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Aug 28th

Edinburgh Fringe Political Plays: Repression

By Cameron Lowe

By Lucy Komisar in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe in August is the largest theater festival in the world, with hundreds of plays as well as musicals, dance, comedy, cabaret and spoken word performances.

I chose political plays, and nine out of ten I saw were excellent. I divided them into three groups, repression, war and politics. Here’s the first group, about repression.

These riveting plays dealt with periods centuries apart. They are “The Players Advice to Shakespeare” set in the 1600s, and two mirror plays of the 20th century, “Animal Farm” in Stalinist Russia and “Chaplin” in McCarthyite 1950s America. In each case, the playwrights and actors bring out the psychology of repression and rebellion.

“The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare”

David Warburton is The Player in 'The Player's Advice to Shakespeare,' photo Andrew Alexander.

David Warburton is The Player in ‘The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare,’ photo Andrew Alexander.

After seeing “The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare,” I will never look at Shakespeare’s plays in the same way again. In this stunning work by Brian K. Stewart, directed by John Koensgen, The Player (a powerful David Warburton), an actor in Shakespeare’s company, challenges the morality of the playwright’s choice of subjects for his plays.

It’s 1607, the period of the enclosures of tenants’ farmlands by nobles who want the communal property for sheep pastures. Sir Richard has forced his tenants off the land they worked. Now they are “vagabonds,” not a mild determination. Vagabonds are illegals. They can be brutalized, even mutilated by agents of the law.

The actor is in his 40s with straight gray hair to neck, breeches and a doublet and shirt with billowing sleeves. He begins hearing about a rising in the Midlands. Untidy characters are talking to crowds. People are breaking the hedges planted to enclose the land. He meets a challenger. “Why aren’t you there with them?”

He wonders if he can get Will Shakespeare involved in the issue. “Think of justice, Will. Think of where we came from.”

He doesn’t, and instead takes the road north out of London. There he meets two men who’d lost everything. One had an ear and hand cut off by a judge. He says, “As an actor, I ridiculed people like you on stage.” It makes you think about Shakespeare’s characters, how he dealt with the working class. Working class figures were clowns, never heroes!

In the Midlands, the actor sees entire sections of fence collapsing. Men pull plows through the enclosed pastures. Crowds roar. Then come soldiers with pikes and swords. Lines of soldiers mass on a hill. As the protestors appear unsure what to do, the actor uses his stentorian Shakespearean voice to direct them to save themselves: “To the trees!”

The return to London is dark. He thinks back, “I had to talk to Will about this. We had worked on the plays together. Will talks about acting holding a mirror to nature, not the nature I saw. I had to tell him to write a play that speaks about something real.”

Alas, the actor declaims that though the theater is the greatest sword of justice the world has known, Will, despite his origins has cast his lot with these “bastards.”

So, here’s quite another way to look at Shakespeare. Lots of kings and queens in the Bard’s plays, but where are the worker or peasant heroes? This enthralling production makes you think about that.

The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare.” Written by by Brian K. Stewart, directed by John Koensgen. Produced by the New Theatre of Ottowa.

“Animal Farm”

A moving poetic theatrical version of George Orwell’s dystopian novel is performed by actors from Tiblisi, Georgia, the former Soviet state and the birthplace of Stalin. The language is Georgian, with supertitles, but it hardly matters, because the physical production directed by adapter-director George Masterson is so brilliant.

Workers and peasants on a farm seek to get rid of Farmer Jones, the man who oppresses them. The pig leaders say, “We are brothers; all animals are equals.” Jones should be overthrown and the fruits of the land be shared by the animals “Animalism,” says the pig leader, “is the way, comrades, to rebel against man.” They wear the same work clothes.

Some object, “Mr. Jones feeds us. If he didn’t, wouldn’t we starve?”

“Lies, comrades,” they are told.

Dogs threaten the farm animals in

Dogs threaten the farm animals in “Animal Farm.”

It is physical theater, dance theater. The characters — horse, goat, chicken, pig, cow, dog – walk and sound like animals with their grunts, snorts, screeches, scraping of hooves.

The pigs announce the enemies, “Four legs or wings, friend; two legs, enemy. No animal can wear clothes.” One pig is comrade Napoleon. Another is the Squealer.

But a few animals raise questions. A goat inquires, “What will happen to the milk?” The pigs take it. Their dominance is supported by thuggish snorting black dogs.

When Snowball proposes building a windmill that will benefit all, he is banished, though later the idea is adopted as if it came from the insiders.

When the pigs announce an increase in production quotas for the hens, which will not benefit the hens, one chicken wants to promote rebellion. She is killed.

Meetings are banned, except to sing an anthem and provide workers with assignments. “Surely we don’t want Jones back,” say the pigs. As their privileges grow, they have their “Comrade Squealer” keep watch on the others.

In a stylized dance, the animals struggle in toil, working harder than they ever did, dragging heavy bags of stones for construction.

The pigs hurl accusations. In a replay of the Stalin trials, one animal confesses he collaborated with Snowball to destroy the windmill. He is attacked and torn to pieces by the dogs. The pigs seem rather like the oppressive men with their rifles and whips they organized to oppose.

Their ideology, written on a huge canvas, changes as time passes. By the end, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

This is a mesmerizing production of great artistry.

“Animal Farm,’ adapted and directed by Guy Masterson, Theatre Tours International, (follow the link to fine analysis of the play.) Featuring the Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre, Georgia.


It might seem odd to put a play about Charlie Chaplin in this group, but the seeds of repression are clear in the treatment of the film comedian whose renown could not protect him from sleazy FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his minions on the House Un-American (what a dystopian name!) Activities Committee.

A fine flashback play by Christoffer Mellgren and John Storgard, starring Christopher Page as the young Chaplin and James Bryce as the old man, takes us through the actor’s beginnings in London slums, where his mother was institutionalized – you get the feeling her mental breakdown was related to their poverty. The famous film bit with the arms of “The Kid” outstretched calls up his recurring dream, with the cry, “Mother!” (The mother is finely portrayed by Sarah McCardie.)

James Bryce as the Old Charlie and Christopher Page as Young Charlie in

James Bryce as the Old Charlie and Christopher Page as Young Charlie in “Chaplin.”

In the story directed by Sven Sid, we see his development into a world famous comic actor. He gets into acting via his brother Sidney, given an excellent turn by John Scougall, and finds great success in Hollywood. But the part that’s most interesting is when at 40 he makes “The Great Dictator,” a comedy about Hitler. He plays a barber who dresses as Hitler and gives an anti-fascist speech. I’d have liked more detail, more video, of that speech.

Chaplin speaks at a rally of the Association of Russian Friendship urging America to enter the war. He’s advised to stop such speeches, because people would say he was a communist. He argues, “You urged me to make a talking picture. Now you want me to be quiet. Hoover attacks him, with the public following as an obedient mob. The press turns against him, with right-wing Hedda Hopper (McCardie) leading the pack as she parrots FBI feeds. He is called before HUAC.

Forced out of the country, Chaplin spends the next decades in Switzerland with his wife Oona (Michelle Edwards), the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill. They don’t return for a visit till 1972, when a change of political atmosphere leads the Hollywood bigwigs who had blacklisted him to welcome him back to a glitzy “we now love you” party. They even return his name to a famous sidewalk where it had been plastered over in 1958.

So the repression was short-lived. Or was it? Are you following the news? Stay tuned.

My chief criticism of “Chaplin” is the too-spare set (by Hanne Horte), just two tables and two chairs at opposite ends of the stage. It’s probably due to the limited budget of most fringe productions. But lighting or scenic projections (by Mia Erlin) could have compensated. And the Chaplin videos could have been spread through the story to show how he used real life to inspire his films, rather than have most of them shown at once.

Still, it’s an absorbing well-acted tale that needs to be told. To remind people that current U.S. thought police politics have a history.

Chaplin.” Written by Christoffer Mellgren and Johan Storgård, translated from Finnish by Julian Garner. Directed by Sven Sid.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Takes place every August.

Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist and theatre critic. Her web site is The Komisar Scoop.
Aug 14th

Singin' In The Rain - Theatre Royal Glasgow - 12th-23rd August 2014

By Jon Cuthbertson

Heavy precipitation in Glasgow never usually raises any smiles – but this fantastic touring production of Singin’ In The Rain encouraged more than smiles – it generated a well deserved standing ovation.


This Chichester Festival Theatre production sets out its stall early – the overture begins and the cast burst into life. Andrew Wright’s inspired choreography utilises every piece of furniture and costume to full advantage – with wardrobe rails being used for flips, hats flying across the stage and even telephone wires creating interesting movement. The casting of James Leece in the leading role confirms where this restaging of the movie sees its strength – dancing. As a performer known primarily for his work with Matthew Bourne as a ballet dancer, it was no surprise to see the style and flair in his dancing, but it was a surprise to hear the warm velvet tones in his voice that had been hidden for so long. In contrast to that “warm velvet voice” we had Vicky Binns’ whining, discordant Lina Lamont. Now, if you have seen the film or the show, you will know that this is a compliment to the hysterical performance that Ms Binns gives in the role of the gorgeous diva of the silent movies, who doesn’t have the voice to match. I think this is a testament to Anne Marie Speed’s vocal coaching and to Ms Binns herself that they have found a voice that the actor can maintain, but still grates so well!


Stephane Anelli’s energetic and charismatic Cosmo was thoroughly entertaining. His rendition of Make ‘Em Laugh finished with the audience applauding for nearly a whole minute. From there the numbers came thick and fast with a high paced tap routine in Moses Supposes alongside James Leece as Don. Both were then joined by the delightful Amy Ellen Richardson, as the ingénue Kathy Selden, in my highlight of the show – Good Morning. Although in a completely different setting from the film, all the touches were there in a nod to the original but with such a fresh approach that the whole number was a delight to watch. We’re not even at the end of act 1 – how can they top this? By bringing on the rain of course and leaving Mr Leece on stage to do exactly what he has trained to do – dance! The rain itself is amazing – the stage is flooded almost instantly – but the dancing is exceptional. With some light up paving stones, we see just how accurate and precise a dancer Mr Leece is, while still looking so improvised and free.


With Act 2 bringing even more energy, Jonathan Church’s direction has been pitched perfectly with Simon Higlett’s design. Jenny Legg’s outstanding “Cyd Charisse”-esque turn in the Broadway Ballet brought another style of dance to the show and the whole number highlighted the high level of talent in the cast and ensemble.


Turning the rain back on for the finale was exactly what the audience wanted (except perhaps for the first few rows of the stalls who had their umbrellas up for the splash zone – I’m not kidding – be prepared to get wet!) – other than to maybe get the chance to sit through the whole wonderful romp all over again.


Listing Information


TUES 12 – SAT 23 AUGUST                 

Evenings: 7.30pm                                            

Matinees: Wed & Sat at 2.30pm (booking fee)

0844 871 7647 (booking fee)



Aug 6th

Rock of Ages at Glasgow's Kings Theatre

By Cameron Lowe
Rock of Ages rolled into Glasgow this week and blew the roof off of the King's Theatre.
Rock of Ages

The jukebox musical has been a staple of live entertainment for decades. Elvis made movies in this format back in the 50s and live audiences have enjoyed fresh presentations of their favourite hits since Buddy and Return to the Forbidden Planet mastered the genre 25 years ago. But never in the history of the jukebox musical have a cast, writer and audience had so much FUN! 
The story is broadly predictable while the presentation and dialogue will have you rolling in the aisles! Sherrie (Cordelia Farnworth) is a small town girl who travels to LA for fame and fortune. Drew (Noel Sullivan) is a city boy trying to turn his bar job at the Bourbon Club on the Strip into a rock career. There is instant chemistry but Drew gets caught in the "friend zone". Meanwhile, corporate big wigs (other wigs feature heavily in this 80s themed storyline) with German accents have dastardly plans to turn LA's famous Strip into a shopping mall. The club recruits rock god, Stacee Jaxx (Ben Richards), to perform and save the Strip. But Stacee is a famous womaniser and (you guessed it) Sherrie catches his ever roaming eye ...
The setting provides the perfect excuse to cram in more 80s rock classics than you could shake a Stratocaster at! Classic hits from Foreigner, Starship, Bon Jovi, Journey, Europe, Whitesnake and more are rocked out and mashed up at a rate of knots! The 80s provides a rich vein of musical gold to be mined and this production digs up every last nugget.  But it is the comedic approach to the entire show which really lifts this musical way above the plethora of competion. The dialogue from Chris D'Arienzo has the tongue so firmly in the cheek that what might have been cheezy becomes hilarious. Direction from Kristin Hanggi gives the cast plenty of freedom to have as much risqué fun as they dare! The choreography is outstanding. Physicality from the talented cast is delightfully OTT. If there was an Olivier for Comedy Choreography it would certainly be awarded to Kelly Devine.
The plaudits continue when it comes to performances from this outstanding cast. Noel Sullivan proved that his rock voice still tops theatrical charts following his successful tour of We Will Rock You. Amazing! Cordelia Farnworth was a talented lead with a voice which ranged from powerful rock chick to soulful ballad mistress. But these two great performances had to compete with some OUTLANDISH characters for the affections of the audience; and this show has those by the bucket-load! Ben Richards was perfect as Stacee Jaxx - self centred, narcisistic and wonderfully loathable. Supporting characters from Daniel Fletcher, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Jack Lord, Rachel McFarlane, Jessie May and Cameron Sharp were given ample opportunity to shine  ... and they took it!
This is a fantastic show. Funny, nostalgic, naughty and melt your face rockin' in equal measure! Miss it at your peril.
Mon 4 – Sat 9 August
Mon - Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Tickets: £12.90 - £50.90
Box Office: 0870 060 6648 (bkg fee)   (bkg fee)
Jul 1st

One Man, Two Guvnors at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe
The National Theatre treat the UK to a second tour of their highly acclaimed comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.
One Man Two Guvnors
As we took our seats in the auditorium we were entertained by “The Craze”; a talented 60’s style skiffle band who set the scene nicely for the 1963 based madness to follow. Gavin Spokes (as Francis Henshall) led the cast as the titular “man” bringing the nigh on 300 year old text of Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters” (almost) up to date. Henshall left carnage in his wake in his desperate attempts to secure (first) some food for his belly and (second) the affections of the remarkably endowed Dolly (comically portrayed by Eastenders star, Emma Barton). With unrelenting manic energy he delivered an action packed storyline which featured some of the most impressive physical comedy I have ever seen – particularly from Michael Dylan playing 87 year old Alfie! At one point, so much “pain” seemed to be inflicted on stage that the audience appeared to be rolling around in sympathetic agony (or, perhaps, rolling off their seats with laughter).
There were plenty of laughs, too, from the pacey script by Richard Bean featuring some excellent character contrasts and witty dialog which truly wrung every last chuckle from the base concept. Some of the action onstage escalated so quickly that it had the audience first gasping and then guffawing in the same breath. Excellent performances from the character cast included a somewhat underused Shaun Williamson (as Charlie Clench) and a ridiculously entertaining OTT Actor turn from Edward Hancock (as Alan Dangle).
The suitably solid scenery was changed behind some nice additional turns from “The Craze” who were joined by various members of the cast to produce a nice variety of numbers (songs by Grant Olding). Altogether this made a highly entertaining evening which I must highly recommend to anyone who has ever enjoyed a laugh.
Listings Information
One Man, Two Guvnors
King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Mon 30 June – Sat 5 July
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) (bkg fee)
Jun 26th

Dial M For Murder, Theatre Royal Glasgow - 24th-28th June 2014

By Jon Cuthbertson

Dial M For Murder is a very tightly written thriller that has everything you’d want in a night of theatre; drama, suspense, tension, comedy and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way through.

 Dial M.jpg

Daniel Betts leads the cast as Tony Wendice, disillusioned ex-tennis player whose “model marriage” is not going well. Mr Betts commands his audience throughout and even in his characters most odious moments, he manages to evoke some sympathy. Kelly Hotten has the 50s glamour and her tone and delivery seems to be so naturally “period” in the role of his wife, Sheila, that you are easily transported back to a time without mobile phones, making the trademarked “red phone” so important to the plot. Philip Cairns as Sheila’s ex-lover, Max, has warmth and the chemistry between him and Ms Hotten ideally sets up their character’s affections. Completing the set up for the Murder of the title, was Robert Perkins as the aliased Captain Lesgate. In only a few scenes he manages to make a great impact with his strong delivery and confidence. Completing the cast was the headliner, Christopher Timothy. As a very Columbo-like Inspector, his natural delivery made you easily believe that any criminal/victim would open up to him, but you were also keenly aware of the sharpness of his mind.


With these excellent performances, we were easily assured of a great production, however director Lucy Bailey seems to have went for style over substance. With a revolving central area to the stage, the minimalist set of a couch and desk would rotate as the actors walked through and around them. As the door of the flat was a permanent fixture on the centre of the back wall, the orientation of the room changed various times with no purpose or reference at all (apart from a rather poor “in joke” referring to the police “turning the furniture around”). All this served to do was detract from the actors who were delivering very solid performances. It is a shame that the director couldn’t rely on both her own and their work to provide decent results as this tampering was the only fault within the production.  Lighting and sound design were used to a great effect and did add to the drama and tension on the stage. Combining these with Philip d’Orléans dramatic fight direction creates a highlight of the production.


Ignoring the rather poorly thought out revolve, this is a production worth seeing. Frederick Knott’s script is delivered very well by a strong cast and the suspense more than surpasses the film versions of this classic story. Dial now for tickets!!

Listing Information


TUES 24 – SAT 28 JUNE                 

Evenings: 7.30pm                                            

Matinees: Thurs & Sat at 2.30pm (bkg)

0844 871 7647 (bkg)


Jun 19th

Go Dance 2014, Theatre Royal Glasgow 17th-21st June 2014

By Jon Cuthbertson
Go Dance is such an interesting concept. Every night for a week a different programme of dance, all created by local dance troupes, schools or colleges, is presented each incorporating a variety of dance styles and music. Now in it's 9th year, one can only surmise it has been a format that has proven successful, and on tonight's programme, I can see why.

With a change of season this year to accommodate the Commonwealth Cultural programme, this obviously inspired a few of the choreographers. From dancers sprayed gold to the Queen's Baton to kilted 'Braveheart Hip Hop' we covered a lot of Glasgow bases in various dance styles. Outwith the Commonwealth inspired routines we had some vibrant tap dancing, some lyrical contemporary, a ballet version of Mary Poppins, a West African dance and percussion ensemble and a choreographed piece by a primary 7 class based on UNICEF's Rights Of The Child. Even Britain's Got Talent and the Royal Variety Performance would struggle to get variety on that scale! Keeping the audience informed along the way was the charming Alan McHugh. A talented actor, writer and musician (although I’ve never seen how good a dancer he is!) Alan is also a very natural host and shows a lot of enthusiasm for this project and for the groups performing too.

Go Dance.jpg 

The project is put together by Ambassador Theatre Group Glasgow's Creative Learning Department who also run workshops related to some of the spectacular shows still to come to Theatre Royal this year (Private Peaceful and Singin' In The Rain) and are also running their hugely successful Musical Theatre Summer School too, giving even more local children the chance to perform on 'the big stage'. For information on the creative learning team’s upcoming activities visit


Listing Information

 Tue 17 – Sat 21 June

Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm

Tickets from:

In Person - Adults £12 Children £7.50

Online - Adults £13.90 Children £9.40

Box Office 08448 717 647 (bkg fee) (bkg fee)


Jun 3rd

Tonight's The Night at King's Theatre, Glasgow 

By Cameron Lowe
Ben Elton and Rod Stewart form an unlikely collaboration to produce a rockin' comedy musical that unashamedly entertains and features over 20 of Rod's greatest hits.
Tonight's the Night

Running like something of a cross between "Jekyll and Hyde" and 50s classic musical "Damn Yankees" the story follows young Stuart (Ben Heathcote); a painfully shy garage attendant in present day Detroit.  Stuart is desperately in love with Mary (Jenna Lee-James) and makes a deal with the Devil (Tiffany Graves) to trade his soul for that of his idol Rod Stewart - after all, Rod was never shy with the ladies!  However, as is the way with Satan, all does not work out as promised and Stuart is torn between his sweet likeable self and the unfaithful, irresponsible babe-magnet that he perceives Rod Stewart to be.  His rock and roll lifestyle has the effect of disillusioning his friends but they eventually rally round to try to snap him out of whatever has changed his character.
Ben Heathcote was outstanding in this leading role.  His voice had that great ‘Rod Stewart' gravelly rock quality and his overwhelming character marked this young man out as a star of the future.  Jenna Lee-James gave a sympathetic performance as Mary and her rich voice had character and power.  Rosie Heath excelled as Dee Dee delivering a pure country soprano which had the audience holding their breath!  Tiffany Graves, reprising her role as Satan / Baby Jane, blew the audience away with raw power and a wicked soul.  And yet, with all this talent on stage, Ricky Rojas still managed to steal every scene he was in as the irrepressible - and aptly named - Stoner.
The production design was worth a mention as the band took centre stage on a purpose built mezzanine to deliver more than 20 Rod Stewart classics including Maggie May, Baby Jane, Hot Legs, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and Sailing.  Lighting, too, was excellent with several effects bringing the audience into the action.  
Unfortunately, for a fuddy duddy theatre lover like me, the over eager audience sang over the top of a beautifully rendered solo "I Don't Want To Talk About It" by Andy Rees as Rocky.  All was forgiven, though, when, at the end of the show, I joined over 2,000 Glaswegians wearing white sailor's "pork pie" hats (issued by theatre staff) and waved my arms in the air singing "Sailing" at the top of my lungs.  It's a tough job ….
King's Theatre Glasgow
Mon 2 - Sat 14 Jun 2014
Mon - Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) (bkg fee)
May 22nd

Rock of Ages at the Edinburgh Playhouse

By Cameron Lowe
Review by Christopher Lowe

Following a three-year run in London’s West End, audiences around the country will get the chance to enjoy ROCK OF AGES The Musical as it continues a UK tour arriving in Edinburgh from 19th - 24th May and Glasgow from 4th - 9th August.
Rock of Ages

Set in Hollywood’s Bourbon Room around the mid-to-late 80s, we follow young busboy Drew (Noel Sullivan), who dreams of being a rock star in his own glam-metal band.
He meets country-girl Sherrie (Cordelia Farnworth) – who, like thousands of other hopefuls, has just arrived in town with dreams of making it big.
Enter Stacee Jaxx a charismatic, sexually-charged, narcissistic rock singer who threatens to steal Sherrie away from Drew!
Noel Sullivan In the middle of all the chaos and the competing for young Sherrie’s affections, two German developers are trying to close down the bar and take over the strip!
Set in the late eighties, this is pure jukebox musical territory, with a playlist that is soft-rock to its carefully manicured core. ROCK OF AGES The Musical is the ultimate rock mix-tape musical, a hilarious story of dreams, love and - of course - rock.
A modern twist to the plot demonstrates that it knows exactly the demographic it is playing to. Here are strong female roles, with lots of skimpy outfits; this show is not for the faint hearted!
This 80s-themed hilarious musical features over 30 hair-raising tunes including: “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “We Built This City”, “The Final Countdown”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Here I Go Again”, “Can’t Fight this Feeling” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”.
Rock of Ages is a kick ass musical filled with spandex , studs , skimpy outfits and a collaboration of some of the best rock ballads of all time! The music is delivered by astonishingly talented musicians who are the true stars of the show!
Grab your leather jacket, bring out the glitter and get ready to rock!
Monday 19 May 2014 – Saturday 24 May 2014
Box Office: 0844 871 3014
Tickets: £10 - £37.50
May 9th

Wicked at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe
WICKED flew north of the border to entrance Glasgow audiences this week as this blockbuster musical takes up residence at the King’s Theatre for a 4 week Scottish Premier run.
Wicked Scottish Premier

BELIEVE THE HYPE! If you haven’t seen Wicked on stage, you will be mesmerised – if you have seen the show, you will want to see it again and again! Wicked, in case you haven’t heard, is the untold story of the witches of Oz. The question from the uninitiated is “how could there possibly be another side to a tale which we have all known to be the truth since early childhood”? It’s more than a prequel; it explains EVERYTHING!
I must confess to having been a little nervous about seeing this show after reading rave reviews from London for almost 8 years. We settled into our seats in the shadow of a giant smoking animatronic dragon with the highest possible expectations … only to have them promptly exceeded. This is an amazing show!
OK (deep breath) let’s do this one superlative at a time … Music first; you’ve heard some of the music, right? The big hits from Stephen Schwartz are popular (ahem) at concerts and on TV and Radio and the original cast recording has been a massive hit on Amazon for years (a worthy purchase even if you haven’t seen the show). The live music, under the direction of Dan Jackson, is every bit as fabulous as you might hope and the characters really bring the score to life on stage.
Direction from Joe Mantello (and Petra Siniawski in the UK) was crisp - giving the audience barely time to catch their breath or dab a tear before we moved smoothly into the next scene - yet allowed for character development throughout. The visual effects were spectacular without overwhelming the events onstage. Choreography from Wayne Cilento blended perfectly with the action giving us exciting partner work down at the Ozdust Ballroom and atmospheric character movement in the dramatic scenes.
Wicked - steampunk styling
Despite the blockbuster nature of this huge touring show, one of the most impressive aspects was the styling; with credit largely going to Eugene Lee, Susan Hilferty and Kenneth Posner being respectively responsible for Scenery, Costume and Lighting. There was a wonderfully cohesive steampunk style throughout with the Act 1 scenes at “Dear Old Shiz” integrating appealing Harry Potter overtones. This manifested itself in glorious costumes featuring tail coats, canes, sunglasses, bustles and the most beautifully outlandish hats. These were complemented by sympathetic lighting and a set adorned with fantastic clockwork machinery and 19th century props and vehicles – most appropriate for a story based on characters from a novel written in 1900.
Performances from Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba) and Emily Tierney (Glinda) were nothing short of awesome. Without any exaexaggeration -  awesome! Ms Davis-Jones gave us tears from the low tones of I’m Not That Girl all the way up to goosebumps at the dizzy heights of Defying Gravity. Meanwhile Ms Tierney had us in stiches during Popular yet we were welling up as she sang Thank Goodness. Both characters developed smoothly (almost imperceptibly) throughout the performance. Let’s face it, we were all asking “can they bring talent the equal of Menzel and Chenoweth all the way to Scotland?” – the answer is a resounding “YES”! Liam Doyal transformed Fiyero into a hero to the audience’s delight. The supporting characters were flawless, humorous, beautiful and grotesque just where we needed them to be.
With a wickedly modern sense of humour this show delivers a fiendishly clever plot and a spellbinding score in a perfectly styled steampunk package. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself floating 6 inches above your seat and return home to find your cat doing the crossword! I have a new favouri
te musical!

If you want to see this show in Glasgow, you’ll need to take a time machine back a few months as it is already SOLD OUT! Tickets are being snapped up quickly for dates in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Whatever you do, order your ticket today!
WICKED – Glasgow King’s Theatre
Edinburgh Playhouse
Wednesday 19 November 2014 – Saturday 10 January 2015
For Online and Telephone Bookings a £4 Transaction Fee per booking applies
Monday – Thursday: £52.50, £42.50, £32.50, £25, £20
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 28 Dec & w/c 29 Dec: £55, £47.50, £35.50, £27.50, £22.50
Premium seats available at all performances (£75 / £72.50)
Box Office (0844 871 3014)
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Tuesday 5 May 2015 – Saturday 30 May 2015
Monday – Thursday: £53.50, £49.50, £44.50, £38.50, £26
Friday & Saturday: £56, £52, £47, £41, £28
Premium seats available at all performances (£73.50 / £76)
Box Office (01224 641 122)
May 2nd

A Wicked Sellout at the King's Theatre, Glasgow!

By Cameron Lowe


WICKED, the global musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is officially the highest grossing production in the history of the King’s Theatre Glasgow, with the largest ever number of tickets sold in a four week run. Over 53,000 tickets have been snapped up for the show’s sell-out Scottish premiere, which plays from 6 May until 31 May. The record-breaking national tour will also visit the Edinburgh Playhouse (19 November 2014-10 January 2015) and His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (5-30 May 2015).


Wicked UK Tour

James Haworth
, General Manager at the King’s Theatre Glasgow, said: “I am extremely proud that the King’s is staging Wicked and bringing this global phenomenon to Scottish theatre fans for the first time. It’s no surprise the long running West End musical has cast its magical spell over Glasgow audiences, but its unrivalled success has surpassed all expectations.”


Wicked Executive Producer, Michael McCabe, said: "We are truly overwhelmed by the incredible response from Glasgow's theatregoers, who have ensured that our Scottish premiere engagement is a sell-out even before we arrive. Thank you to everyone who has enabled us to break Box Office records and for your generous embrace of Wicked.”


This thrillingly entertaining show” (Manchester Evening News) has broken countless Box Office records, won multiple five star reviews across the UK and Ireland and has already been seen by over 400,000 people.  

The award-winning London production continues its open-ended run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where tickets are currently on sale into its 9th year. The “hugely popular show” (The Times) is already the 15th longest-running musical in West End theatre history and recently celebrated its landmark 3000th performance.


Around the world, Wicked has already been seen by over 39 million people and has 9 productions running concurrently. The original Broadway production remains “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times) after a decade at the Gershwin Theatre.


In a brilliantly witty re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.




King’s Theatre

297 Bath Street


G2 4JN





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EDINBURGH ENGAGEMENT: 19 November 2014 to 10 January 2015

Edinburgh Playhouse

Box Office: 0844 871 3014

: 5 to 30 May 2015

His Majesty's Theatre

Box Office: 01224 641122