Category Archives: Scotland

An Interview with Euan Wilson

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Hello Euan, you are currently touring with ‘Stick Man,’ can you tell us about the play?
Stick Man is a fantastic story about Stick Man trying to find his way home and everyone he meets on the way. It’s a brilliant adventure that sees him meet numerous exciting characters and travel to equally exciting places.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?
I think the audience will take away the wonderful story of adventure – as well as having the songs stuck in your head!

What was your initial response to the Stick Man script?
I absolutely loved how bursting with fun and energy the script is – it’s never slow and has bundles of excitement around every corner. The script works brilliantly for only three performers onstage and I can’t wait to start performing it around the country.

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Have you found it hard bringing a character to life from the book?
So far, I’m actually finding it really easy! The multiple characters I play are really different but all full of life and energy and a joy to play. As well as that my character plays a lot of music on stage and the music is brilliant and really fun to play.

Did you always want to be an actor? How did you get to where you are today?
After deciding that being an astronaut wasn’t for me, I always wanted to do something creative. I loved music from a very early age and then got involved with drama at my school and the local amateur theatre company which I absolutely loved. From there I joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and after leaving sixth form studied Actor Musicianship at Rose Bruford.

What was your favourite book growing up?
I loved reading when I was growing up. I absolutely adored the adventure and excitement in Harry Potter and the Young Bond series, which is one of the main reasons I love Stick Man.

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What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?
You absolutely don’t want to miss this show. There’s more fun, music and puppetry than you can shake a stick at.

Any advice for budding actors?
Go and see as much theatre as you can! Find out where you can get the cheapest tickets from and go see whatever you can. It really is a learn by watching kind of art and the more you see the more you’ll realise what kinds of theatre you love. I would also strongly suggest auditioning for the National Youth Theatre, it’s a great introduction into the world of acting and you’ll have the time of your life!


You can catch Euan & Stick Man as they tour the UK,

from September 2017 to January 2018.

SEPTEMBER 2017
22 – 23 SEP GLASGOW King’s Theatre 0844 871 7648 BOOK NOW
24 – 25 SEP DUNFERMLINE Alhambra Theatre 01383 740384 BOOK NOW
26 – 27 SEP FALKIRK FTH Theatre 01324 506850 BOOK NOW
30 SEP – 1 OCT SALFORD QUAYS The Lowry 0843 208 6010 BOOK NOW

OCTOBER 2017
2 – 3 OCT NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre & Opera House 0844 249 1000 BOOK NOW
6 – 7 OCT BLACKBURN King George’s Hall 0844 847 1664 BOOK NOW
8 – 9 OCT MIDDLESBROUGH Theatre 01642 81 51 81 BOOK NOW
10 – 11 OCT NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal 0115 989 5555 BOOK NOW
13 – 15 OCT WINCHESTER Theatre Royal 01962 840 4405 BOOK NOW
16 OCT LEAMINGTON SPA Royal Spa Centre 01926 334418 BOOK NOW
18 – 19 OCT LOWESTOFT Marina Theatre 01502 533200 BOOK NOW
21 – 22 OCT LONDON artsdepot 020 8369 5454 BOOK NOW
23 – 24 OCT PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal 023 9264 9000 BOOK NOW
26 – 27 OCT BURY ST EDMUNDS Theatre Royal 01284 769505 BOOK NOW
28 – 29 OCT SOUTHEND Palace Theatre 01702 351135 BOOK NOW

NOVEMBER 2017
1 – 2 NOV BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion Theatre 0844 576 3000 BOOK NOW
4 – 5 NOV BRISTOL Old Vic 0117 987 7877 BOOK NOW
6 – 7 NOV MALVERN Forum Theatre 01684 892277 BOOK NOW
8 NOV TEWKESBURY Roses Theatre 01684 295074 BOOK NOW
12 – 14 NOV NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate 01604 624811 BOOK NOW
17 – 18 NOV SOUTHPORT The Atkinson 01704 533 333 BOOK NOW
19 NOV NORTHALLERTON The Forum 01609 776230 BOOK NOW

DECEMBER 2017-JANUARY 2018
18 – 24 DEC MILTON KEYNES The Stables 01908 280800 BOOK NOW
26 DEC – 12 JAN BIRMINGHAM Town Hall

An Interview with Katie Bonna

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Hello Katie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I live in London, but I am Midlands through and through and I am currently travelling around the UK with my show All The Things I lied About. We hit Glasgow this week, we’ll be at the Iron on 22nd and 23rd September. I’m bloomin’ thrilled.

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
I was pretty certain I’d be going into it when I played Supergirl with my sister aged four. I took it so seriously I ended up with a nosebleed from face-planting into our bedroom wall. I was so convinced I could fly.

As an actress, what are the secrets to a good performance?
Before every show I have to do two things. The first is to remind myself that I have never said anything I’m about to say before and the second is to mainline Beyonce. Freedom and Formation are my two favourite songs right now.

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You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
Harold & Maude for sure, I love that film. I’m not really a film person, though. I try to be because it feels more cultured but I generally prefer TV. I’d take all of Girls and the complete Alan Partridge as well as Harold & Maude.

What does Katie Bonna like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
I love London. Walking round it, visiting obscure little places, eating all the delicious food! I read a lot, I generally have three books on the go at any one time. I’m reading a glorious book set in NYC in the 70s right now, a sort of sprawling, Dickenson, multi-story wonderland by Garth Risk Hallberg. And I’m a massive yoga-addict. I practice every day and have to find a local yoga studio if I travel with my work.

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You are just commencing a national tour of ALL THE THINGS I LIED ABOUT. Can you tell us about the play?
It’s part TED talk, part brutal, personal confession. It’s a comic exploration of how the little lies we tell every day have led us to a world of Trump and Brexit.

You have both written & are starring in the play. What does it feel like to be so immersed in a piece of theatre?
It’s a lot more intense than acting in someone else’s project. I used to get stressed about doing acting jobs, but they feel like a walk in park after performing my own work! I do enjoy it, though, and the sense of satisfaction when you really connect to an audience is incomparable.

You performed the play at Paines Plough Roundabout & Edinburgh’s Summerhall last year. What have you tweaked in the interim, either stagecraftwise or writingwise?
I’ve changed a lot actually. The heart of the show is exactly the same but I think it’s more well-rounded and crafted now in terms of the script. In terms of staging, we’ve had to move it from in-the-round to end-on. That’s been a big shift, but I think we’ve made it work well.

What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
I don’t expect anything. Some people have a strong emotional response, especially if they have had similar experiences in their life or can relate to the subject matter in other ways, but I don’t expect anything from the audience per se. Everyone reacts differently, don’t they? That’s the beauty of it for me.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Katie Bonna?
I have just received funding to develop my new show, which is as yet untitled! I’m working with Live Theatre Newcastle to make it. It’s a three-hander about gender-conditioning, self-censorship in women and the complexities of 21st century feminism. It’s inspired by the classical Greek chorus and my love of Marilyn Monroe. It will be a lot of fun. The rest of the year will be spent on that and drafting a novel that I’m writing for young adults. I’m super excited about both of those things!


All The Things I Lied About is now on tour:

September:

16/09/17 HighTide Festival, Aldeburgh

20/09/17 Norwich Arts Centre

22/09/17 & 23/09/17 Tron Theatre, Glasgow

25/09/17 Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

27/09/17 The Stahl Theatre, Oundle

28/09/17 North Wall, Oxford

29/09/17 Dixon Studio, Southend

30/09/17 Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

October:

02/10/1707/10/17 Bike Shed, Exeter

12/10/17 The Riverfront, Newport

13/10/17 & 14/10/17 The Edge, Manchester

16/10/17 The Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth

17/10/17 & 18/10/17 Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Disturbed

IMG_6530i Anne Lacey, Matthew Tomlinson, George Drennan

A Play, A Pie and A Pint
Oran Mor, Glasgow
Sept 18-24

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With sexual ambiguity and sharp dialogue, there are shades of Orton in this black comedy by Ian Cowell. Suburban couple Peter (George Drennan) and Grace (Anne Lacey) have been together for over 40 years and are at that intuitive plateau where words are not needed. If he taps his empty glass rapidly, the little lady knows it’s time to put down her knitting, fetch the malt and serve him another whisky. What could be more normal? Perhaps the longevity of their relationship is cemented by a hobby they share, even though it does tend to leave a bit of a mess in the darkness of the wine cellar and some digging to be done in the garden.

IMG_6533i Anne Lacey, Matthew  Tomlinson, George Drennan.jpgOnce again they’re looking for a new tenant for the spare room and when a mysterious, handsome young man appears, keen to rent the space, the new lodger (Matthew Tomlinson) arouses the interest of Grace… and Peter. Drennan and Lacey are subtly convincing as the staid domestic couple about to have an additional layer of weirdness added to their already strange life by Tomlinson’s lively, double-dealing interloper. A mention should be given to Andy McGregor’s direction, which contrasts the early sedate sufficiency of the couple with the parlour game chaos of the trio at the end, a treat to watch throughout.

Reviewer : David G Moffat

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The Sky Is Safe

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Brunton Theatre

14th September 2017

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During the madness that is the Edinburgh Fringe I saw that Matthew Zajac was performing in a new self-penned play, The Sky is Safe. After seeing Matthew in his extremely excellent ‘Tailor of Inverness’ of 2016 I didn’t want to dilute the experience, & so gladly opted to wait until it toured itself into the Brunton Theatre the other night. I was glad to wait, for I found the play to be a highly intellectual, explicitly detailed & ultimately satisfying slice of theatre. Of the play’s substance, in an earlier interview with the Mumble, Matthew told us;

In 2012 I was stranded in Istanbul for nine days while I waited for an Iranian visa which eventually was refused due to my UK nationality… I had a couple of interesting encounters on Istanbul’s streets and wrote about them. Last year I was pondering a new project for Dogstar and remembered the Istanbul experience. I learned that there were now around 350,000 Syrian refugees in the city and I decided to try to marry my earlier experience with that of Syrian women trying to make a life in the city. In March this year, I returned to Istanbul and, with the help of a local NGO, I had the great privilege of meeting and interviewing a number of Syrian women in their homes. A lot of what Amal, the female character in The Sky Is Safe comes from these interviews.

The central theme of the play is the relationship between Matthew’s Scottish gentleman, Gordon, & the female refugee, Amal, played with consummate confidence by Dana Hajaj. The story leaps from place to place through time locale, & at all times the chemistry between Gordon & Amal is quite pleasant to watch as they trip through the ordealistic travails of the Syrian refugee. Stagecraftwise, the music is excellen, all Turkish strings & twangs, while the set is smart enough – a soft-watching medley of warm squares of quasis-granite. I also found the explosive & light-flashing portrayal of a bombing scene stupendously atmospheric. The Sky is Safe is an hour long, Fringe-length of course, & the brevity is welcome in a play with just two actors. That doesn’t mean we only have two characters, however, while the brooding presence of  the interviewees is never afar away.  ‘My name is Marwa,’ we hear, ‘It means a smooth white rock. You need love to heal. My name is Jadwa. It means gift. We have men in power & the country is destroyed. My name is Raina… My name is Farida…’ etc, etc.

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There are many strands to The Sky is Safe, whose well-researched material moulded into genuine entertainment by the slick Dogstar team. Theatre is about transporting the witness to another world, even when that world grates against our station in a fertile, wealthy island. There are real tragedies happening out there, real suffering, real & epic tragedies born of bureaucratic bullshit, all of which are conjoined by the spirit of hope; & although documentaries & news channels may be switched off or over, to get the same information from a trip to the theatre means one’s mind must become transplanted with the truth. In such a fashion The Sky is Safe is a welcome success, for the characters we are presented or more-than-real, the amplified essence of these desperate – for some – times.

Reviewer : Damo

Photos: Laurence Winram

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It is still possible to catch The Sky is Safe on its tour of Scotland;

Sept 18-20 : Eden Court, Inverness
Sept 21 : Reay Village Hall
Sept 21 : PPP, Wick
Sept 23 : Durness Village Hall

What Shadows

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Royal Lyceum
Edinburgh
September 7-23

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What_Shadows_700x70_1718 (1).jpgThe topical transatlantic hot potato that is racial integration has just exploded like a White Supremacist nail-bomb onto the Lyceum stage. I’m always a little wary about picking open old social wounds in the name of entertainment, let sleeping rabid dogs lie kinda thing, but seeing as ignorance is in fact the bedrock of racism, encapsulating & regurgitating the essence of the tamer, slave-emancipating British variety through the educatory medium that is theatre is a prudent exercise. ‘We need to talk about England,’ the Lyceum’s artistic director, David Greig, told the Mumble, surfing the socialistic waves instigated by Brexit, for the England of 2017 is one in which the post-imperial diaspora has finally taken root. What Shadows explores what it means to be English, & in the play, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, sable-skinned Rose Cruikshank, states quite proudly & progressively, ‘we all have multiple identities, but English is what we share.’ ‘But there are some of us more English than others,’ retorts a near-death Enoch Powell, who insisted on funneling his deep-set & quite inane old-school attitudes of race & Empire into the fermenting cauldron of modern Britain. It was 1968, & his ‘Rivers of Blood Speech’ – or the ‘Birmingham Speech’ as Powell called it himself rather whimsically – would plant ideas into the British psyche which would take decades to shake off. Not quite as incendiary as the 1861 Cornerstone Address by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens which ignited the American Civil War, but still a rather combustible collection of words which escalated into abhorrent social conflict that cup-of-tea-&-a-biscuit racism of English housewives. No longer would we hear, ‘that Sheila Donnelly’s shacked up with one of them coons, y’know!’ ‘Bloody nora, I wonder what colour the kid will be?’ Instead, ‘fuck off Pakis back to your own country,’ would become the bestial norm.

The stage before us is sparse but vivid; a wee copse of permanent Silver Birches transmorphing in eclectic variations of projected video-light.  The script we hear is intelligent, witty & informative; a fascinating triumph of integrity by Chris Hannon. I enjoyed his previous work for the Lyceum – in which he manage to shorten the Iliad & still make it resonate with Bronze Age beauty. With What Shadows we may observe Hannon’s growing sense of maturity, & also historicity, of which David Greig told The Mumble, ‘Chris Hannan uses his skill to shatter & examine some of the most urgent questions of the moment: Who are we? Where are we going? And who gets to decide?‘  The story is presented by a stellar cast, a cornucopian banquet of talent consisting of British-Asian stalwarts Waleed Akthar (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) & Amneet Chana (what has he not been on?), Amelia Donkor, Nicholas Le Provost, Paula Wilcox  & Joanne Pearce. The richest picking on this silver platter is Ian McDiarmid, whose mountain-peaked experience was distilled into a rendition of Powell’s speech itself, with his genius steaming through every nuance of accent, emotion & snidey attack on the fledgling immigrant infrastructure of England. As an audience member born a decade after the speech, hearing McDiarmid in full flow offered a crystal clear memorial to that landmark occasion, allowing me to experience at quasi-first-hand that venomous piece of history which resonated bigotry & ignorance thoughout the land. No longer was England a place of churches, picnics & sunken lanes, but ghettos were developing in the inner cities out of which, according to Powell, legions of darkies would swarm to take over the island.

The speech came at the heart of the play – just before the interval. Before, & after, the action oscillated between the late 60s & 1992, telling Enoch’s personal story & the lingering after-effects of the speech – from Oxbridge to Wolverhampton via the barren shores of remote Scotland – while also sketching out a brief history of immigrant integration from its awkward early steps to the times when illiterate Pakistani villagers had given themselves a British education & got a decent job in a modern, accommodating & progressive society. The second half was a little drifty, lacking the dramatic tension that entailed the build-up to the speech… but the finale was excellent, a caustic conversazione between Rose Cruickshank & an elderly Enoch Powell, physically shaking with Parkinson’s Disease & spiritually shaking at the gall this young black woman had to question his inherent racist attitudes. As smart & witty as Virginia Wolfe at a literary soiree, she cut Powell to pieces during an existential debate which left me wondering what the next step of social integration is going to be. I guess, when someone asks us where we are from & who we are, we shall eventually reply only with a curt, ‘I am global.’

Reviewer : Damo

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The Witches of West Fife

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Play, Pie, Pint
Oran Mor (Glasgow)
Sept 11-16

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Set in the present day and the early 17th century, Jane Livingstone’s play features an all female cast, an appropriate reversal of what was the Elizabethan norm, as we are about to learn (in gruesome but necessary detail) the fate of women thought to be witches.

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Three Fifers, Isobel, Janet and Mags are recruited to do a bit of double, double, toil and trouble round the caldron in a film of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Not professional actors, they’ve been hired for their faces and to add a bit of colloquial authenticity. The director shouts action and we are transported back in time to the Bard’s London house where Will sits with Lilyan a Scottish seamstress who not only makes costumes for the company’s theatrical players but can read – a skill that arouses suspicion in Sir Grigor, a misogynistic royal emissary, visiting the playwright with a supernatural commission from King James.

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The actors, Kirsten McLean (Isobel /Will), Sally Reid (Janet/Lilyan) and Clare Waugh (Mags/Sir Grigor) are comfortable in their dual roles, contrasting the dark drama of the past with the joking, cowl wearing, amateur performers in the film. (In a third guise they appear at a witch-trial in bunnets and football scarves. Weird but it works!)

Livingstone packs her intriguing play with facts and ideas which argue, with convincing authority, that the historical demonization of women through accusations of witchcraft had more to do with political repression than any fear of sorcery. A production that’s both entertaining and edifying.

Reviewer : David G Moffat

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An Interview with Fiona Miller

indexHello Fiona, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Based in Glasgow, but we work all over Scotland and beyond when possible!

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
From as long as I can remember. I used to watch Ethel Merman films and imagine myself in a flowery swing cap beaming at the camera

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
It has to make you feel something. I’d rather feel angry watching something than bored. Short is good too!

What is it about being an artistic director that makes you tick?
I mostly get to make bits of theatre that interest me. I like developing a way of working with other artists, sometimes over a long period of time. I also like the freedom to see a performance or someone work that I like and can find ways to collaborate with them.

What does Fiona Miller like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
My favourite pass time is going to different countries when I can. It freshens my senses. This year I have been to Japan, Spain, Romania and Italy. I have to say this is not a typical year for me.

You have been part of the Scottish Theatre scene for three decades now. How has the scene evolved in that time, including the development of trends you may have noticed?
When I started out there was hardly any youth theatre in Scotland. So, I was involved in that first big movement to develop Youth Theatre as a new theatre form and make it accessible to all the young people who wanted to take part. I feel that I am now part of a new trend, an Older People’s Theatre movement across the country! There has been a big shift in attitudes to theatre created by professional and non- professional performers over the last 30 years. There is more recognition that the quality of performance can be the same, the content and styles may be different. But I don’t think we are quite there yet. A lot of people still feel theatre is not for them.

You are a member of Tricky Hat, can you tell us about the company?
I’m Artistic Director of Tricky Hat. I co -founded the company 12 years ago. We create new theatre. We currently have a schools tour going to every 16 year old in Dundee at the moment. Our other main focus is making theatre with and about older people. All our work is collaborative, we work with big organisations like See Me Scotland to create dramas that challenge perceptions to community based organisations who support older, more frail and isolated people. Plus artistic partners like CCA, Cumbernauld Theatre, The Catstrand. We create live performance, digital installations, on line films and Forum Theatre based interventions.

What are the secrets to a good workshop with your fledgling actors/actresses?
Enabling people to discover that they are creative, that they do have a voice and that they feel safe enough to try new things. But most importantly a good laugh.

The Flames e-flyer

You will be bringing The Flames to the CCA in Glasgow next month, can you tell us about the play?
We have started devising it now. We have 24 Flames in this performance, more than double the last time. We prefer to call them performance events! We work together for 5 days then rehearse for one day, then perform to an audience. All the content of the show comes from the Flames lives, ideas or imaginations. Together with a director, a digital artist, a musician and a choreographer we decide the best medium to tell each of the stories. We don’t really know what the show will look like until the dress rehearsal. We are exploring choices, decisions, reasons to stay, and reasons to go.

What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
Not to be bored! Being moved in anyway at all will do for me.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Fiona Miller & Tricky Hat?
After this next Flames Performance on 4th October, the rest of the year will be focused on planning the next round of Flames events in association with the CCA. We also want to offer different experiences to the Flames community (once a Flame, always a Flame). We are working toward a collaborate with a Japanese artist and some older people in Japan ( Japan is leading the way in the world with its aging population) and the Flames. I think the cultural exchange would be fascinating. I also want to do a project called £10 Ticket based on the migration of people from Scotland in the 50’s 60’s to New Zealand & Canada. What are the parallels between then and migration now? I’d love to create a multi media performance of this on a railway platform.


You can See THE FLAMES @ Glasgow’s CCA, October 4th, 2017

Late Sleeper

IMG_6410 Vincent Friell, Neil Leiper

A Play, a Pie and a Pint
Oran Mor
Glasgow
Sept 4th-9th

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IMG_6445i Neil Leiper Vincent  Friell Barbara Rafferty.jpgGeorge (Vincent Friell), a novelist of the gritty Tartan Noir variety, now living in fashionable Crouch End, is forced to share a sleeper berth on the London to Inverness train, in this comedy drama by Simon Macallum. He and his sunglasses are not best pleased. Bren (Barbara Rafferty) the dismissive, overnight attendant is hardly selling the experience suggesting the food’s awful and the good night’s sleep that George is after, can be achieved – but only with the use of earplugs and chloroform. Into the compartment swaggers a young Glaswegian out of Catford called Goags (Neil Leiper) replete with attitude, agenda and poly bag of cans he’s determined to share as he ‘likes a good bevy on the train’.

IMG_6448i Vincent Friell Neil Leiper Barbara Rafferty

As they head north, an intimidated George goes through emotional changes, worrying about his family, his bargain-book-bin sales and his fellow traveller’s mysterious black luggage. Meanwhile a probing Goags questions the author’s street credentials, delivering earthy aphorisms with hoodie chutzpah in a claustrophobic, bunk bed set, reminiscent of a prison cell. As wheels turn and plots develop, is someone being set-up and looking at porridge for breakfast? Given the action unfolds in real time, George, a novelist after all, seems a little too easily manipulated by his devious bunk mate. Has he never watched Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train? Where’s Farley Granger when you really need him?

Reviewer : David G Moffat

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An Interview with Wonder Fools

At the end of September (27th-30th), Wonder Fools will be bringing THE COOLIDGE EFFECT to the Tron in Glasgow. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the dynamic duo behind Wonder Fools; Jack Nurse & Robbie Gordon.


Robbie

Robbie Gordon

Hello guys, so where ya both from & where ya both at, geographically speaking?
ROBBIE : Geographically speaking I hail from Prestonpans, East Lothian and funnily enough, it’s where a lot of our work is born as well. The story of “549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War” starts in that town, which neighbours with Tranent, the setting for our other play, “McNeill of Tranent: Fastest Man in the World”. As a theatre-maker, I’ve always been motivated to bring to life rural and untold stories to life. Jack comes from Kirkcudbright and I’m sure there’s a treasure trove of stories that come from that town too and that’s what keeps us making work. New tales are the reason we keep going and we’re lucky Scotland has such a great culture for telling them.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
JACK : For me, a good piece of theatre is one that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Theatre should never be boring, it should be visceral and exciting and it should also have an intellectual element that makes you think.

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
ROBBIE : I actually started off as all most all young people in the arts do… by winning the P7 talent show singing Robbie William’s hit single Rock DJ. In all honesty, I came second but I think it was because I took off my vest like Robbie did in the video and it was deemed inappropriate. I had a passion for performing from a young age and pursued the standard youth theatre route until I went to see shows like Ontrorend Goed’s “Teenaged Riot”, Greyscale’s “Tonight… Sandy Grierson Will Lecture Dance And Box” and Grid Iron’s “Decky Does A Bronco”. These performances amongst others really shook things up for me. I started to really challenge and push my tastes and that’s what lead me to study Contemporary Performance Practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

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Jack Nurse

You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
JACK : I’ve always loved Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic. I think the lead performances in that are stunning and the music obviously very evocative. I love Inception. And I rewatched Casablanca recently and it’s the definition of a classic.

As an actor, what are the secrets to a good performance?
ROBBIE : I’m not sure I have any secrets but what I do believe in greatly is authenticity. Just standing up, being yourself and telling the story. Jack often says to me before a show “have fun and tell the story”, this has become somewhat of a mantra for me. It carried forward into performing as the narrator in Douglas Maxwell’s “Charlie Sonata”, Jack was with me, even then… I can’t get rid of him! I think I’d be gutted if I was on stage doing a show and I wasn’t having a good time.

What does Robbie Gordon like to do when he’s not being theatrical?
ROBBIE : I like a quiet pint (mainly Tennents), podcasts and music. I’m a human being of simple tastes. Currently, I’m a bit obsessed with podcasts. I’m a big fan of Radiolab and I’d like to thank Gary McNair for the introduction. It has made me laugh out loud, late for work and cry on public transport and it has often stopped me dead in my tracks, On the music front, right now, it has to be Four Tet, Bonobo and of course… Robbie Williams.

You are a member of Wonder Fools, can you tell us about the company?
JACK : Wonder Fools is made up of me and Robbie Gordon. We started making work together whilst we were still students at RCS. We create contemporary new work based on a diverse range of current and historical real-life stories. During our short history, we have sought unknown and forgotten stories lost in the evolving social landscape of modern Britain that we are able to reshape and make theatre from. From these stories we have taken theatre productions, performance installations and drama workshops to over 2000 people across Scotland. To date we have staged three full productions: McNeill of Tranent: Fastest Man in the World, a one man show performed by retired athlete George McNeill, who in 1972 was the fastest man in the world despite never being allowed to compete in the Olympic or Commonwealth Games; 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War, a verbatim account of the journeys of four miners from East Lothian who travelled among 549 Scots to fight against fascism in Spain; and The Coolidge Effect. Wonder Fools are one of six Graduate Emerging Companies on attachment at the New Diorama Theatre, London.

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So Robbie, you have both written & are starring in The Coolidge Effect. What does it feel like to be so immersed in a piece of theatre?
ROBBIE : Jack and I have both been immersed in this piece of theatre for over two years now. It was devised from interviews with porn advocates, addicts, mental health experts and scientists. We spoke to so many incredible people and these conversations still float around in my brain. A part of the process that has always stuck with me was when we interviewed a Californian Digital Love Doctor, Robert Weiss. We found him through a VICE documentary and you can see why he’s such a spokes person for these issues The time he gave us over skype was enlightening in the extreme. He talked to us in depth about the correlation between addiction and trauma in one of the most engaging and simplistic ways possible. He called for a radical re-definition of trauma and asked us to consider how traumatic adolescence is for a young male who is expressly told to “man up” and “not cry”. This lead us to interrogate the toxic expectations young males are faced and how these might be interconnected with addiction in ways that we would never have considered otherwise.

So Jack, you are a rising star in the world of Theatre Direction, but what is it about being a Theatrical Director that makes you tick?
JACK : I’ve always loved telling stories and that’s the thing I like most about directing. Also, in 2017 I think theatre as an art form has become even more special because it’s one of the few places you can go and experience something live with a group of total strangers without a screen or social media distracting you. I think the opportunity for connection between audience and performer in 2017 is vital.

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You will be bringing The Coolidge Effect to Edinburgh & Glasgow later this month, can you tell us about the play?
JACK : The Coolidge Effect explores society’s relationship with pornography. Specifically, we look at porn addiction and how porn affects our mental health, sexual experiences and relationships. It’s a complex subject matter but we have tried to tackle it in a fun and engaging way through intertwining narratives, poetry and a little bit of science.

What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
ROBBIE : It’s really hard to gauge how an audience will think and feel. Above all, I want people to be present in the space with me and I want to tell them the story. A story I heard over the course of two years from all the people who talked with Jack and I. I would like for people to feel how I did when I first heard these words. It’s not a simple issue and it will be met with mixed responses but what I would love is for people to hang around at the end and talk. I think a big step to tackling a stigmatised issue is to start a conversation and I hope this performance begins an active dialogue.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Jack Nurse & Wonder Fools?
JACK : Next up for me and Wonder Fools is a production of Lampedusa by Anders Lustgarten. It’s being staged by the Citizens Theatre in association with the company and I’ll be directing. It looks at the refugee crisis through two intertwining monologues and is the first time we will be working as a company with an existing text. We can’t wait.