Scottish Theatre Highlights: May 2019

Mayfesto and Take Me Somewhere return this May - here's our round-up of the best Scottish theatre shows and events this month

Preview by Amy Taylor | 02 May 2019
  • Beige B*tch

The month of May brings theatrical tales of a football team at war, men lost at sea, experimental performances and, yes, Brexit (again) to the Scottish stage.

You can’t spell May without Mayfesto, and the 2019 iteration of the Tron Theatre’s mini-festival of edgy and provocative new work kicks off the month with the theme of A Season of Escapology. Directed by the festival’s Resident Artist Eve Nicol, The Mistress Contract (until 11 May), written by Abi Morgan, sets out to establish clear cut rules of engagement between the sexes in a complicated world of blurred lines and grey areas.

Other highlights of the festival include Johnny McKnight’s adaptation of Dario Fo's hilarious 70s farce, Low Pay? Don't Pay! (2-11 May), where the action moves to Glasgow and a group of women lose patience with low pay and rising prices and take direct action; Apphia Campbell and Meredith Yarbrough's Woke (15 & 16 May); and Stellar Quines' new play for ages 7+, This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (17 & 18 May), an empowering contemporary fairytale about determination, friendship and the ups and downs of growing older. 

Rapture Theatre’s production of Patrick Marber’s OIivier Award-winning The Red Lion, starring Brookside’s John McArdle, is set to tour 16 venues around Scotland this month. It follows the fortunes of The Red Lion FC, an English non-league side that has dreams of the big time. Opening at the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock (8-9 May), the show will also visit Howden Park, Livingston (16 May) and the Theatre Royal in Glasgow (18-22 June).

Also on this month are three semi-staged performances of The Scarlet Pimpernel, a theatrical celebration of the notorious and swashbuckling 18th century dandy, who’s said to have inspired the creators of Batman, Superman and Spiderman. Written by Helen Bang and directed by Jennifer Dick, these performances will take place in Glasgow (3 May), Denny (4 May) and Edinburgh (5 May).

Although it’s only in its third year, Take Me Somewhere has quickly become one of May’s most popular festivals of contemporary performance. This year’s programme takes place at various venues across Glasgow, from 11 May until 2 June. Keep an eye out for Farah Saleh’s Brexit Means Brexit at the CCA on 14 May, Amy Rosa’s There is a Silence at Glasgow University Chapel on 17 May, where Rosa will rest on top of a plinth of ice that has been collected over the last year, and Nima Séne’s Beige B*tch which explores black culture and white accountability.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland plays host to a lot of exciting new work this month, including the UK staged premiere of the critically-acclaimed opera based on the unforgettable true story of redemption, Dead Man Walking (18-24 May). Adapted from the book by Louisiana nun Sister Helen Prejean, who became the spiritual adviser to a convicted murderer on death row, the opera is directed by Caroline Clegg and conducted by James Holmes.

Lost at Sea follows a young woman as she returns home, searching for answers about her father's death. But as she begins to weave together the strands of her past, a mysterious force unravels family secrets. Inspired by the loss of her fisherman father, the play moves through a labyrinth of myth and memory in an epic tale spanning forty years of the fishing industry. The play runs at Perth Theatre until 4 May, and tours to venues across Scotland, including Dundee Rep, (6-7 May), King’s Theatre, Edinburgh (20-22 May) and Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries (24 May).