Album review: 'Seductive Sax' by Joe Leader

Published by Press Association

VIDEO: Joe Leader - Isn't She Lovely (Live)

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but can you sometimes judge an album by its title?

This delivers everything it promises on the tin, and a little more, as young jazz saxophonist Joe Leader smoothly hoots and toots his way around soulful classics such as Bill Withers’ Just The Two Of Us and Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder.

A live recording, this is pretty standard finger-clicking, wine-swilling stuff. However, Leader and his worthy eight-piece demonstrate an exciting versatility – occasionally etching into the realms of Latin and R&B.

Seductive Sax gets nowhere near the genius of John Coltrane’s Blue Train Sessions, of course, but it’s rather impressive for a debut offering.



Theatre preview: Still Game @ Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (26 June) until Sunday (1 July), Tue-Fri 8pm, Thu, Sat & Sun 2.45pm, £7-£10, Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 552 4267. www.tron.co.uk

You all know that our economy fell on its backside back in 2007, right, but do you really know why? Here’s my theory: because Still Game was cancelled. Think about it — no sooner were the credits of the classic BBC One sitcom rolling for the final time was the UK’s fiscal framework beginning to buckle. Five long years ago.

Now, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ll know that this celebrated comedy follows the exploits of two Glasgow pensioners who are determined to enjoy their old age.

We haven’t heard much of Jack and Victor for a while, but now their creators are making them tread the boards.

Performed by an all-new cast, this play by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill features the lovable duo contemplating life, love, and how many bars of electric heater to put on.

What’s that? You don’t think it will work in a theatre? Well, Still Game began life as a stage show — so there.

Whether you need to beg, steal or borrow to make it to Tron Theatre this week — I think it’s about time you paid Jack and Victor a visit, don’t you?


Theatre preview: Macbeth @ Tramway, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (13 June) until 30 June (except Mondays), 7.30pm (Sundays 4pm, matinee Saturday 23 June 2.30pm), £10-£20, Tramway, Glasgow.
Tel: 0845 330 3501. www.tramway.org

VIDEO: Macbeth - trailer

Friends, Romans, commuters – please raise your hands if you enjoyed learning Macbeth at school. Right… I make that a 50-50 split. Between those of you who had good and bad teachers.

See, when I was a wee boy, there was a frustrating gulf between the intensity of Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’ and the monotony of how it was read by a beard-scratching, clock-watching member of the English department.

But, the honest man my tutor was, he admitted that Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy – which delves into themes of ambition, desire and the supernatural – will forever belong on the stage rather than the page.

His point is demonstrated in stunning fashion tonight, when an audacious re-imagining of the story premieres at Glasgow’s Tramway.

In this National Theatre of Scotland production, multi award-winning actor Alan Cumming takes on every role in Macbeth as he plays a modern-day psychiatric patient who is channelling the 17th-century tale.

‘I have been obsessed with Macbeth for as long as I can remember,’ said Cumming. ‘It continues to haunt and inspire me.’

This truly incredible theatrical experience will soon be heading off to New York, so it’s your duty to catch it while it’s on your doorstep.


Theatre preview: Eight @ Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (12 June) until Saturday (16 June), 8pm, £10 (concessions £7), Tron Theatre, Glasgow.
Tel: 0141 552 4267. www.tron.co.uk

Bloody students, spending all their time swilling cocktails while the rest of us have to work for a living. Doesn’t their idleness just make you sick?

Well, there’s always an element of truth in stereotypes, but this simply can’t be said of the Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland’s scholars, who are – by anyone’s definition – a focused bunch.

Not a week has passed since they showed us what their vibrant theatrical minds are capable of with the successful On The Verge at The Arches, and tonight they’re at it again – setting their sights on Merchant City, where they take on a belter of a play at Tron Theatre.

First performed at the 2008 Fringe, Ella Hickson’s award-winning Eight was inspired by the results of a survey of British twenty-somethings. It centres on an octet of characters – including a 7/7 survivor and an ex-squaddie – whose evocative monologues reveal the plurality of a generation, and allude to our human desire to belong.

This challenging work is brought back to the stage by Glasgow theatre company NewUpNorth-Scotland – a dynamic young outfit committed to powerful storytelling.

Bloody students, treating us to such great theatre at a reasonable price. Tut-tut.


Theatre preview: The Chairs @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh & Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (7 June) until Saturday (9 June), 7.30pm, £6-£17, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.
Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

AND Wednesday 13 June until Saturday 16 June, 7.45pm, £15 (concessions £7), Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 552 4267. www.tron.co.uk

We’re thoughtful fools, us Homo sapiens. From time to time, we’ve all wondered silly things like ‘what’s the meaning of our existence?’ and ‘is it ultimately important for us to be happy?’

Back in the mid-20th century, people wrote plays about humanity’s quest for a purpose in life. Led by dramatists such as Václav Havel, Harold Pinter and Eugène Ionesco, an intellectual movement known as the Theatre of the Absurd swept the stages of Europe.

Their works did not pretentiously dwell on high concepts such as existentialism, nihilism or Dadaism – they just ridiculed the world through ordinary, even mundane, characters and situations.

Tonight, Irish theatre company Blue Raincoat brings Ionesco’s The Chairs back to life. In this 1952 classic, an old man hopes to share his philosophy. He and his wife of 75 years live in a lighthouse on the edge of civilisation, and anxiously prepare for the arrival of their town’s leading figures to come and listen to his potentially Earth-shattering speech.

Theatre like this will be popular for as long as we try to understand where we fit in to the bigger picture, but hey – this production will only be with us for a few days.


Theatre preview: On The Verge @ The Arches, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (6 June) until Friday (8 June), 7.30pm, £6, The Arches, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

Whether it’s inquisitively prodding a semi-defrosted chicken leg on a disposable barbeque in Kelvingrove Park, or rediscovering the taste of Buckfast in some sorry soul’s back yard – we all love a Glasgow summer. Shame it started and ended about two weeks ago.

Yes, we might as well get used to feeling happier indoors as a giant Tupperware container is placed over our country for the moment – so here’s something to sugar the pill.

It’s festival time at The Arches, as students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD) present their exciting works to the public.

Over three days, these emerging artists introduce a mixture of devised and classic pieces that challenge and explore the world through physical theatre, new writing and solo performances.

Doctor Faustus finding himself disillusioned in Thatcher’s Britain (Faustus 86) and an improvised comedy led entirely by audience suggestion (Taboo) are just two of the 16 innovative shows to be staged here, as Scotland’s most thrilling theatrical minds express themselves in bedazzling fashion.

So, rather than wait on the weather, why not enjoy something you can guarantee will be glorious. This.