring.

This article was originally written for and published for The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-kings-theatre-glasgow/

REVIEW: News Just In – The Arches, Glasgow

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/news-just-in-the-arches-glasgow/

Writer: Johnny McKnight

Director: Johnny McKnight

In News Just In the rag-bag team at Tartan Tonight take over the Arches for an anarchic commentary on the day’s Commonwealth Games events. There’s: deluded diva news anchor Delta (Julie Brown); alarmingly tanned co-anchor, sex pest and sectarian Fergus (Jordan Young); gay weatherman in pink shorts-suit and glittery gold trainers Ross (Johnny McKnight); former Commonwealth ping-pong player Margo (Rosalind Sydney); put-upon intern Sam (Gavin Jon Wright) and programme boss Jan (Julie Wilson Nimmo).

With an ever-changing script, a different lead writer every night (this one was finished just half an hour before the show), and an energy level required that would rival most of the competitors in the Games themselves, this is an ambitious undertaking.Tonight’s script has been culled from the reactions to the much anticipated opening ceremony “not as sh** as we thought it would be” and Scotland’s gold medal winning first day, but the lion’s share of the material is the petty rivalry, personal quirks and questionable antics of the team.

The humour is at times too heavy on crudity and scatology, where it really hits the mark and where it gets the biggest laughs of the night is when it plays upon every Glasgow caricature and in-joke to great effect, there’s also an hysterical voice over from Sally Reid  and some well-judged video material which provide much of the evening’s laughs. The Commonwealth material itself is spot-on, less effective are the TV show team’s antics which frame the show, surprising, as this is the material that one would presume has had the most time spent on it.

There’s no doubting the talent and commitment of the cast and the energy levels are to be applauded, however it’s not quite hit the mark yet, hopefully as the team settles into its stride and as the days progress there will be more fertile fodder.

REVIEW: Tonight’s The Night – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com

Writer: Ben Elton

Director: Caroline Jay Ranger

Choreographer: Denise Ranger

It’s down in Gasoline Alley, Detroit. Here we meet Stuart, madly in love with garage receptionist Mary but unable to declare his love, the lovelorn lad makes a deal with the devil to trade his soul for that of his idol Rod Stewart. He then learns the hard way to be careful what he wishes for, as in the pursuit of fame and fortune, he loses not only the girl he loves but everything he ever was.

Ben Elton’s plot of Tonight’s The Night is holier than Swiss cheese and has not so much been shoe-horned around the hits of Rod Stewart as crow-barred. Seriously outdated, the storyline and the humour regularly fail to meet the mark: essentially a well-worn love story with a bit of a morality tale about losing oneself in the pursuit of fame, it has all been done before and better. What saves the whole endeavour is the cast who, to a man, work their socks off.

Ben Heathcote turns in a creditable performance as our hero Stuart and is ably supported by Jenna Lee-James as love-interest Mary, it must be said though, that Miss Lee-James voice was cracking under the pressure at times throughout the night. The real stars however are the supporting cast, in particular Andy Rees as mechanic Rocky,  Rosie Heath as Dee Dee whose delivery of ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ brings the house down and Ricky Rojas as Mick Jagger/Keith Richard hybrid Stoner, who not only is in possession of an excellent voice but also manages to deliver the shows only funny lines with considerable aplomb. This trio are seriously underused, as the action and quality of the singing elevates when they are given their moment in the spotlight. The onstage (but camouflaged) band are also deserving of credit, fine-sounding, they help to drive the action along apace.

If you forgive the holey (almost non-existent) plot and concentrate on the music you’ll have a half decent night, and indeed the first night Glasgow crowd who sang their hearts out along with the cast at the biggest hits, were on their feet, (free) sailor hats on head, belting out the encore megamix at the end. Possibly of interest to Rod Stewart fans – musical theatre lovers might well do themselves a favour and steer clear.

Runs until Sat 14 June 2014

REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Fiddler-on-the-Roof_StrapThis article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at:

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/fiddler-on-the-roof-eastwood-park-theatre-giffnock/

Book: Joseph Stein

Music: Jerry Bock

Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick

Director: Alasdair Hawthorn

Choreographer: Jonathan Parsons

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★☆

There are few musicals which rely so heavily on a single central character to carry the show, but Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s Fiddler on the Roof is one.

The success (or failure) of this show hangs on the casting of the iconic role of Tevye; the poor Jewish dairyman, father of five free-thinking daughters and defender of the much cherished and long-held traditions of his Jewish faith. In the hands of Jonathan Proctor, Theatre Guild of Glasgow have a star quality Tevye, a rich baritone of exquisite tone and power, Proctor imbues the role with wisdom, wit and a winning warmth, which will charm even the hardest of hearts. Proctor lights up the stage with every appearance and the stage feels less bright when he’s not there.

Fiddler is a show about tradition, however it is anything but traditional: it is unusual subject matter for a musical, at its heart the story is undeniably bleak, focussing as it does on a turbulent time in Russian history: the pogroms, the victimisation of the Jewish people and the eventual Russian diaspora. Depressingly, the story still retains a resonance today as society fights to hang on to traditional values in turbulent times. Yes, there are moments of reflection, yes, it’s touching and yes, there are moments of utter sadness, but overwhelmingly it is a joyful celebration of life and of hope.

The staging here is relatively simplistic however, it is highly effective in evoking the bustling life in the shtetl Anatevka at the turn of the century. There is a large ensemble and the company are at their finest when singing as one. The evocative score has some stand out tunes too: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, “Sunrise, Sunset” and of course, “If I Were a Rich Man”, principle among them.

If any criticism is to be made with the production it is in some of the supporting roles, there were some pitch issues with a few of the cast, which were highlighted due to principal characters such as Proctor as Tevye and Suzanne Shanks in the role of daughter Hodel, being of such fine voice that it threw up any faults in those who had to sing alongside them. That said, it did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the evening.

A vivid re-staging of a classic show with a strong ensemble and a star leading man.

REVIEW: Crime and Punishment – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

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The sheer audacity to even attempt a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s literary classic Crime and Punishment is utterly reflective of the theatre within which it is receiving its world premier. At the core of The Citizens is an artistic vision which has never shied away from the difficult, never patronised its audience and season after season delivers innovation and originality to its patrons along with a healthy dose of theatrical madness.

This new adaptation by Chris Hannan eschews Dostoyevsky’s complex narrative and numerous sub-plots in favour of a clear central storyline, whilst still managing to give full weight to the big existential issues of the novel. The drama is also complimented by an atmospheric score by Macedonian composer Nikola Kodjabashia and a pared back design by Colin Richmond.

The ensemble are of the utmost quality, ably led by Adam Best. Best perfectly encapsulates Raskolnikov’s emotional turmoil as he descends into darkness and re-emerges into the light.

As with much of the work at The Citz, the piece manages to do what all great art should – to provoke debate. The moral and philosophical argument of whether it is ever justifiable to take a life for an ideological purpose is as far from being agreed upon and as hotly debated as it ever was.

Go along to question, to be inspired and challenged as well as entertained – yet another hit for The Citz.

Crime and Punishment runs at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow until September 28, after which it will transfer to Liverpool Playhouse, October 1-19; and then to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh from October 22 to November 9.

For more information, visit – www.citz.co.uk

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Photo Credit – Tim Morozzo

REVIEW: Back to the 80’s, Minerva Youth Theatre – Eastwood Park Theatre

The biggest hits of the decade, an engaging and nostalgia filled storyline, combined with the energy and commitment of this vibrant and highly talented cast, make Minerva Youth Theatre’s Back to the 80’s a must-see for every age group.

Regarded by most who had to live through them, as not the best decade for either fashion or music, this show proves that yes, some of the fashion moments may have been ill-judged, but there really were some fabulous hits in the 80’s, which this brilliantly exuberant and sure-footed cast deliver with unwavering focus and energy for the whole of its two hours.

There’s much to delight here for every age group; those who remember the 80’s can revel in the cleverly delivered nods to just about every famous face and fad of the decade (it’s a whirlwind tour of the pop culture of the day); while the kids can, in turn, laugh at what we found “cool” way back then and find out where all those neon fashions so prevalent now, actually came from. The kids will also surprise themselves at how many of those nearly 30 year old hits they actually know.

The show tells the story of 17 year old Corey (Matthew McCallion) and his friends and enemies in the 1989 graduating class of William Ocean High (get it?) as seen through the eyes of his almost thirty year old self in the year 2001. It’s a classic boy meets girl story infused with all the trials and tribulations of teenage love, but seen from the perspective of the now grown man, and all played out to the sounds of the biggest hits of the 80’s.

The ensemble as a whole are polished and assured, but special mention must go to Matthew McCallion as central character Corey Palmer whose affable charm, impeccable American accent and highly accomplished performance are the lynch-pin of the evening. He is ably supported by Reece Thomson as the object of Corey’s affection, Tiffany and Kyle Nolan as his rival in love Michael. Also deserving of praise are: Ross Moynihan as high school nerd turned Internet millionaire Feargal McFerrin, who wholeheartedly throws himself into the role and raises the biggest laughs of the night (I won’t waste the surprise but his Karate Kid routine is priceless) and Hannah Verlaque and Jennifer Scott as Laura and Debbie a pair of girly geeks with fantastic comic timing.

The show whizzes past at breakneck speed, punctuated by some fantastic hits sung by a hugely talented cast –  go along and enjoy the roller coaster ride Back to the 80’s – I promise you’ll love it.

Runs until Saturday (including Saturday matinee) at Eastwood Park Theatre

Tickets from Box Office 0141 577 4970

or

0141 569 9469

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra – Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

It was a triumphant return last night to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for John Wilson and his spectacular orchestra. At the risk of boring everyone senseless again (I’ve waxed lyrical and at length about John Wilson on many occasions) I’ll keep it short.

Wilson’s careful and clever mix of well known and neglected, but no less beautiful tunes serves to remind us that some of the finest songs of the 20th Century were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. 

The energy and virtuosity of the players and the enthusiasm and charisma of John Wilson manage to convey to each and every audience member the sheer joy and exuberance of this music. It is a privilege to be in the same room as these musicians and to hear this music. Vocalists Sir Thomas Allen, Julian Ovenden, Annalene Beechey and Kim Crisswell testify to the quality and sheer class of this outfit, all four made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when they sang. The sell-out house were on their feet at the end and everyone on stage deserved no less acclaim. All I ask is that they hurry back to Glasgow as soon as they can. 

REVIEW: Singin’ in the Rain – Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Glasgow Light Opera Club

If ever there was a musical that could wash away those impending winter blues then Singin’ in the Rain is that show. How can anyone fail to be entertained by musical classics such as Make ’em Laugh, You Are My Lucky Star, You Were Meant for Me and of course the magical title song? This tale of the dawn of the “talkies” is one of the best-loved musicals of all time.

Glasgow Light Opera Club bring a touch of stardust and good old-fashioned theatrical class to the King’s Theatre in this, their latest production. Giving the central performance of the night as Don Lockwood, Brendan Lynch is a revelation. This role requires the classic  “triple threat” – an actor, singer and dancer, and outside the professional theatre world that’s hard to find. Lynch’s voice is so utterly evocative of the era, that if you closed your eyes you’d swear you were listening to a 78 rpm record on a wind up gramophone. When you add in immaculate footwork executing the imaginative choreography and finely tuned acting, you can’t fail to see that Lynch truly is a star – the stage only fully lights up when he’s there.

Providing the high comedy moments with a deft touch are Suzanne Shanks as silent movie diva Lina Lamont and Aaron Mooney as Don’s life-long side-kick Cosmo Brown, Shank’s ear-splitting rendition of What’s Wrong With Me raises the biggest cheer of the night and praise must also go to the dancers who provide a touch of sparkle and polish with their Busby Berkeley-inspired routines.

If you want to be transported to a time when stars were stars and glamour and elegance were king then Singin’ in the Rain is the show to take you there, and I dare you not to skip through the next puddle you find humming the famous theme tune.

Runs at the King’s Theatre Glasgow until Saturday ticket details here

REVIEW: Footloose – Theatre Guild of Glasgow, Eastwood Park Theatre

When Ren and his mom move from Chicago to small town Bomont, Ren is prepared for big changes at his new high school, but what he isn’t prepared for is a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth. When the Reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage his reputation. With many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid how can Ren turn them all around?

The movie turned into musical might be a familiar formula but this faultless company don’t put a foot wrong in this high octane version of Dean Pitchford’s Footloose.

The cast burst onstage with an exuberant flourish and their infectious charm carries the audience along on a wave of energy right to the end in this engaging and affable tale.

The Theatre Guild of Glasgow are renowned for the quality of their cast and here it’s no exception. Central to the action is Connor Going whose assured performance strikes the right balance between arrogance and affability as rebellious teen Ren, but where the production really shines is when the more experienced members of the ensemble take to the stage. In particular Cameron Lowe gives a finely tuned performance as Reverend Moore, the lynch-pin of the community with a strangle-hold on the town’s youth. Lowe perfectly conveys the inner turmoil of a man struggling with his duties as town leader and his true feelings. His beautifully nuanced performance is the highlight of the night. Adele Simpson and Suzanne Lowe as the mothers of the two central characters also deliver a “hairs on the back of the neck” scene in Learning to be Silent, where both actresses’ soaring voices are given a chance to shine. As well as these moments of drama, Andrew Neilson as Willard provides the comedy set piece of the night with his rendition of Mama Says. Pure comedy gold.

This is a show guaranteed to put a smile on your face – get a ticket if you can, go along and be swept away by its joyous charm, and be confident that where you see the name Theatre Guild of Glasgow you can be certain that’s it’s quality assured.

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