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Charlie Sonata

Charlie Sonata

Chick arrives back in Scotland for a reunion with his old mates Gary and Jackson only to find Gary’s daughter has been the victim of a life-changing car accident. The antiseptic smell of the wards, the relentless beep of the life support and the sterile hospital bed contrast sharply in Chick’s eye with the young wild-haired girl lying there unconscious; inspiring this downtrodden man to embark on a quest to save her life. Read more …

With redemptive purpose Chick wades out into the city night and amidst the swaying revellers, the streetlights and the scream of sirens he searches for an answer – a gutter-bound dreamer looking at the stars.

This funny, lyrical, booze-soaked odyssey is a World Premiere professional production by acclaimed Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell. It is directed by Matthew Lenton whose Lyceum credits include Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the acclaimed work of his own company Vanishing Point, hosted by The Lyceum for the Edinburgh International Festival 2016.

The critical consensus

I’m convinced there’s a great play buried somewhere in Douglas Maxwell’s latest play, Charlie Sonata. Sadly, it isn’t to be found in its current form at the Lyceum.I’m convinced there’s a great play buried somewhere in Douglas Maxwell’s latest play, Charlie Sonata. Sadly, it isn’t to be found in its current form at the Lyceum.

**(*)(*)(*)Michael Cox, Across the Arts

This brilliantly realised, tender sonata hits every right note.

*****Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide, 03/05/2017

When it is beautiful, it really strikes a chord, but when it starts rambling, it loses the plot entirely.

***(*)(*)Ben Reiss, Plays to See, 03/05/2017

As close to a elegiac modern Greek tragedy as a drunken Saturday night kebab dropped in the bus shelter its resonance and poetic grit remain ferally enchanting.

****(*)John Kennedy, The Edinburgh Reporter, 03/05/2017

From deeply personal roots, Maxwell has conjured up a heart-breaking fantasia about where we are now in a society that does or doesn't look after each other, and made a big, beautiful life-saver of a play.

****(*)Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 03/05/2017

It makes for a dreamlike play that is awkward and idiosyncratic, funny and fascinating.

****(*)Mark Fisher, The Guardian, 03/05/2017

Director Matthew Lenton mashes up a metaphysical world of fairytales and a brutally naturalistic Glasgow of dubious pubs.

****(*)Gareth K Vile, The List, 03/05/2017

There are some deeply felt and emotional moments here, with a bittersweet magic-realist tone that works very well when it cuts through its somewhat messy surroundings.

***(*)(*)Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre, 03/05/2017

There's much to admire, to even love...yet there are disappointments too.

***(*)(*)Paul F Cockburn, Broadway Baby, 04/05/2017

For its moments of drunken beauty, Charlie Sonata is worth the hangover of ambiguity.

****(*)Robert Peacock, The Wee Review, 03/05/2017

Strange, beautiful and haunting.

****(*)Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman, 06/05/2017

Matthew Lenton, the director, amplifies the fable-like material with a fluid, dreamlike staging. The script may be overwritten but it is full of brilliantly energetic set pieces that creep up on us unawares with their emotional subtlety.

****(*)Allan Radcliffe, 05/05/2017

If you need comfort, hope and a thrilling dose of wide-eyed wonder, Charlie Sonata is vivid and essential theatre.

Christine Irvine, Exeunt, 14/05/2017

The structural weaknesses of play and production are exasperating because Charlie Sonata demands to be a better drama than it is.

Mark Brown, Scottish Stage, 19/05/2017

Features about Charlie Sonata

Theatre preview: Charlie Sonata--The Lyceum

John Kennedy, The Edinburgh Reporter, 06/04/2017

Douglas Maxwell and Matthew Lenton--Charlie Sonata

Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 25/04/2017

Where and when?

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh from Saturday April 29, 2017, until Saturday May 13, 2017. More info:

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