The Lover – Theatre Made in Edinburgh

The Lover – Theatre Made in Edinburgh is an exciting collaboration between the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Stellar Quines and Scottish Dance Theatre. It opens at The Lyceum on Saturday 20 January 2018 and the run continues until 3rd February.

Tonight, I was privileged to join some of the cast and the directors for a behind the scenes glimpse of theatre in the making. Being a patron of the Royal Lyceum Theatre comes with some wonderful opportunities. What could brighten up a dour winter afternoon more than the chance to hear what the director is thinking, see what the dancers are doing and discuss what it’s all about with other like minded folk?

Not much, methinks.

1930s Vietnam is the setting for The Lover based on the autobiographical novels by Marguerite Duras and adapted for the stage by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick. Looking back down the tunnel of memory, how accurate is anyone’s recollection? Duras claimed to be unsentimental. Do we believe her? Was she exploited? Did she exploit?

Amalgamating text with a haunting soundtrack and contemporary dance opens up so much. The tiny section of the production seen tonight in rehearsal was tantalising. I’ve got my ticket. Get yours here:

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

I first encountered The Glass Menagerie on paper when I read it as part of my American Lit course at Edinburgh University. It’s a play to trouble and disturb but enchant from the first word spoken by Tom, our narrator and thinly disguised manifestation of Williams himself, to the last breath Laura uses to extinguish her candles.

What can be done to safeguard the future of an adult child without any skills needed to survive alone – a vulnerable adult, if you will? How can a mother protect that person? How can a loving brother escape with any hope of making a life without guilt?

It’s a play about memory and illusion and we agonise over the memories that drive the lives of Amanda, Laura and Tom. Jim comes into their desperate world and even illusion is shattered.

Exquisitely played by Irene Macdougall, Millie Turner, Robert Jack and Thomas Cotran, the play haunts our own memory long after the curtain.

Run ended.

Time and The Conways

Currently playing at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre, Time and The Conways by JB Priestley is a must see.

Priestley takes time to draw the audience into the post demob world of Mrs Conway and her six children. Alan and Robin have miraculously escaped the carnage and returned home undamaged from the trenches. Kay is celebrating her twenty-first birthday and her sisters, Madge, Hazel and Carol are helping.We watch with 21st century disbelief as they fidget through a huge pile of dressing-up clothes and false moustaches. A simpler time then – it was simpler even when Priestley wrote Time and the Conways, first produced in 1937.

The current production is a collaboration between Dundee Rep and the Royal Lyceum. It’s directed by Jemima Levick and she’s ably supported by Designer Ti Green, Lighting designer Mark Doubleday and composer Philip Pinsky. The costumes were the responsibility of Dundee Rep and they are fabulous. Nor should one forget to mention the ageing of the characters between the first act and the second. Make-up, padding, wigs, movement – the whole package carried the characters forward to the late thirties in a beilievable way.

The performances of Emily Winter as the lead character, Kay, Irene Macdougall as Mrs conway and Richard Conlon as Alan Conway were very nearly perfect, but that’s not to forget the rest of Time and the Conways able and engaging cast.

The story is reminiscent of the Cherry Orchard, although no ancient retainers are shut up for the winter, and shows just how easily comfortable optimism can lead to disaster.

Another week in Edinburgh and then transferring to Dundee Rep. You should go…