Category Archives: Reviews

The Mark of the Beast review

The Mark of the Beast gets a ***** review

Presented by Martin O’Connor and Platform
Written and Performed by Martin O’Connor

With Nichola Scrutton and the North East Recovery Community
Platform, Easterhouse 13th-15th April
The Scottish Storytelling Centre 19th April

Inspired by Glasgow and its relationship with alcohol and addiction, Martin’s latest poetry performance The Mark of the Beast explores society through a prism of morality, temptation and family attitudes towards the ‘demon drink,’ and is performed in Martin’s recognisable blend of Scots and song, shot through with religious references and imagery.

The performance includes sound design created by Nichola Scrutton featuring personal experiences of alcohol addiction from members of the North East Recovery Community.

Creative Team:
Martin O’Connor – Writer and Performer
Nichola Scrutton – Composition/Sound Design
Fergus Dunnet – Set Design
Hana Allen – Stage Management
Davie Green – Lighting Design
Alan McKendrick – Directing Support
Eoin Carey – Image and Production Photography

Theatre Review – The Herald
The Mark Of The Beast
Platform, The Bridge, Glasgow

*****

“Whit ye huvin?” The voice has a chirrupy geniality to it: pure Glesca’ camraderie. “Ur ye huvin’ a drink or no?” The camaraderie is now teetering on the querulous, the aggressive even. Offence is on the verge of being taken, here. Minutes into this pithy, comedic, often harrowing monologue about various shades of alcohol addiction, writer/performer Martin O’Connor has wheeched us inside a pub, and into the core shorthand of belonging – of being a mate, a part of a community – that is inherent in the offer of a pint.

One pint… unseen voices chip in with memories of the wee swally that first introduced them – often, as far back as childhood – to the compulsive disorder of getting totally blootered. The recorded voices belong to Glasgow’s North-East Recovery Community: mixed into Nichola Scrutton’s chorale-cum-sound design, they will add personal witness to O’Connor’s tangy, savvy progress through the cumulative effects of long-term alcohol abuse. There’s the bilious heartburn of self-loathing, the upsurge of resolve – “Ah’m affit..” – and the lonely isolation of battling your demons when your pals remain in the boozer.

There’s a graphically vicious section when a posse of well-dressed lads become a pack of drunken thugs, relentlessly kicking a total stranger

just because… because he was there. It all sounds, feels, pungently real.

O’Connor’s talent for morphing social documentation into a bravura prose-poem pivots merrily on the rhythms of everyday Glesca’ patois, but – back-lit by designer Fergus Dunnet’s row of stained glass windows – he offsets the gallus patter with the soaring fire and brimstone of biblical texts, juggling revelations and hallucinations in a linguistic cocktail of those abiding havens: bevvy and religion. We laugh a lot, because O’Connor understands bathos but he never mocks the alcohol-afflicted, or diminishes their trials in what is a truly exceptional piece of work.

Read the review online

Theology CATS Award Nomination

Very exciting news – Martin O’Connor’s Theology has been shortlisted for a CATS 2013-14 award in the Best Music and Sound Category. Announcements will be made on 8th June 2014. See details and the full listings at CATS.

Here are some reviews of the recent performances at the Pearce Institute for Behaviour Festival:

**** Joyce MacMillan The Scotsman

Mary Brennan The Herald

Gareth Vile The Vile Blog

Panic Patterns Reviews

Here are a few reviews for the production of Panic Patterns at the Citizens Theatre.

“… sound designer Nichola Scrut(t)on’s noises off for comfort…” ****The Herald

“Nichola Scrutton’s sound design plays a starring role…” Broadway World

“…an atmospheric set and soundscape…” ***The Scotsman

“…while Nichola Scrutton’s ghost-radio music……add to a twitchy atmosphere” Times Higher