Monday, October 18

Scotland

Starstruck – Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Scotland

Starstruck – Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Think of postmodernism and you won’t think of actor and dancer Gene Kelly, though his life and his work exists simultaneously to the peak years of the movement. In 1960, during the movement’s height, Kelly was lured to Paris to bring his trademark moves of the Hollywood movie scene to the world of ballet. The result was his pioneering work, ‘Pas Die Dieux.’ 61 years later, Scottish Ballet and Kelly’s widow Patricia Ward Kelly have brought this stellar piece of work back to the stage for it’s UK debut with a beguiling new twist.  It’s simultaneously lavish, entrancing, and as the kids would say, ‘pretty meta’. Kelly’s original ballet, ‘Pas Die Dieux’ focused on the classical tale of Aphrodite and Zeus and the trials and tribulations that they face on Mount Olympus. In the ballet’s ...
The Woman in Black – Edinburgh King’s Theatre
Scotland

The Woman in Black – Edinburgh King’s Theatre

To put it simply, Susan Hill's 1983 novel The Woman in Black is both a masterpiece and a classic, and we are not only fortunate to have it but also the masterpiece and classic it has inspired... No, not the underrated 1989 TV film starring Harry Potter's dad. No, not the 2012 cliché starring Harry Potter. No, definitely not the execrable 2014 sequel Angel of Death. Why don't you stop saying these stupid things and just let me finish? I am of course referring to Stephen Mallatratt's 1987 stage version, now the second longest-running non-musical play in West End history (after The Mousetrap). In it, and in every other version of the story, a lawyer named Arthur Kipps finds himself in deep marsh-water when he is sent off to foggy Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral and sort the paper...
Grease the Musical – Festival Theatre Edinburgh
Scotland

Grease the Musical – Festival Theatre Edinburgh

This production can be viewed two ways; a successful adaptation combining the best of the original, visceral, 1971 Chicago show and the candyfloss of the 1978 film… or something that falls between the two stools of these contrasting affairs. Undeniably it was lively, but frenetic rather than kinetic. The constant movement made for a spectacle but parts of the script, including many of the caustic, witty, one-liners, were lost in the hustle and bustle, denying the audience a glimpse of the themes so vital when Grease first made its impact. The screen greeting the audience prior to the start promised much, decorated with small black & white TV’s, transistor radios, the most modern of things back in the 50’s, both devices carrying – amidst Elvis and Westerns - the advertising that propel...
Ay Up, It’s Stand-Up: Paddy Young and Adam Flood – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
Scotland

Ay Up, It’s Stand-Up: Paddy Young and Adam Flood – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

When your Fringe comedy show partner in crime goes AWOL in extenuating circumstances, there’s only one thing for it, keep that show on the road come hell or high water. Poor Paddy Young delivers that blow with comic flourish and the audience isn’t to upset when he promises not one but two stand-in stand-ups. Keeping to the theme of Northern comics, Tom Little is the perfect tonic. With only about 15 minutes to keep us entertained, he dives straight into some cracking observational humour, remarking ‘there’s no time to connect it’ as he dives from his fear of a watermelon-based diet to the absolute audacity of dolphins. The humour is clever and strikes an amusing surrealist approach thanks to the time constrictions.  Little is brilliantly witty, and it’s a shame that the audience m...
Carmilla – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

Carmilla – Edinburgh Fringe

Carmilla, adapted and directed by Laura J Harris from Le Fanu’s original Gothic novella, is a tale of love, decorum, passion and vampires. The adaptation focuses on and enhances the LGBTQIA+ elements of the story, to create a piece of theatre which is haunting, tragic and wonderfully terrifying. The play opens with a dark and creepy stage with the background of a very Gothic castle. We see Dr Hesselius creeping across the stage with a lantern, towards a table holding an old book, glass of red wine and a delicate porcelain teacup. The good doctor is nearing the end of his life, and leafing through his casebook as he reflects on whether his future may lie in hell, or if the souls he saved were enough to gain passage to heaven. As he ruminates on what is to come, Laura rises from the b...
The Day the Devil Came to Tea – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

The Day the Devil Came to Tea – Edinburgh Fringe

Presented by Mermaids, ‘The Day the Devil Came to Tea’ (written by Charles Vivian) is a clever play with just enough darkness to be chilling but well balanced with an occasional light touch of humour. Three flatmates are in the aftermath of bereavement as the fourth flatmate, Phil, died two months ago. His death has triggered changes in each person’s life. One day, the Devil arrives, ingratiates himself into their flat and demands an Earl Grey with five sugars. He announces that by the time he has finished his drink, one of the three will be coming with him....and if they can’t decide which one, he will make the decision. (Rather an extreme version of the parachute debate!) Sarah (Molly Luckhurst), Tanya (Isabella Zeff) and Caroline (Catriona Ferguson) are initially adamant that ...
Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies – Edinburgh Fringe

Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies, written and performed by Jessica Sherr, and directed by Karen Carpenter relates the turbulent career of Bette Davis against the background of her relationship with her parents, her four marriages and numerous affairs, and bitter feuds with other actresses in Hollywood. The set is busy, filled with pictures, memorabilia, dresses and a half drunk bottle of whisky. From the moment Sherr bursts onto the stage she embodies Davis and her vibrant personality through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards which loop around to relate her entire life in miniature. It is the night of Vivian Leigh’s Oscar win for Gone with the Wind, and Bette Davis has left the ceremony in a temper. Using the excuse of needing to be up early to begin filming for Juarez in order ...
Friend (The One With Gunther) – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

Friend (The One With Gunther) – Edinburgh Fringe

70 minutes to recap Friends? Starting with Rachel’s wedding day catastrophe and then ending with the one where they all leave? Everyone’s favourite coffee shop manager, Gunther (Brendan Murphy) gives it his best shot. There’s absolutely no stone unturned, from Janice to Joey (yes, *that* spin off). Murphy is a tour de force, leaping back and forth over the famous sofa, changing from Richard Burke to Janice quicker than you can say ‘we were on a break’, and spitting quote after quote with hilarious impressions at lightning speed. The stamina and versatility on show from Murphy is remarkable. Supported by impressive lights and sound cues, it’s only the setting of the venue that leaves it feeling slightly amateurish. Is it a homage, a critique, a satire, a celebration? We’re not su...
The Nobodies – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

The Nobodies – Edinburgh Fringe

Amy Guyler’s cleverly constructed political drama is set against the backdrop of cuts in the NHS and the ominous shadow of privatisation. Three young friends - Aaron (David Angland), Curtis (Joseph Reed) and Rhea (Lucy Simpson) are brought together by their shared passion to save their local NHS hospital and heal the fractured community that they are a part of. A piece of vital information is disclosed to the three friends and this in turn sparks a buzz of palpable revolution in the air - events start to dramatically overtake all three characters and their shared story. Directed with finesse by Sam Edmunds and Vikesh Godhwani, this is a powerful piece of theatre that says a lot about society and how people can make themselves heard and understood. It is also a play about change, whethe...
Alex – Or, What Happened on the Train to London – Edinburgh Fringe
Scotland

Alex – Or, What Happened on the Train to London – Edinburgh Fringe

Alex – Or, What Happened on the Train to London - Edinburgh Fringe Alex – Or, What Happened on the Train to London, is a new musical about an encounter a group of strangers have on a train to London. Dave is a student on his way to university in London, Alex is a fed-up student whose future career in childcare has become uninspiring, Marc has recently been jilted by his fiancée, Kate is a nervous young mother, and Emma is making her first major journey. Together with Rob, the train conductor, and an abandoned briefcase, these strangers battle with their own uncertainty in a fun musical set entirely in a single train carriage. The set consists of six chairs with the small band of musicians set off to the side. When the musical opens the abandoned briefcase sits ominously on one of th...