Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: National Theatre of Scotland

Review | Beautiful Burnout by Bryony Lavery | Directed and Choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett | Additional Choreography by the Company, Frantic Assembly/National Theatre of Scotland | St. Ann’s Warehouse

Two boxers in a local club in Scotland run by the trainer Bobby Burgess take separate paths to the top.  Unfortunately the play fails to let us in on the obstacles either of them faces or how they overcome them with the result that this is one of the most boring plays I’ve ever sat through.

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Review | Edinburgh Festival | King’s Theatre | Caledonia, Edinburgh | National Theatre of Scotland | August, 21-26, 2010

… Pageant of Failure …

“The Scots are fond of blaming others for their own misfortunes, especially the English.” This maxim is well known to sophisticated and travelled Scots and holds a grain of truth; it is, almost verbatim, one of the more severe of the many self-mocking lines in this intriguing mixture, a staging of the tragedy of the 1698 Darien expedition by Scotland to colonise the isthmus of Panama. The dramatisation raises two interesting issues: (a) what aspect do you oncentrate on (politics, greed, human folly, texture of life) and (b) what theatrical register do you adopt (music-theatre, pageant, satire, searing personal drama with well-painted main characters? Caledonia is worth seeing and informative, but ultimately fails because it answers these questions with “a little bit of everything.”

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Review | Black Watch by Gregory Burke | Directed by John Tiffany | National Theatre of Scotland | St. Ann’s Warehouse

Black Watch — What a title! The famous Black Watch regiment on its blackest watch:  Iraq.

The regiment’s proud history and the tragic trajectory of its assignment during the Iraq war melded by the acid of irony.

What’s astounding here is the union of naturalistic acting with choreographic flights of imagination.  The regimental crew is so totally believable as soldiers, simple Scottish guys turned military, that it’s hard to believe they’re actors, even from one foot away as I saw them from the first row.  After the play, I expected they’d head back to barracks.  Actually, I felt I’d been in the army.  These are actors?

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