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Glory on Earth

Tuesday, 19 August, 1561, 9am. Read more …

Through the fog a ship arrives in Leith docks, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots steps ashore. She is 18 and on her young shoulders rest the hopes of the Catholic establishment of Europe.

The Nation that receives her has just outlawed her church and its practices. Its leader is the radical cleric and protestant reformer, John Knox. Both believe themselves ordained by God. Both believe themselves beloved by their people. Both were exiled and returned home… but only one can make Scotland their own.

The critical consensus

What is missing may be as significant as what we are given.

***(*)(*)Bill Dunlop, Edinburgh Guide, 24/05/2017

Glory on Earth may not be a perfect work, but we would do well to listen to its message.

***(*)(*)Ben Reiss, Plays to See, 24/05/2017

Extreme care has been lavished on the Lyceum’s Glory on Earth. It has a clarity to its storytelling and performances, backed up by some excellent staging, but never engages the heart or mind as fully as it promises.

***(*)(*)Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre, 24/05/2017

In a contemporary landscape where the tragic results of such blinkered religious intolerance and abuse of male privilege are more blatantly apparent than ever, this is a story crying out to be told.

****(*)Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 24/05/2017

It's a word-heavy play, however, and while that's not a bad thing in itself, it rendered some of the direction a bit superfluous.

****(*)Simon Thompson, What's On Stage, 24/05/2017

Rona Morison is a smart, vivacious and quick-witted queen in Linda McLean’s poetic historical drama, directed by David Greig.

****(*)Mark Fisher, The Guardian, 24/05/2017

Dramatically the most effective scene remains the one-on-one meeting between Mary and Knox, without any witnesses; a reminder of how dialogue and acting alone can still hit the spot without need for other theatrical tricks.

****(*)Paul F Cockburn, Broadway Baby, 25/05/2017

The message is about the timeless struggle for life, love, joy and young female energy, in a world that too often crushes them all; and it could hardly be presented with more beauty, resonance or passion.

****(*)Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman, 27/05/2017

It is a production of well-realised moments and rather less satisfying in its overarching action.

***(*)(*)Allan Radcliffe, 25/05/2017

Moments of scenographic brilliance, McLean's intelligent scripting of the key confrontations and the hints towards the ongoing battle between temporal and spiritual authority ensure that the production offers an insight into both past conflicts and the potential of historical theatre.

***(*)(*)Gareth K Vile, The List, 30/05/2017

The disappointing consequence of many of the director’s choices is that the piece rarely achieves the moral weight required by the history it depicts. It is, as English theatre critic Kenneth Tynan wrote in a very different context, frivolous, even when it is being serious.

Mark Brown, Scottish Stage, 31/05/2017

Features about Glory on Earth

Postman turned actor to play John Knox on stage.

Brian Ferguson, The Scotsman, 18/04/2017

Theatre preview: Glory on Earth--The Lyceum

John Kennedy, The Edinburgh Reporter, 08/05/2017

Theatre preview: Behind the scenes at the Lyceum's Mary, Queen of Scots play.

Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman, 14/05/2017

Where and when?

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh from Saturday May 20, 2017, until Saturday June 10, 2017. More info:

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