Entertainment Feel your spine tingle with The Signalman at Perth Theatre
Theatre reviews: Jekyll And Hyde | Cailleach | Islander | Sophia
Hannah Lavery’s new adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde is a powerful outdoor celebration of the triumph of the forces of life over Jekyll’s deadly obsession, writes Joyce McMillan © Alicia McKenzie in Jekyll and Hyde PIC: Rhys Watson If there’s one thing that’s becoming clear, about Scottish theatre post-pandemic, it’s that the days when theatre could retreat into its black box, slam the door, and forget about the natural world outside are long gone.
Theatre’s first proper production since March 2020, ‘The Signalman’ is an absorbing drama focusing on the infamous Tay Bridge Disaster.
Former Perth Theatre artistic director Ken Alexander is working with award-winningactor Tom McGovern in the atmospheric one-hander which opened on Thursday, September 23.
Poignantly, The Signalman was to be the next Perth Theatre production after The Importance of Being Earnest, the show that was running when the venue was forced by the pandemic to shut down.
The Signalman tells the story of Thomas Barclay, the man in the signal box who sent the Edinburgh/Burntisland train onto theRail Bridge on a stormy 1879 night with fatal consequences.
ABBA superfan reveals has spent £50,000 on band memorabilia
Beyonce has a new song in the upcoming film, King Richard.
It poses the question: who is responsible when accidents occur?
Written by Peter Arnott, The Signalman was originally performed at A Play, A Pie and A Pint in association with the Traverse Theatre.
The play swept the boards at the 2020 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) picking up best male performance (Tom McGovern), best new play (Peter Arnott) and best production, with a nomination for Ken Alexander in the best director category.
Now it plays for 10 days in Perth’s carefully restored Edwardian auditorium, a perfect setting for a drama set in 1919, when the now older Thomas Barclay looks back on the terrible events he was part of 40 years earlier, the night the train plunged into the water.
Director Ken Alexander commented: “This view of the Tay Bridge Disaster is offered as a ghost story.
Frozen the Musical: what the critics are saying
Stage production is ‘breathtaking’ but film’s ‘weak story’ and gaping ‘plot holes’ have not been resolvedMichael Grandage’s production, reworked since it premiered on Broadway in 2018, has all the magic of the film and is packed with gorgeous choreography and superb “coups de théâtre”. The use of video effects, lighting and sound are all stunning.
“Expect to get a real chill up your spine.
“It’s drawn on the real testimony of Thomas the signalman who was called up to give evidence at an enquiry just a week after it happened.
“On stage we see an older man, now aged 64, who comes from the perspective of a life lived.
“As a 24-year-old he didn’t ‘get’ the political side of the incident. Now he has a clearer view.
“It’s 1919, the country’s just been through a devastating war, older Thomas has an awareness of politics he didn’t have before.”
Actor Tom McGovern, who has the solo role of signalman Thomas, first heard about what happened to the ill-fated train and its passengers when he took an acting job in Dundee in 1991.
“I was walking about in my breaks and I heard about the disaster,” he explained.
“There were so many elements to this ‘Titanic’ incident. But there is no memorial, nothing in Dundee to really explain it.
“I was really interested, I was wracking my brains wondering how to tell the story and I thought to take the idea to playwright Peter Arnott. Now I’m so looking forward to sharing Peter’s play.
Chances of fifth Ashes Test taking place in Perth are 'very slim'
The Australian government have all but ruled out the prospect of the fifth Ashes Test taking place in Perth this winter because of quarantine restrictions in Western Australia. As doubts continue to surround the exact nature of the England team's bubble arrangements ahead of the first Test at Brisbane on December 8, Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck said Tasmania - his home state - would be happy to step in and host the series finale in the new year.
“This is the first fully staged theatre performance of it and we have had to wait years to get to this point.
“As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to play Thomas.
“It is all pretty ghostly. I’d definitely say it is a drama that needs to be experienced live.
“You would not feel the hairs on your neck prickle if you were seeing this on screen. You have to be there in the room with this man.
“Before the pandemic it was due to be performed in the Studio Theatre atTheatre.
“Now as we return with social distancing, we will do it in the larger main auditorium, which I think is great.
“Perth Theatre is perfect intimate space for an older Thomas, who has blamed himself all these years, to go over the traumatic events that happened when he was just a green 24-year-old.
“Although you are hearing about events that happened more than a hundred years ago, this play has unexpected resonance.
“The Signalman is wonderful. It is about memory, history, blame - and it is about now.”
The Signalman is on in Perth, now until Saturday, October 2.
Tickets from www.horsecross.co.uk
Entertaining take on fictional Spanish icon set to woo audiences at Perth Theatre .
Writer and actor Grant O’Rourke looked at several versions of the famous French society satire penned by Molière, eventually moving to a point where he found his own voice . He calls the place we meet Don Juan “a blended Mediterranean Scotland”, possibly because of all of the UK nations Scottish folk are considered the “most expressive, emotional and blunt”. For the Molière reinterpretation, Steven McNicoll (Twelfth Night, Moonlight and Magnolias, Irma Vep) plays the lothario Don Juan, while Cath Whitefield plays his long-suffering side-kick Sganarelle. Amy Kennedy plays Dona Elvira.