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Review: an intimate portrait of local wildlife and flora

Peter Biehl's drawings can be seen at Vaila Fine Art until early July.BORN in Denmark in 1941 and trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen, Peter Biehl first fell in love with Shetland 20 years ago and became a frequent visitor, finally settling in the isles since his retirement as a college art teacher in Denmark.

The landscape enchanted him as he found himself "drawn to the rugged coastline, the shift between the mildness and cruelness of its temperament, seduced by the light, the contrast, the unfolding drama between life and death".

Review: a reminder of life’s tragic truths

Marion Brewster-Wright (Stephenie Pagulayan) makes her presence known to Eva and Geoffrey Jackson (Donna-Marie Leask & Martin Summers). All photos: Austin TaylorI grew up in the university town of Cambridge, where amateur dramatics were ten a penny. In studying Romeo and Juliet at sixth form college, I managed to see at least three different versions of the play in the space of as many months. And trust me, the quality varies some.

So, when you decide to see any amateur dramatic performance, I'm more aware than anyone that you have to take the view that you might just get what you pay for.

Review: a gripping performance from young cast

The Free9 is showing at Mareel this week ahead of a performance in Inverness next month. Photo: Stuart Hubbard.MAREEL this week welcomed a brand new play written for the National Theatre Connections project - The Free9 by In-Sook Chappell - writes Zoe Spence. Directed by John Haswell and Izzy Swanson, the play opened in Shetland on Tuesday (20 March), with a second performance on Wednesday (21 March) followed by a performance at Eden Court in Inverness on Tuesday 10 April.

The play follows eight teenagers from North Korea who escape and endeavour on a long journey through China and Laos with the help of “Big Brother” to try and seek refuge in South Korea. A harrowing story leaving the audience in stunned silence throughout.

Shetland IV: a grim and ruthless triumph

The fourth season of the popular crime drama concluded on Tuesday night. Photo: BBC.IT'S MURDER and it’s personal - it must be Shetland, writes Jordan Ogg. As the final episode spooled into view, you could have forgiven DI Perez for thinking he had it all figured out. But it was never going to be that easy.

After all, there was a full 60 minutes to get through and his theory was rather troublesome, not to mention complicated, as it rested on dodgy Duncan, his daughter’s natural father, having strangled Lizzie Kilmuir with a scarf all those years ago, and maybe more recently Sally McColl too.

Tidelines make their mark at Mareel

YOUNG Highlands band Tidelines kicked off an extensive Scottish tour at Mareel last night, and demonstrated to a 200-strong crowd why they are fast garnering a reputation on the trad scene for their upbeat folk songs.

Review: mellow gems and murder ballads

The Furrow Collective, from left to right: Emily Portman, Alasdair Roberts, Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton. Photo: Kelly Nicolson Riddell.“SO YOU like your murder ballads, then” smiled Lucy Farrell in response to the warm applause greeting the conclusion of The Furrow Collective’s opening song, Willie’s Fatal Visit, at Mareel on Saturday night.

It is a grisly lyrical tale, granted, but Farrell’s crystal clear vocal imbues the song – discovered from Ray Fisher’s reading of the song back in 1991, accompanied by Martin Carthy – with elegiac beauty and grace.

Shetland IV: ‘a fine and nasty ride ahead’

Perez, now well worn in by Dougie Henshall, has his doubts about the whole Malone affair. Photo: BBCMurder grips the isles as DI Jimmy Perez returns for a fourth run of Shetland on the BBC, writes Jordan Ogg.

"There's a murderer running loose and there's been another murder. I dinnae think he's the killer, but I'm still going to have to spend six episodes trying to prove it", shouts DI Jimmy Perez as he climbs the Lodberry steps to face his next investigation.

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.

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