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Enquirer review at The Hub at Pacific Quay Glasgow

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The National Theatre of Scotland’s latest verbatim work, edited from interviews with journalists about the death – or otherwise – of the newspaper industry, was always going to be topical. But few would have foretold quite how prescient the reality would become in the light of the revelations tumbling out at the Leveson Inquiry.

Using the found space of the open-plan top floor of the Digital Media Quarter, this recreates the various workstations of a traditional newspaper. Starting from the central conference room, Billy Boyd as the interviewer guides the audience from one to the next – aided by Lizzie Powell’s natural but pinpoint-perfect lighting design.

Structured around the day of a journalist – from waking to Radio 4’s Today to putting the paper to bed – Andrew O’Hagan, Vicky Featherstone and John Tiffany’s script pulls up the modern history of journalism. It speaks well for the journalist’s trade and touches on modern dilemmas of the move to digital and the ethics highlighted by Murdoch.

If much is, by necessity, superficial and the individual interviewee’s voices are merged into an overarching dialogue, the recreation of three major interviews are made to stand out.

Billy Riddoch is a marvellously unrepentant and sleazy Jack Irvine, first editor of The Scottish Sun, happily admitting to paying informants. Gabriel Quigley as Deborah Orr interviewing John Bett as Sunday Times editor Roger Alton on the day Marie Colvin died in Homs is the picture of denial. Maureen Beattie’s representation of foreign correspondent Ros Wynne-Jones is an emotional heartbreaker.

This is a telling, intelligent and constructively self-referential piece of theatre, brilliantly directed by Featherstone and Tiffany. It’s not Black Watch, but it chimes in the same manner.

Production Information

The Hub at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, April 28-May 13, and October 5-20 at the Barbican, London

Authors
Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr, Ruth Wishart (interviews), Andrew O’Hagan, Vicky Featherstone, John Tiffany (editors)
Directors
Vicky Featherstone, John Tiffany
Producer
The National Theatre of Scotland
Cast includes
Maureen Beattie, John Bett, Billy Boyd, James Anthony Pearson, Gabriel Quigley, Billy Riddoch
Running time
1hr 30mins

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