Mark Ludmon previews some of the Scotland Theatre Highlights coming up in 2020.
Highlights of the 2020 spring season at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre include the world premiere of Donny’s Brain, a new play by Rona Munro. Neuroscience meets romcom as the title character has to piece together his past memories, and his life, after an accident. It runs from 14 April to 2 May. The theatre’s award-winning hit Mouthpiece by Kieran Hurley returns on 6 to 15 February before touring to Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 26 to 29 February.
At the Tron, other productions coming up include Gaelic-language show Maim, combining live music, dance, spoken word and video, from 6 to 14 March, a new stage adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis by Matthew Lenton from 10 to 21 March and a new John Byrne musical play called Underwood Lane, about a skiffle band trying to make it big, from 2 to 18 July.
At Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, highlights include Bertolt Brecht’s rarely staged classic, Mrs Puntila and Her Man Matti, from 25 March to 11 April. This master-and-servant comedy is given a gender-switched adaptation by crime novelist and playwright Denise Mina and will star leading Scottish actor Elaine C Smith. It is in association with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum where it debuts from 28 February to 21 March.
Another production at the Lyceum is Castle Lennox, telling the stories of people who were sent to a notorious Edinburgh institution for people with disabilities from the 1930s to the 1990s, focusing on a girl with autism. Running from 1 to 2 May, it has been written by Linda McLean with music by MJ McCarthy and is being staged in collaboration with Lung Ha Theatre Company.
The Lyceum is also staging a classic of Spain’s golden age of theatre, Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderon, in a new translation by Jo Clifford. Mixing comedy and drama, it follows a prince who has to tackle his father, the king, who has the makings of a tyrant. It runs from 15 May to 6 June, directed by Wils Wilson.
Neil Simon’s romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park will be revived at the Lyceum from 3 to 25 April, directed by Elizabeth Newman, artistic director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre, where the production will premiere from 12 to 29 March.
Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Perthshire has an impressive line-up of shows for 2020. One of the most notable highlights is the world premiere of the latest play by leading Scottish playwright, David Greig. Running in rep from 23 July to 2 October, Adventures with the Painted People is a story about love and culture set on the banks of the River Tay and will be directed by Elizabeth Newman.
Also coming up at Pitlochry is a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Glasgow-based playwright Frances Poet, from 27 August, and a new production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from 19 June, both also directed by Newman. Also in rep until October 2020 is a new production of classic musical Gypsy directed by Ben Occhipinti from 22 May, Noël Coward’s Private Lives directed by Amy Liptrott from 5 June, and ballroom-dancing comedy-drama Kiss Me Quickstep written by Amanda Whittington and directed by Caitlin Skinner from 12 June 2020. Pitlochry Festival Website
From 15 October to 1 November, Pitlochry Festival Theatre will present Enough of Him by May Sumbwanyambe in association with National Theatre of Scotland. Based on a true story, it explores the life of Joseph Knight, an African man brought to Scotland as a slave by plantation owner John Wedderburn to serve in his Perthshire mansion.
The life of footballing legend Jim McLean, the former boss of Dundee United, is brought to the stage in a new play Smile by Philip Differ at Dundee Rep from 18 February to 7 March. Described as funny and moving, it celebrates the memories of a difficult yet inspirational man.
After his success with Mouthpiece, Kieran Hurley has adapted Ibsen’s classic play, An Enemy of the People, for National Theatre of Scotland. Directed by Finn den Hertog, The Enemy is a Scottish take on the story, following a woman who discovers a secret behind a major redevelopment project. It will visit venues in Lanark, Clydebank, Darvel, Dunoon and Dumfries from 25 April to 9 May. Book Tickets.
Check for more shows in your area in our preview of touring shows in 2020