The Month in Scottish Theatre: January 2018

Panto, physical theatre, special screenings and yet more panto, there's a lot to choose from during theatre's 'quiet' month

Preview by Amy Taylor | 04 Jan 2018
  • The Claim, UK Tour - Yusra Warsama, Ncuti Gatwa and Nick Blakeley

Kicking off the month, and indeed, the year, is the National Theatre of Scotland, who unveiled their 2018 season back in November. Their first production, a screen version of the stage play Rocket Post with Screen Machine, begins its tour of communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland on 6 January. The play, which premiered in Barra last month, tells the story of Gerhard Zucker and his rocket mail idea for delivering letters at high speed over long distances. The tour, which runs until 3 March, marks the first time the NTS has brought a broadcast screening of a production to cinema audiences, and honours their commitment to bring their work to audiences around the country.

While the NTS tours a broadcast version of one production, it also opens a new two day festival in Glasgow’s Civic House from 27 January. Just Start Here is an event where artists and audiences can come together to create and discover new work in the form of music, dance, visual art, discussions, theatre and much, much more.

Staying in Glasgow, The Citz' first production of the New Year is a revival of Rona Munro’s classic play, Bold Girls. Written in 1991, Munro’s award-winning play explores the lives of a group of three women in West Belfast during The Troubles. Taking place over the course of one night, moving from kitchen to club to home again, this normal night out swiftly unwinds to reveal a series of lies and betrayals set against the turbulent background of Northern Ireland of the early 90s. Highly celebrated, Munro’s play celebrates the lives, strengths and loves of a group of women during a dangerous and unknown time.

Meanwhile, for die-hard panto fans, the King’s Theatre in Glasgow continues to play host to 'The Panto of Your Dreams', Sleeping Beauty, starring Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac, until 7 January. Over at the SEC Armadillo, Jack and the Beanstalk soldiers on until the same date.

In Edinburgh, the ghosts of pantos past continue to haunt the boards at the King’s Theatre, where it’s still Christmas in January, as The Panto That Refuses to Die, otherwise known as Cinderella rolls on. Reuniting the unsinkable trio of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, who nobly continue the Sisyphean task of pretending that it’s still Christmas right into the dark heart of deepest, grimmest January, this panto will end for good, apparently, on 21 January. Stay strong, lads, we believe in you, and it’ll all be over soon.

Meanwhile, a little further down the road, at the Traverse, it just wouldn’t be January without a visit from the manipulate Visual Theatre Festival for its signature mix of physical theatre, film, puppetry and all sorts of wonderful performance. Running from 27 January until 3 February, this year’s programme includes Ramesh Meyyappan’s Off-Kilter; the solo performance Achilles, the latest work from Glasgow-based Company of Wolves; and Clown Cabaret: Special Edition from Plutot La Vie, CLoWnStePPinG and Melanie Jordan.

The month ends with a one-off performance of The Claim, a new piece of theatre based on interviews with migrants to the UK at Platform on 31 January. Written by Tim Cowbury and directed by Mark Maughan, the piece asks what would happen when all we have to save ourselves from an uncertain future are the words we say at an interview.