For God and country, Mary and Knox battle

Jamie Sives as John Knox and Rona Morison as Mary Stuart in St Giles' Cathedral.
Jamie Sives as John Knox and Rona Morison as Mary Stuart in St Giles' Cathedral.
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DAVID Greig, artistic director of the Royal Lyceum makes his Lyceum directorial debut this week with the World Premiere of Linda McLean’s Glory on Earth, starring Rona Morison as Mary, Queen of Scots and Jamie Sives as John Knox.

It’s Tuesday, 19th August, 1561, 9am. Through the fog a ship arrives in Leith docks, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots steps ashore. She is 19 and on her young shoulders rests 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.

With initial inspiration taken from four meetings recorded in Knox’ History of the Reformation, Glory on Earth follows the arrival of Mary and her ladies in waiting in Edinburgh, her relationship with Knox, the leader of the Reformation in Scotland, and the events that led to her execution.

Glory on Earth is a new commission by multi-award winning McLean, whose work is characterised by poetry, mystery, and great emotional depth. She says, “I can honestly say there isn’t a commission that’s made me happier in a very long time.

“Delving into the lives of John Knox and Mary, Queen of Scots leaves me at turns warmly compassionate and fiercely outraged. It’s an astonishing story.”

The ladies in waiting, all also named Mary, are played by Christina Gordon, Christie Gowans, Kirsty Eila McIntyre, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Shannon Swan, and Fiona Wood.

Glory on Earth, Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, until 10 June, 7.30pm (matinees 2pm), £13.50-£30.50, 0131-248 4848