Art Review – Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Dir. Paul Brotherston, Tron Theatre, 20th – 22nd April

Near the end of the experimental performance based on Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by the University of the West of Scotland, one of the actors blames the budget for not actually having a T-Rex on stage. To me this was an amusing comment, as the extraordinary number of props give the impression of a limitless budget. With ladders, globes, ice picks, deckchairs, measuring tape, bottles of gin, boxes of fish and even a shelf from a bookcase, no other set is needed to depict the world of 1863 Germany and Iceland.

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Arts Review: High Heels In Low Places – Panti Bliss

Tramway, 11th march

As part of Glasgow’s Tramway-based Take Me Somewhere festival, Panti Bliss – Ireland’s foremost drag queen and prominent gay rights activist – brings her acclaimed stand-up/monologue show High Heels in Low Places in front of a packed auditorium in the Pollokshields theatre. There’s little warning of what to expect, and the production – much like Panti herself – refuses to stick to any rigid format or convention. She breaks up the story-telling core with several departures in several different mediums: an immersive experience which reins itself in every so often, with frequent reflections on the very serious topics of Panti’s beginnings and rise to international fame.

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Arts Review: Hay Fever

Dir, Noël Coward, Citizens Theatre, 5th-22nd April

The best word I can find to describe Hay Fever, directed by Noël Coward, is ‘good’. It contains all of the necessary parts to make for an incredibly production, it ticks all of the necessary boxes, but put together it lacks something essential to pull it all together. Thus some scenes are brilliant and have the theatre echoeing with laughter, whilst other scenes seem to fall flat.

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Arts Review: Expensive Shit

Dir, Adura Onashile, Tron Theatre, 30th March – 1st April

I walk into the auditorium not sure what to expect. A toilet attendant? Two clubs in different continents? Dreams of dancing? I am not sure this is going to work. Yet what I encountered is an intelligent, thought-provoking and sensitive performance. Somehow, it manages to connect two seemingly separate worlds by focusing on the universality of themes like dreams, power and the rights of women’s bodies.

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Arts Review: Scottish Poetry Slam Championships

Tron Theatre, 13th February

The Scottish Championship is the biggest event on the slam poetry scene in Scotland. Every year, regional winners compete for the chance to represent Scotland in the world championships. Robin Cairn, a poet and performer himself, talks us through the evening. For the uninitiated among us: each poet has only 3 minutes to perform their piece or the horn will cut them off. While all the performances were of incredibly high calibre, and here’s a couple of my particular favourites.

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Arts Review: Welcome to Nigeria – Aye Write 2017

CCA, 12th March

Nigerian writing is in vogue at the moment, and for good reason. Like many of their compatriots, the two speakers at this Aye Write panel, Ayobami Adebayo and Chibundu Onuzo, are funny, exciting and up-and-coming novelists. Adebayo’s debut novel ‘Stay With Me’ is a complex story of family life that starts with the introduction of a second wife in a marriage. Told through the eyes of both husband and wife, it is intended to “celebrate the women who get up and keep going”. It was listed for the Bailey’s Prize 6 days after its release, and the author says she keeps checking if her name is still on the website to make sure there hasn’t been a mistake.

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Arts Review: My Country – A Work In Progress

Dir. Rufus Norris, The Citizens, 28th March – 1st April

With the houselights still on, a woman in a formal attire starts setting up the stage. The ballot boxes at the back serving as a memory of the Brexit referendum, and for Scots perhaps as a precursor for the second independence referendum. “You’ve all turned up”, the lady says to the audience. “I’m grateful.” Tonight we are listeners, and witnesses to a meeting of the UK, with Northern Ireland, Mid-West of England, Caledonia and all the other parts summoned by Britney – short for Britannia. They have come together during every crucial moment in history, and so they do now.

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