James V: Katherine

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, tonight; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, April 24-27; The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, April 30-May 1

Macbeth (An Undoing)

Royal Lyceum Theatre, May 14-25

History and Shakespeare thrown into the blender and reimagined via two of Britain’s foremost dramatists. With James V: Katherine,Rona Munro has returned to the story of the Stuart monarchy she explored in the James Plays. The latest chapter, directed by Orla O’Loughlin and starring Catriona Faint, tells the story of 19-year-old Katherine Hamilton on trial for her life with the King, James V, as a spectator. It’s a more intimate play in comparison to its predecessors and at its heart it is a love story. It is just finishing its run in Edinburgh, with Glasgow and Aberdeen to follow and then it goes on the road, with dates in Tobermory, Inverness, Dunoon, Birnam, St Andrews, Stirling, Peebles and Melrose to follow through May.

Next month, meanwhile, Edinburgh-based playwright Zinnie Harris’s remix of Shakespeare’s Macbeth returns to the Scottish stage after runs in London and New York. The result is a Jazz Age, jazz hands take on the Scottish Play that steps into the ring with the Bard. That shows Harris’s ambition. The Herald’s Neil Cooper called it a “thrilling reimagining,” so you know it must be good.

The Herald: James V: KatherineJames V: Katherine (Image: free)

What the Butler Saw

Perth Theatre, April 30-May 4

“You can’t be a rationalist in an irrational world. It isn’t rational.” Joe Orton’s final play - unrevised when he was brutally murdered by his partner Kenneth Halliwell - is his dark, salacious take on a Feydeau farce. Orton was subversive to the core and What the Butler Saw plays with sexual obsession, cross-dressing and a very 1960s battle between anarchy and order. Does that make it a period piece now? This Perth Theatre production will hopefully suggest otherwise. Michael Cabot directs.

The Girls of Slender Means

Royal Lyceum Theatre, until May 4

Gabriel Quigley’s theatrical adaptation of Muriel Spark’s 1963 novella is not the first. Stellar Quines performed a version written by playwright Judith Adams back in 2009. But then it’s not hard to see the appeal. Set in the summer of 1945, Spark’s novel follows a group of young women who are finding their feet in a world when the roar of war is finally receding. Julia Brown, Amy Kennedy, Molly McGrath, Shannon Watson and Molly Vevers are the young women in question in director Roxana Silbert’s production at the Lyceum.

The Herald: Muriel SparkMuriel Spark (Image: free)

Sunset Song

Dundee Rep, until May 4; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, May 8-11; Eden Court, Inverness, May 16-18; Royal Lyceum Theatre, May 28-June 8

Spark is not the only Scottish novelist whose work is gracing the stage in the next few weeks. Dundee Rep and the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh are currently mounting a production of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's novel Sunset Song, voted the best Scottish book of all time in 2005. Writer Morna Young, director Finn den Hertog and composer Finn Anderson are the team behind this current adaptation, with Danielle Jam cast as Chris Guthrie.

Jack Docherty: David Bowie and Me - Parallel Lives

Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen, April 24; Byre Theatre, St Andrews, April 26; Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, April 27; Howden Park, Livingston, May 2; Eastwood Park, Giffnock, May 3; Corn Exchange, Haddington, May 4; Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, May 5

Hands up, when I went to see this at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe I wasn’t expecting much. In Bowie and Me, Docherty sets out to use his love of Ziggy Stardust as a platform to tell his own teenage story, before going on to reconstruct the one time he actually met his hero. It sounded a little thin, even for a Fringe show. But the reality was a joy, a glorious coming-of-age story which doubled as a comic return to Scotland in the 1970s and Docherty’s (wannabe) wild youth which then builds into an impressive exploration of the passage of time, the perils of hero worship and the transforming role of art in our lives.Sometimes, the best pleasures are the unexpected ones.

As a result of its Fringe success, Docherty is now touring the country. There will be further dates later in May and June in Glasgow, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Stirling, Inverness, Perth and Cove.

The Herald: Jack Docherty: David Bowie and Me - Parallel LivesJack Docherty: David Bowie and Me - Parallel Lives (Image: free)

Chekhov Double Bill

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Pitlochry, April 25

There is more to Anton Chekhov than The Cherry Orchard. Elizabeth Newman has written two monologues, About Love and Trouble, drawn from the Russian playwright’s sly, often surprising short stories. The former, performed by Ali Watt, is a story of unrequited love, while Trouble, starring Matthew Churcher, is the tale of a prisoner facing exile for theft.


Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, until April 27

Truth be told, tickets are at a premium for the final week of this touring production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical musical that draws on hip-hop and R&B and has become something of a cultural phenomenon. The winner of 11 Tony Awards, seven Olivier Awards and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, it’s the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States, who was aide de camp to George Washington. Ben Brantley in the New York Times suggested that Hamilton “makes us feel the unstoppable, urgent rhythm of a nation being born.” Not bad for a night out.

The Herald: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical musical HamiltonLin-Manuel Miranda’s historical musical Hamilton (Image: free)

Bridezilla and the Orchard of Sin

Oran Mor, April 22-27; Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, April 30-May 3

The latest in Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint series, Mairead A Martin’s comic drama follows “Bridezilla” Amber and her fiance Gary as they seek the perfect venue for their wedding. When they meet Lady Valgaria she offers them the use of her estate. But will its orchard of forbidden apples lead the couple astray? Directed by Becky Hope-Palmer and designed by Gemma Patchett, this three-piece drama, starring Chiara Sparkes, Santino Smith and Giga Gray, is, we’re promised “a journey of saucy self-discovery”. Which doesn’t answer the big question? Are the apples Golden Delicious or Egremont Russet?

I Hope Your Flowers Bloom

Cumbernauld Theatre, May 2; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, May 3; Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, May 5; The Studio Theatre, Moffat, May 23; CatStrand, New Galloway, May 24

According to its creator and star Raymond Wilson, I Hope Your Flowers Bloom is a show about “self-worth, working-class access to green spaces and unhealthy masculinity that really wishes it could just be a romcom or maybe a nature documentary.”

A quiet success at last year’s Fringe, it is also partly autobiographical. It tells the story of Raymond, stuck in a Glasgow scheme, who wants to escape into nature. When he meets Flo he has his chance. But can he make this new beginning work?