Long live the King….

The king of football comedy, Jonathan Watson, takes to the stage once more, this time in the outrageous award-winning comedy play, King of Scotland, writes Susan Welsh, Press and Journal.

When it comes to comedy, it’s all about timing – and the timing could not be better than right now for presenting a revival of the outrageous one-man show, King of Scotland. Written by Iain Heggie and starring Jonathan Watson, the much-loved actor from legendary Scottish shows including Only An Excuse, Naked Video and City Lights.. The play, which sees Jonathan present a funny and daring monologue, was first performed just after the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament, before going on to be named an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First winner. With the 2011 Scottish Elections in mind, Iain Heggie rewrote and revised part of the script to suit the changing political landscape.

The cutting-edge production, which on this occasion is also directed by Iain, features trouser-less bankers, talking dogs, flying taxis and a razor-sharp parody of the workings of Scottish politics. At its heart is Tommy McMillan, played by Jonathan, an established actor who trained at the RSAMD and has worked with numerous theatrical companies.

“The play is very loosely based on the short story, Diary of a Madman, written by Nikolai Gogol about a little office clerk and his descent into madness,” explained Jonathan.

“In this take on it, it focuses on a guy called Tommy McMillan who is one of the long-term unemployed – 28 consecutive years without working, and proud of it. “He’s roped into a government training scheme to get him back into work and through the implications of it, at work and in his home life, you see his descent into madness. “Along the way you meet many characters, mainly seen through the eyes of Tommy, but other characters do pop up too, portrayed through Tommy’s interpretation of them.”

After joining the government scheme, Tommy is portrayed as a shining example of how it works and he’s selected to be featured in the media. Taken on by The Department of Social Inclusion, the department gets more than they bargained for when they discover just how far up the ladder Tommy is expecting to go. Although Jonathan has excellent mimic skills which he puts to good use in shows like BBC Scotland’s Only An Excuse, which takes a satirical look at football and attracts more than a million viewers when broadcast at Hogmanay, he doesn’t use them in this play.

“Tommy doesn’t do impressions or speak in different voices, far from it,” said Jonathan. “I first trained as an actor and a lot of my work is as an actor, so I’ll be approaching this part from that angle.” But he will use another of his talents, excellent comic timing, to great effect. For many people, this skill of his first came to light in the cult television shows, Naked Video and City Lights.

“After this short tour, I’m taking the King of Scotland to the Edinburgh Festival where, in 1983, we did a show called Naked Radio,” said Jonathan. “It was through that show that Naked Video came about – it’s hard to believe that was 28 years ago.”

Nowadays, his time is split between the worlds of radio, theatre and television and film. “Although people may think of me from the Hogmanay show, that only takes up a few weeks of my time,” said Jonathan. “Earlier this year I did some political satire for Radio Scotland and I’ve just finished filming an episode of the BBC TV show New Tricks, which was great fun.” Being in constant demand means he’s never been out of work, so how hard is it, I wondered, to play someone who has dodged work all his life? “I’ve had to use my imagination, but it’s such a well-observed and well-written piece, which is a huge help,” said Jonathan.

King of Scotland will be at macrobert Wednesday 25 May 8.00pm

More info and online booking here.


More details about our Scottish elections day…

As promised, more information on all the going-ons we have happening in and around macrobert on Thursday 5 May 2011 for the Scottish elections, along with all of the below we will be screening the latest news on our plasma TV’s, a live Twitter feed, our own news room and even a mock polling booth where you can display your macrobert ballot sheet with your answer to the question “If I were First Minister I would…”

Our filmhouse will be screening some amazing films through out the day:

The Ghost (15) 10.00am

Frost/Nixon (15) 1.30pm

Good Night, and Good Luck. (PG) 5.15pm

The Queen (12A) 8.15pm

In the loop (15) 11.00pm

All our feature length films in the filmhouse will be introduced with short films created by young people responding to the theme “If I were First Minister I would…”

Our mainhouse will be hosting two fabtastic performances:

macrobert Young Company
The citizenship class at Wootton Bassett School and the supply teacher have gone a bit nuts, doing a runner and locking the pupils in. That’s bad enough, but tensions are higher today than normal; a day when only yards from their confinement a repatriation of fallen British soldiers is happening along the high street – as it has over a hundred times before through this quiet Wiltshire town. But this one is more personal than most.

Thu 5 May 10.00pm (free but ticketed event) Call us on 01786 466666


‘emotionally stunning…’ (Hairline)
ThickSkin brings this story to life with a mix of striking physicality and stunning video design and a five-strong cast of young Glaswegians. Have a look at the production shots on our flickr channel.

Thu 5 May 5pm & 9pm Fri 6 May 8pm
Tickets £12 / £9 conc / £6 U18’s and students
More info and online booking here


Not only do we have all of this happening but we will be having a flash mob around 10pm and YOU can get involved, just watch this trailer below, learn the moves and join us! Check out www.macrobert.org/elections to book for any of the above and follow us on Twitter for the latest news.

Chatting with Tony Mills

Today we got Tony Mills to join us in the Atrium of Stirling University to promote his performances Such A Bloke / Watch IT! The Stirling Observer photographer came along too and got some nice snaps for the paper…

We decided we should grab some innocent students and get them in on the photograph, so we found this lot and got what we were after. Twas a fun day had by all!

Such a Bloke is a brand new solo is choreographed by award winning Edinburgh based Australian Choreographer Janis Claxton.  A dance theatre piece influenced by a personal viewpoint on the pros and cons of being a bloke involved in the dance industry, Such a Bloke, is a mixture of Claxton’s fluid style, met with the robustness of Mill’s’ hip hop background. Such a Bloke is an emotionally driven piece but with a dynamic and meaty edge.


A hit during the Fringe in 2009 and fusing dance, theatre, film and animation, Watch IT! takes a close look at relationship we form with our television. Covering the banal to the surreal, it touches on aspects of how TV affects us and the situations where it can take on more than an intimate form.

Why not come along and see Tony in action!

Sat 2 October 8pm

Tickets £12 /£9 conc / £6 U18’s / £3 students

Book online, call us on 01786 466666 or pop in and see us

See ya then! 🙂

Double Bill of magic…

Room 2 Manoeuvre come to macrobert with a double bill of absolute magic dance solos from Tony Mills.

Watch It! fuses breakdance, physical theatre, film and animation all into the first 45 minute dance odyssey. This digital ‘Alice in Wonderland’ centres around one man’s love / hate relationship with his TV, taking you on a ride to make you think about your own little box in the corner, a hit at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe and was described as ‘essential viewing, seemless and slick’ from The Skinny.

Promo video for Watch It!

This double bill then flips from the colourful sensation of Watch iT! to the sleek, semi autobiographical performance, Such a Bloke. Created by award winning choreographer Janis Claxton, the second part of the double bill offers an emotionally driven contrast of frustration and futility from personal insight. Influenced by a personal viewpoint on the pros and cons of being a bloke involved in the dance industry, a fantastic mix of Claxton’s fluid style and the robustness of Mill’s hip hop background.

Promo video for Such A Bloke

The List managed to get a hold of Tony Mills and asked him 5 Questions, read it here to see the thinking behind this rather interesting double bill.

Saturday 2 October 8pm
Tickets £12 / £9 conc / £6 students
To book your tickets call our Tickets and Info team on 01786 466666, pop in to see us or book online here.

Hope to see you there! 🙂

Fringe Festival shows coming to macbob

The Edinburgh Fringe is almost half way through its run of the festival!  Eventhough we are not based in Edinburgh all of us at the macrobert have loveddiscussing our jaunts through to the capital; what were the hits, what the misses were and what fun we had at the festival.

The Fringe is a chance for many performers to kick off their shows and preview them to the world before going on tour. If you haven’t checked out our new live brochure you will see that a couple of festival acts are actually performing their Edinburgh show at the macrobert, So if you don’t have the time or money to go see some of the great performances in Edinburgh then now there is no excuse as a few will be right here on your doorstep very soon.

Ewan Donald and Harry Ward by Laurence Winram

The Not So Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo by Vox Motus performing at the Traverse has received rave reviews so far. The Stage stamped it as a ‘Must See’, while The Scotsman gave it 4 stars. Inspired by an incredible true story, multi-award winning company Vox Motus present a pitch dark comedy, featuring a host of eccentric characters, original live music and stunning design. A frozen body found in a woodshed wreaks havoc in the local community, forcing them to confront questions of science, faith and immortality.  The Not So Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo features at the macrobet on the 18th September.

For the kids, White, has being doing incredibly well. It has just won a Herald Angel award at the Fringe. Herald Angels are awarded to the best of the festival’s performers, venues and backstage crew who have managed to impress The Herald’s distinguished panel of arts critics. The show has also been receiving 5 star reviews, especially from the festival magazine who said; ‘The play’s call to celebration of life in all its rich, multi-coloured glory is both unforced and deeply moving’. High praise indeed for a children’s show about two men who spend their day performing simple tasks in their perfectly white & clean world. White runs from 8th-24th December at the macrobert and is for 0-4 years and their families.

However, if you prefer a bit of comedy then look no further than regular Fringe performer, Danny Bhoy, who comes to the macrobert on the 28th September with his unique brand of laid back humour and story telling. He has been receiving 3 star reviews for his show; By Royal Disappointment. Chortle commented on their favourite moment of the show; ‘we love him most when he reveals his weaknesses, relatively small though they be. His humble recounting of foot-in-mouth moments when he met comedy royalty (Matt Damon) or the real deal (The Queen) are made funnier by his milking the embarrassment of what might be considered relatively minor faux pas’. Bhoy’s humour is observational and it often involves his own experiences as an international comedian.

Come along & check out one of these amazing shows when they come to the macrobert before it’s too late. See what all the critics have been raving about! As before we know it will be a year on and these performers will be performing a brand new show for the Fringe.

For more information or to book call our lovely box office staff on 01786 466666.

Claire Cunningham – ME

Mobile Evolution is a double bill from award-winning dancer/choreographer Claire Cunningham. Claire is here at the macrobert showcasing her exceptional dance technique and impressive power. ME (Mobile/Evolution) is a show woven from humorous stories; about doctors and dancing, bikes and ballet; all threaded together and balanced upon, hanging from, spinning on and swinging on crutches. Any possible sentimentality is undercut with a healthy dose of Scottish sarcasm. Audiences for this critically acclaimed production, seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009, have been delighted, as well as provoked into questioning their ideas of aesthetics and dance.

 Evolution (one help of her performance) earned Cunningham a nomination for Best Female Performer at the Dublin Fringe Festival ’07 and the piece has been since been presented at Tramway Glasgow, Pustervik Theatre Gothenburg, Potsdamer Tanztage and as part of the Firsts season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2008.

 Claire Cunningham – ME is at the macrobert on the 10th July at 8pm. Plus to all you lucky customers we are offering half price tickets! For more information call our box office on 01786 466666.

 Still not convinced? Check out these amazing reviews she has recieved in the past.

 “Feisty, innovative, radical and witty… this is strong visionary work…. It’s hugely, generously entertaining too.” ***** – The Herald

 “Her love of movement is palpable and communicated in no uncertain terms to the audience. The closing scene […] is one of the most joyous and moving things I’ve ever seen” **** – The Scotsman

 ”Before your eyes, Mobile transforms something utilitarian into a thing of beauty.” – The Guardian

The Ladyboys of Iran

Following the success of his 2009 national tour, the brilliant Middlesbrough-Irish-Iranian comic is embarking on a full-scale British tour. Often seen on C4’s Paul O’Grady Show, and the veteran of several sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs. (He’s at the Festival again this year, so check him out at the macrobert first to avoid the wait…

And the travel expenses!) Monahan has done gigs in France, Monaco, Germany, Belgium, Bahrain and the United Arab of Emirates. Therefore, showing off his unique talent of adapting to different crowds. More like well-travelled I say!

 Monahan has a breathtaking gift for interaction and combines it with sharp and hilarious observations, paying special attention to his unique cultural roots. I know the words ‘audience’ and ‘participation’ always puts the fear of death into people. However, Monahan has a relaxed genial manner gained through years as a warm up man for TV.

Patrick Monahan is the winner of the 2009 award for ‘Best International Comic’ from the Academy of Arts, Literature and Media, which was previously won by the fantastic Omid Djalili. Monahan was also hailed by The Sun as one of the top ten comedians to look out for in 2010 due to this chatty, friendly, and storytelling comedy act.

Patrick Monahan comes well recommended, and his show at the macrobert is the one to look out for. He is playing the mainhouse on Saturday 3rd July 2pm & 8pm. (The 2pm is a family orientated show).

For more information call our box office on 01786 466666.

Still can’t decide? Check out the reviews below from his previous shows!

“The best show in Edinburgh 2008’’ The Guardian          

“He moves around the stage like a boxer working a ring, covering all angles and staying light on his feet. He is a walking advert for world harmony. Hearts will be broken, socks will be laughed off.”
The Scottish Herald 2005

 “An upbringing infused with culture clashes and his unconventional mind, Monahan is a hybrid calamity with a comic pedigree that’s all his own.”
The List (Maureen Ellis)

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