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Improvised comedy panto brings the laughs

The Imposters, from left to right: Ashlea Tulloch, Marjolein Robertson, Jill Charleson, Matthew Simpson, Thomas Jones, Alex Garrick-Wright, Les Sinclair. IT'S not very often you get to watch a pantomime which playfully juggles topics like cannibalism and veganism, but then again, local improvised comedy collective The Imposters don't always do things the usual way.

Sure, the panto at the Lerwick Legion on Friday night had all the classic characters - the hero, the dame, the villain and more - but its story and narrative was effectively made up on the spot following a one-word suggestion thrown over from the audience.

Queen II tribute acts hits the festive party spot

"IS THIS the real life, is it just fantasy?" sang the Freddie Mercury impersonator on stage at Mareel on Friday night.

Review: ‘Bravo’ for pulling out all the stops

John Haswell, as Captain Hook - 'the most villainous pirate of them all' with Hermione Boyes as Peter Pan. Photos: Jonathon BulterI wouldn't go as far as to say I'm a big fan of panto.
Oh yes you are! I hear you cry.
Well, maybe I thought I wasn't...

It's been some time since I was last at a panto, and I had forgotten the sheer delight and excitement that comes from an untypically young theatre audience once the music starts.

Island Medics: a cheery and cheesy take on life in Shetland’s only hospital

"There are more seals in Shetland than supermarkets" announces the narrator in the opening episode of Island Medics. Few viewers should be surprised by this fact. Any that are ought to be in the sea themselves, writes Jordan Ogg.

Yes, the narrator is annoying, but viewers can feel reassured that, despite some daft opening lines and a fairly bonkers map, the first instalment offers a pleasingly cheery and cheesy start to this BBC One 10-part series. It's a formula that should serve well, given the early morning slot.

Review: Lasting treasure at Home & Away

The Home & Away exhibition is on until Christmas.ARTS and crafts abound in shops and galleries at this time of year, unsurprisingly. At the Shetland Museum and Archives exhibition space, Da Gadderie, John Hunter has managed to curate a diverse range of products – paintings, drawings, pottery, and basketry among them.

Review: a glorious flurry of comedy

Top English comedian Sara Pascoe shared a bill with up-and-coming local comic Marjolein Robertson at Mareel on Saturday night. Photo: Shetland News/Alex Garrick Wright.THERE wasn’t an empty seat or a dry eye in the house on Saturday night, as a packed Mareel played host to the superb comedy pairing of Marjolein Robertson and Sara Pascoe.

Local comedian Marjolein opened the show, wandering on stage with a red tin in hand. Having only started working on stand-up comedy a few years ago, Marjolein has pursued the art with aplomb, having two shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and a number of appearances at New Zealand comedy festivals under her belt already, and further festival bookings lined up for 2018.

Edinburgh Quartet: passion and intensity

The Edinburgh Quartet (Tijmen Huisingh, violin, at rear; Tom Hankey, violin, far right; Catharine Marwood, viola, 5th from left; Mark Bailey, cello, 3rd from left) with members of Shetland Community Orchestra, after their stunning performance at Mareel. Photo: James MackenzieI MUST confess I felt at a loss for words after this concert. I don't think I have ever been quite so 'blown away' by a string quartet on stage, writes James Mackenzie following Wednesday night's performance of the Edinburgh Quartet at Mareel.

Actually there were almost two concerts, as the quartet – or rather some of the programme's music - was introduced half an hour earlier by Nigel Hayward, complete with piano-grande to illustrate his insights into the string quartets of Joseph Haydn and Leoš Janàček that were going to be played.

Theatre review: ‘Love or education. What do you do when you can’t have both?’

Tess (Sula Brookes) stands up to Dr Maudsley (Andy Long) in the lecture hall. Photo: Austin Taylor.THIS November, Islesburgh Drama Group ventured into the past to uncover the fight a group of Cambridge girls faced in 1896 to graduate from university.

Jessica’s Swale’s debut play Blue Stockings, first performed at The Globe in 2013, deals with the injustices women faced in endeavouring to educate themselves to the same standards as their male counterparts.

Review: sit-down comedy + sublime music = a night of pure joy thanks to Aly and Phil

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham delivered another night of mirth and music at Mareel on Friday. Photo: Dale Smith.WHY would anyone want to read a review of Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham’s 31st Annual World Tour of Shetland and Many Other Places Forbye? I mean, if you were there in Mareel on Friday night and/or Waas on Saturday, you already know what a superb evening’s entertainment it was. And if you weren’t there, well, a review will only upset you because you missed all the virtuoso musical merriment. But here goes, anyway…

‘A rich and unbelievably satisfying experience’

Cellist Abby Hayward  and pianist Neil Georgeson playing together for the first time. Photo: Jenny Leask/Shetland ArtsShetland Arts' 2017-18 Classical Season looked to be off to a flying start on Thursday night, with a packed auditorium, an excited audience, and a buzzing atmosphere, writes Alex Garrick-Wright. Then again, with the opening concert being two world-class, local musicians - playing together on home turf for the first time - the excitement was perhaps predictable.

Rockers revel in final helping of buffet festival

Headline act Vantage Point were a hit. Frontman Murray Graham gets involved with the crowd. Photo: Steven Johnson.THERE was a feast of rock music on offer in Lerwick on Friday night as the last Shetland Rock Festival opened in style.

Heavy Metal Buffet's fifth and final shindig saw mainland bands Twin Heart and Vantage Point hit the stage at the Legion.

Review: An epic story about personal and communal guilt

Lars Mytting. Photo: MacLehose PressTHE LATEST novel by award-winning Norwegian author Lars Mytting, The Sixteen Trees of the Somme, was published last week. It is set in Norway, France and in Shetland. James Mackenzie read it for us:

Well now I know what a turquoise turtle knot is, and where to acquire Sandalwood scent (Truefitt and Hill). This I did not expect in a novel, in which – the publishers tell us – that the narrator Edvard's "desperate quest to unlock [his] family's secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands [sic], and to the battlefields of France – through most of a century, and to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance."

Salt House's impressive Fiddle Frenzy outing

Salt House (from left: Lauren McColl, Jenny Sturgeon and Ewan McPherson) performing at Mareel on Thursday evening. Photo: Kelly Nicolson Riddell.THIS year’s Fiddle Frenzy festival is in full flow, with the students off to Bressay for a concert and dance on Friday night followed by the closing night’s concert in Lerwick on Saturday.

Scottish alternative folk trio Salt House, featuring fiddler Lauren McColl, singer and harmonium player Jenny Sturgeon (who recently moved to the islands) and guitarist Ewan McPherson, headlined a fine evening of music at Mareel on Thursday night.

A unique introduction to classical music

SCO's Big Ears, Little Ears concert: 'a unique, interesting and genuinely important experience, for the parents and kids alike'. Photo: Alex Garrick-WrightTHE Scottish Chamber Orchestra's series of concerts in Shetland has been a little different than usual - two shows in local halls (Aith and Burravoe), a concert aimed at young children and parents, and one 'traditional' concert in Mareel.

Review: Jupitus has something for everyone

Comedian Phill Jupitus performing at Mareel on Saturday night. Photos: Davie Gardner.YOU may have seen Phill Jupitus on telly as a team captain on BBC2’s pop quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks over the last 20 years, or heard his dynamic voice over the radio presenting shows and regularly contributing on comedy panel shows. However, not many in the crowd would have seen Porky the Poet, one of his alter egos and the opening act of the night, writes Aaron Leask.

Review: SCO delivers vivid musical firework

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra receiving a prolonged applause after a 'dazzling and breathtaking' performance. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsTHE Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been visiting Shetland intermittently for about 30 years: touring Scotland is one of its prime functions, and this year the deployment of its 24 strong string ensemble, under the direction of violinist Alexander Janiczek, has enabled the orchestra to tour Shetland itself – at Aith in the West Mainland, Burravoe in Yell, and at Mareel in Lerwick.

Martha Wainwright 'mesmerises' Mareel

The Mareel audience enjoyed an "intimate and intense" performance from Martha Wainwright on Wednesday night. Photo: Steven Johnson"You guys are quiet," Martha Wainwright told the audience sitting in the Mareel auditorium midway through her set on Wednesday night. "I'm gonna assume it's cause you're mesmerised," she added with a wry smile. She may have been on to something.

A songwriting masterclass from Mason

Willy Mason, accompanied by Siobhan Wilson on cello, delivered something of a songwriting masterclass at the Lerwick Legion on Monday night. Photo: Steven Johnson.THE FIFTY or so souls who ventured out to the Lerwick Legion on an unusually still midsummer Monday night enjoyed a bluesy-country treat in the form of an intimate concert from classy American troubadour Willy Mason.   

Probably best known for his mini-hit single Oxygen, which reached number 23 on the UK charts back in 2005, Mason’s career has gone a little quiet in recent years.

College exhibition a 'diverse display of talent'

Prints by BA Fine Art student Jane Ridland. Photo: Patrick MainlandAROUND 150 people attended the opening of Shetland College UHI's end-of-year art exhibition Vision 17 in Lerwick on Friday evening, writes Patrick Mainland.

The creative efforts of students from several different programmes of study covered the college walls in a truly diverse display of talent.

Review: Cortese and co wow sold-out Mareel

Singer and fiddle player Laura Cortese was joined by fellow fiddle player Jenna Moynihan, cellist Valerie Thompson and double bass player Jeni Magana. Photos: Steven Johnson, web: www.stevenjohnsonfoto.com All the way from Massachusetts, and fresh from a slot at the Orkney Folk Festival at the weekend, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards showed not one bit of fatigue as they wowed a sell-out crowd at Mareel on Tuesday night, writes Patrick Mainland.

Among the Lerwick audience were many who had seen them play here just last year at our very own folk festival, and they sat eagerly in anticipation of the night to come.

Risky but rewarding madrigals concert

The Dunedin Consort madrigals during rehearsals prior to their Friday night concert at Mareel. Photo: Jenny Leask.

SHETLAND Arts’ unconventional 2016/17 classical season ended on Friday night in Mareel, with a concert of Baroque-era madrigals that was just as unusual, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.

The Dunedin Consort presented Love’s Fire; Love’s Ashes, a programme of 14 madrigals by groundbreaking Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, coinciding with the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The critically-acclaimed ensemble, fronted by director Nicholas Mulroy, were “delighted” to be in Shetland for the first time.

Jack changes pace on soulful new EP

Edinburgh-based islander Jack Sandison.JACK Sandison is definitely a glass-half-full kind of guy, writes Patrick Mainland: “As a songwriter, I believe in positive music. Even the darkest lament will have positive intent somewhere.” 

On the four-song EP Dark Horse, that positivity doesn’t reach out and grab you like the feel-good blues grooves of his work with The Holy Ghosts; instead, it flows, a subtle presence in an intriguing set of tunes.


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