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Some Things for the Weekend

Top tips: a Clyde revival and Canadian comedy

Vlad againMany in Glasgow still bemoan the loss of Mayfest, that invigorating city-wide jamboree of all the arts.

The banks of the Clyde would come alive on the long spring evenings, with comedy shows and ceilidhs on board the Renfrew Ferry, groundbreaking theatre at The Citizens, and all manner of other theatre, music and arts events, including an extensive programme of community arts in the outlying schemes. 

It was Mayfest that brought us two of the late George Wyllie’s most iconic pieces of public art, The Straw Locomotive which hung from the Finnieston Crane by the river in 1987 and audacious Paper Boat which was launched on the Clyde two years later.

Sadly, Mayfest did not survive beyond the Millennium, although this year, The Tron Theatre has taken up the mantle of spring celebrations with Mayfesto, its own mini-festival which runs throughout the month.  This year’s programme is themed around the hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Among the highlights are Connolly which runs this weekend, telling the story of Edinburgh-born writer and activist Joseph Connolly who was executed by firing squad a century ago.  This is followed up next week by Present State, a devised piece by The Tron’s studio company, which takes the Easter Rising as the starting point of a play about power and tribalism.   The festival continues through the month with My Name Is Saoirse, a moving one-woman coming-of-age drama set 1980’s rural Ireland and Shall Roger Casement Hang ? commemorating the centenary of the death of Roger Casement, another martyr of the Easter Rising.




Royal Botanic Garden   Until 30th May

Garden sheds mean different things to different people. To some of us, they are places of sanctuary to hide from the stresses of everyday life, to others they are merely somewhere to keep the lawnmower, the wheelbarrow and the garden tools, to others they are some kind of adult Wendy house.  I even know some people who have turned their garden shed into a pub.  Fans of the shed will love this imaginative exhibition in Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden, which forms part of the Festival Of Architecture. Huts and sheds have been turned into art installations by artists as diverse as Andy Scott, designer of The Kelpies and Benedetta Tagliabue, the architect of the Scottish Parliament. Her hut remarkably turned up on time and within budget.  If you miss The Ideal Hut Show in Edinburgh this month, it moves on to Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness and Perth later in the spring.



Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Until Saturday 7th May.  Times vary

Thirty years ago, Michael Boyd directed a number of highly critically-acclaimed productions at The Tron Theatre in Glasgow, before going on to pastures new, finally becoming Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and receiving the inevitable knighthood which goes with that position.  Sir Michael now returns to  creative duty in Scotland for the first time in well over a decade with this imaginative 20th-century farce-cum-nightmare.


Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh  Until  14th May Times vary

Mark Thompson’s final production as artistic director of the Lyceum is an imaginative re-working of the timeless Greek myth, originally penned by Homer. The strong ensemble cast includes Olivier award nominee Melody Grove and Scottish theatre stalwart Ron Donachie, who many may remember from the icons 1980’s BBC Scotland comedy drama Tutti Frutti


Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.   Until Saturday 14th May   Times Vary

Another contemporary interpretation of a Greek classic, proving that anything Edinburgh can do, Glasgow can do just as well, if not better.  The Citizens’ re-working of Aeschylus’s Oresteia features a tremendous cast, including veteran of Scottish theatre Cliff Burnett.



St Luke’s, Glasgow   Thursday 5th May 7 pm

Who knows how this will turn out ?  X Files actor turns rock star ?  It could be brilliant, it could be an utter car crash, or it could enter the realms of the unexplained.



The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow   Friday 6th May 8.30 Saturday 7th May 9pm

I’m hosting this show all weekend at The Stand in Glasgow and thoroughly looking forward to working with one of my favourite comedians on the circuit.  Mike Wilmot is a larger-than-life Canadian stand-up who does some of the most inventive well-written filthy material I have ever seen or heard.  A joy to watch.


Breakneck Comedy, Blue Lamp, Aberdeen  Saturday 7th May 8.30

It seems you can’t going to a comedy gig in Scotland this weekend without there being a Canadian on the bill.  In Glasgow it’s the above-mentioned Mike Wilmot and in Aberdeen it’s Glenn Wool.  Wool’s unique dark take on the everyday is pure comedy gold.  He’s supported by local favourite Martin Bearne, in a show hosted by the force of comedic nature that is Gus Lymburn, deservedly crowned “Best Compere” at the 2016 Scottish Comedy Awards

Vladimir McTavish will be performing at The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow from Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th May.  Further details on

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