Monday, November 28

Scotland

<strong>An Edinburgh Christmas Carol – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh</strong>
Scotland

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Last performed here in 2019, the Lyceums’ Artistic Director David Greig gives this Edinburgh take on the Dickens classic a well-deserved re-run. And why not, it is an absolute joy to the eyes and ears and will surely be a big hit with audiences old and young alike. The well drilled and very talented cast play out the well-known tale of Scrooge on the cobbles of the old town against one of the undoubted stars of the show, the set; a series of finely painted backdrops of side screens from Edinburgh’s old town, featuring great stone quoins and air scraping tenements, with the castle looming like a constant dark presence overall. The set cleverly mirrors Mr Scrooge’s oppressive domination over the lower elements of Edinburgh, the underpaid clerks, like Bob Cratchit, or poor evicted tena...
<strong>The Snow Queen – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh</strong>
Scotland

The Snow Queen – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Always leave ‘em wanting more.  That seems to be the philosophy behind Scottish Ballet’s latest production, the fairly short but very sweet production of “The Snow Queen”.  A festive show for all the family at just 40 minutes for each of the two acts, with a 25-minute interval, this colourful charming fairy tale is perfectly pitched for all ages to enjoy without the wee ones getting too restless. “The Snow Queen” is a Hans Christian Andersen story on which the film “Frozen” is based, but Scottish Ballet brings the original tale to life with choreography by Christopher Hampson and music by Rimsky-Korsakov played by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra conducted by Jean-Claude Picard.  It tells the story of two sisters, the Snow Queen, (Constance Devernay-Laurence) and the Summer...
<strong>Cell Outs – Traverse Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Cell Outs – Traverse Theatre

Two ex-screws take to intimate interior of the thrust stage of Traverse 2 to provide a thought-provoking insight into the British prison system. Glasshouse Theatre Company’s, Harriet Troup and Ella Church play themselves as graduates cajoled into the prison system on the promise of putting their arts backgrounds to good use in rehabilitation, only to find that barely six weeks later they are ‘lambs to the slaughter’ as fully qualified Prison Officers. In a comedic twist the two friends are posted to prisons within waving distance, one to a male prison, the other a female, covering both bases as it were, and provided rich material for this production. Set against a period of government cut-backs and lay-offs, the play takes us from initial recruitment through the ‘breakthrough gra...
<strong>Redcoat – Traverse Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Redcoat – Traverse Theatre

Lewis Jobson treats us to some extra sparkle, joy, and magic in this exuberantly light-hearted one-man show.  He celebrates his youthful adventures as a Redcoat in Bognor Regis, a world where you are never fully dressed without a smile, and a public altercation with Barney the dinosaur can earn you a verbal warning. If you like singing and clapping along to unashamedly cheesy music, you will certainly love this show.  A group karaoke rendition of I Will Survive is a delightfully guilty pleasure, and there are plenty more of your favourite songs included.  This is a tale of a young adult living away from home for the first time, and Redcoat Lewis reminisces about his crush on The Slushy Guy, cooking pizza on a George Foreman grill, and cheerfully entertaining children at ...
<strong>Vanity Fair – Church Hill Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Vanity Fair – Church Hill Theatre

Vanity Fair is, when it's not inspiring magazine titles, a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, first published serially between 1847 and 1848. It was memorably subtitled "a novel without a hero" due to its protagonist, Becky Sharp, spending its entire duration trying to better her position in life with little care for the repercussions on supposed friends, (richer) husbands or even her own child. Because of this, the story isn't "just" a period costume drama, and any adaptation has to contend with a cynical protagonist doing unlikeable things while still keeping the audience engaged, and possibly even rooting for her. This aspect, which was previously managed so masterfully by a British TV adaptation, was something the twenty-year-old Reese Witherspoon vehicle film (which cast the TV...
<strong>Witch Hunt – Traverse Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Witch Hunt – Traverse Theatre

One could happily have stayed seated and watched this show all over again. Straight away, not tomorrow night (the second and last night in Edinburgh and, sadly, of the entire tour). It had almost everything; music, dance, poetry, slapstick, puppetry, magic, limericks, puns, double-entendre, songs, nudity, but above all… laughter. Abigail Dooley & Emma Edwards did not name their company ‘A & E Comedy’ half-heartedly. There was even some of the most genuine audience participation yet witnessed though in this day and age it’s pretty cathartic to join in with the refrain ‘It’s a shitshow, an asshole rodeo’. A one-woman show with a twist this Ricket and Rattled along from the opening scene - featuring some ill-fitting dentures and malfunctioning hands - through to the last. There’s ...
<strong>Ainadamar – Edinburgh Festival Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Ainadamar – Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Ainadamar (The Fountain of Tears) is a fusion of dance, visual technology, voices and orchestra, knitted together in bold, beautiful, installation-style art. The opening, a monochrome projection of a bull, is instantly intriguing and the intermittent visual representations cast to the shimmering circular curtain continue throughout the opera, lending depth and coherence not afforded by the libretto (David Henry Hwang). The curtain is easily penetrated and moved aside, suggesting power and vulnerability at one and the same time. The chainmail bullring conceals scene changes and reveals the action with the cast free to move between the interior and the exterior. This metaphor translates to traditional Andalucia and its gypsy customs of Flamenco and bullfighting, which Lorca endeavoured t...
<strong>Sister Radio – Traverse Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Sister Radio – Traverse Theatre

43 Years in 80 minutes – Sister Radio has the silence speak volumes. The sinister silence between sisters or the ignorant silence of a nation. Sister Radio skilfully explores themes of familial bonds and displaced families during its short runtime.  The story follows a tale of two Iranian sisters. They live the same routine day in and day out – making coffee, reading tea leaves, and listening to the radio. When the audience is first introduced to them, they are elderly and stuck in an everlasting silence – never talking to one another. Once the global lockdown has taken affect, the sisters are forced to grapple with their past and remember the sins that changed their relationship forever. Often shifting from the present to the past, we see how the sisters initially came to l...
<strong>The Time Machine: A Radical Feminist Reworking – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh</strong>
Scotland

The Time Machine: A Radical Feminist Reworking – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Nearing the end of a one-month tour, Feminist Theatre group Jordan and Skinner bring their own take on the H.G. Wells classic tale to Edinburgh’s Traverse No. 1 Stage. On a well-attended opening night, the first priority is to find a seat amongst the predominantly young and female audience. Not easy - squeezing past tightly drawn calves whilst trying not to fall down the cliff of heavily raked seating ultimately, happily, pays dividends. Note to self – come early next time or bring rope! At the start of the play one of the cast asks the audience, ‘if you had a time machine where would you go?’. An interesting question. ‘You would go to visit your favourite painter, or ancient Greece or Rome maybe, you wouldn’t go to the future, it’s going to be sh*t!’. Yes…. well, set against rising...
<strong>Edinburgh Gang Show 2O22 – Festival Theatre</strong>
Scotland

Edinburgh Gang Show 2O22 – Festival Theatre

The Edinburgh Gang Show is the annual Scouting and girl-guiding variety show of singing, music-playing, dancing and comedy, which has now been happening since 1932, though Edinburgh's first one was in 1960, with the girls first joining in 1967. Covid has affected the continuity of the Edinburgh Gang Show, and not just in the usual ways the arts and other sectors have seen. Three years are a great deal of time in terms of age groups: the usual five sixths of participants being veterans from previous years and one sixth newbies have been reversed, with 100 members being new and only 20 returning, and only 20% of the Junior gang having even seen a previous year's show. Reviewing the artistic endeavours of minors runs the risk of becoming a real-life, non-comedy version of Alfred Molina's ...