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Winter Solstice

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
For some reason, both The Sound of Music and Mike Leigh spring to mind watching this touring revival of German writer Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play, told via David Tushingham’s deft English translation in co-production between Actors Touring Company and the Orange Tree, Richmond.
If the Christmas Eve dinner party round at Bettina and Albert’s arty liberal des-res recalls the latter, the slow-burning malevolence of a pound-shop fascist called Rudolph quietly cuckooing his way into the nest very much evokes the former. Rudolph was invited by Bettina’s infuriating mother Corrina, and is both unerringly polite and charmingly eccentric. By the end of the night, however, the world has been quietly turned upside down.
This is how the rise of the new right happens, according to Schimmelpfennig; not with a bang, but with an after-dinner Chopin recitation and some carefully loaded references to a new world order, degenerate art and sticking to one’s own kind…
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Symon Macintyre - Vision Mechanics and Little Light

It’s been quite a journey for the Edinburgh based Vision Mechanics company to bring their new show, Little Light, to life. For what will be the first ever known theatrical co-production between Scotland and Jordan, it has taken three years and a lot of two-way traffic between continents to make something happen. The end result of such an international cultural alliance is an immersive puppet show for children which sees the two companies involved take a similarly expansive trek around some of this country’s more remote areas with a magical tale of falling stars, friendship and family that takes place inside a Bedouin tent.
“It’s a very simple story,” says Vision Mechanics artistic director Symon Macintyre. “It’s about a father who works as an electrician in a village where his son is left alone all day with his dog. And because the father is out at work all day, he never gets to spend any time with his son. It’s a story that’s told without words, and there are no screens or anything li…

The Deep

Anatomy Rooms, Aberdeen Four stars
With the fishing industry very much in the news just now, the young Aberdeen-based 10ft Tall theatre company couldn’t have timed their revival of Graeme Maley’s vivid Scots adaptation of Icelandic writer Jon Atli Jonasson’s bleakly poetic one-man play better. This is no polemic, however, but a haunting internal monologue that lays bare the brutal fragility of everyday life when thrown to the mercy of the elements.
Cameron Mowat’s beautifully poised production starts off looking like a folk pub story-telling session, with actor Andy Clark and fellow performer Kevin Lennon, here in his sound designer guise, wielding banjo and guitar as the audience enter. It’s a deceptively comforting opening, with Clark’s young fisher-man sucker-punching us even more as he begins what appears to be a campfire shaggy dog yarn about his working day.
From his opening yawn, the fisher-man’s descriptions of his vividly hum-drum world are comically ribald thumb-nail sketches t…

Steven Sater – Spring Awakening, Burt Bacharach and Shirley Manson

Andrew Panton’s new production of Tony award winning musical, Spring Awakening, was a triumph when it opened at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow last week. It was probably co-incidence, but the first night of this ambitious co-production between the RCS and Dundee Rep also coincided with the twenty-second anniversary of the Dunblane massacre, when a lone gunman went on a shooting spree, killing sixteen pupils and their teacher.
As the show’s young cast of musical theatre students prepare for this week’s run at the Rep itself, it may be worth considering the fact that writer Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik’s musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s study of troubled youth has its roots in similar tragedies. Following the recent shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Sater and Sheik’s play also has a renewed resonance.
“When I began the show in 1999, it was in the wake of the terrible shootings at Columbine High School,” Sater explai…