Saturday, August 13

Tag: Edinburgh

Jeremy Sassoon’s Mojo: Musicians of Jewish Origin – Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh
Scotland

Jeremy Sassoon’s Mojo: Musicians of Jewish Origin – Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh

Following a one week run in the 2021 Fringe, Jeremy Sassoon's Mojo returns this year for a full run. The show tells the story of a 100 years of Jewish songwriting in 75 minutes, from Irving Berlin to Amy Winehouse and beyond, through covers (and anecdotes) of the most iconic of these songs, with vocals and piano by Sassoon; double bass, electric bass, and vocals Nicola Farnon; and drums by Phil Johnson. To a gentile such as myself, it's an eye-opening experience. Even for the artists whose religion one already knows, this isn't necessarily the lens one is used to view them through, and when grouped together their collective impact is impressive, as Sassoon's medley of classic Christmas songs alone plainly demonstrates. The show also fits into a larger narrative, charting the evolut...
Though This Be Madness – The Studio, Edinburgh
North West

Though This Be Madness – The Studio, Edinburgh

Have you ever been welcomed into and auditorium with cushions and soft toys tucked here and there into the seats, bean bags in the front row, and actively encouraged by the ushers to grab hold of any you may like and hold it throughout (or discreetly displace it to a nearby seat if that’s not for you)? No? Well, this was definitely a first for me too – and a welcome one. There I sat, ready to enjoy the show, a small koala bear on my lap, and a lion peering over the seat in front of me. Quite the cosy setting I must say. This is exactly the sort of atmosphere that the stage set reflects: baby toys, blankets, Pilates balls and a range of other items strewn across the stage (maybe messy is a more accurate term than cosy at this point), Skye Loneragan, playing a heavily sleep-deprived mum,...
Ballet Black – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Ballet Black – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

After their hugely successful first visit to the Scottish capital in 2019, Ballet Black is finally back after their postponed 2020 show. This time, the London-based company is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two brand new pieces: Say It Out Loud and Black Sun. As I type this review, I notice the nail polish I am wearing – a blush pink tone- which is unoriginally called ballet slippers. This helps illustrate the fact that ballet is inherently white. The lack of diversity within ballet dancers and the struggle racialized performers face in the industry led Cassa Pancho, a trained dancer of Trinidadian and British parents, to fund Ballet Black in 2001 as a company to provide role models to young, aspiring black and Asian dancers. Over the course of these 20 years, Ballet Black ha...
Red Ellen – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Red Ellen – Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The author (Caroline Bird) admitted that ‘this play is one interpretation… there are so many Ellens to choose from’ and in this respect the show lost pace and momentum towards the end, lingering too long on Ellen’s disappointments, professional and personal, as she stumbled, a rattling, over-worked medicine cabinet, towards death; the air of exhaustion at the conclusion of the Second World War was captured well by the blazing row between Ellen (Bettrys Jones) and Herbert Morrison (Kevin Lennon), both true and tragic, but overlooked were her incredible feats and achievements as one of less than a handful of women involved in the government and politics of the era. Scant attention was paid to her involvement with the Women’s Suffrage organisation, hardly mentioned was her first position as ...
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

‘But the music keeps playing And won’t let the world get me down.’ These lyrics from the title track of Carole King’s third album ‘Music’, released a mere 11 months after the legendary ‘Tapestry’ in 1971, could easily explain her life and career, neither of which were short of ups and downs. The question was, how on earth could anyone do it justice in just over two hours? The moment the lights went down from her seat at the centrally placed piano, Molly-Grace Cutler (Carole) banished any concerns. The opening lines of ‘So Far Away’ were a hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck/lump-in-the-throat moment. Her voice (whether she’d worked on it or not) was uncannily ‘Carole’, the theatre pin-drop silent. There followed an entertaining, slightly rushed account of her early years; learning the ...
The Da Vinci Code – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

The Da Vinci Code – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

After the curator of the Louvre is brutally murdered, a series of codes left by his body seem to implicate Professor Robert Langdon (Nigel Harman, from EastEnders, Downton Abbey and Blood Diamond) in the murder. Aided by the dead man's grand-daughter Sophie Neveu (Hannah Rose Caton, The Falling, Last Knights, Wizards vs Aliens) and colleague Sir Leigh Teabing (Danny John-Jules from Red Dwarf and Death in Paradise), they must race across time and North West Europe to solve the riddles hidden across time in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and beyond, and find the shocking historical secret before it falls into the hand of flagellating monk and his teacher. The success of the best-selling novel this is based on (it has already sold over 100 million copies and been adapted into a film starr...
Shrek The Musical – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Shrek The Musical – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

The Bohemians Lyric Theatre Company are an amateur outfit based in Edinburgh, and to have even contemplated taking on such a show as Shrek deserves a medal, but then a little research reveals that this company’s been going since 1909. Evidence there’s a fair reservoir of experience to hand is illustrated by the fact they regularly grace The Fringe on top of the yearly output which is… pretty staggering, some years including no less than three different shows. As opening night’s go though, this couldn’t have started worse. Traces of nerves were discernible unaided by the fact the actors’ vocals were constantly at odds with the volume of the band, an issue which persisted but which one imagines will be resolved as the run proceeds. But 25 minutes (or so) in a crackling malfunction manife...
The Rocky Horror Show – Edinburgh King’s Theatre
Scotland

The Rocky Horror Show – Edinburgh King’s Theatre

Sexy, Camp and a real cult classic. Rocky horror has been entertaining us musical weirdos since 1973 and to this day has yet to lose its charm and fun. Before the show even begins, you’ll find yourself surrounded by its fans decked out in suspenders, corsets, feather bowers and tinier shorts than you could have mentally prepared yourself for. Rocky Horror is a sci-fi rock musical all about giving into your own sexual desires and discovering one’s self, but with aliens! These are not the green little Martians we televise but a group of human looking aliens from the distant planet of Transexual Transylvania. They are sexy, strange and at times dangerous.  When newly engaged and conservative couple Brad (Ore Oduba) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) turn up at their door, all hell breaks loo...
Round The Horne – Kings’ Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Round The Horne – Kings’ Theatre, Edinburgh

Shut your eyes and you could’ve been at home next to the wireless any time between 1965 and 1968. Along with the 14.5 million other listeners of the day. Which makes it difficult to write about this show; it was so faithful to the original that instead of judging the set or evaluating the performance(s), one spent most of the time simply wondering - nay marvelling – at the unabashed nature of Round The Horne, its refusal to dodge a risk (spelled r-i-s-q-u-é) and, ultimately, the BBC’s willingness to defend it from its many (historically, theatrically ignorant) detractors. It’s sobering to remind oneself that some of the boundaries of taste and sexuality over which it gaily skipped were, at the time, enshrined in law. Listening to a couple of the shows either side of this production (yo...
Christmas Dinner – Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre
Scotland

Christmas Dinner – Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre

They say a child first encounters theatre at Christmas. This year, the jewel in Edinburgh Theatre’s crown, The Lyceum lends its vast cavernous stage and stunning auditorium to Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, one of Scotland’s and possibly the UK’s best theatre company for Children. Armed with stories galore and a never-ending costume box they set to work to entice another hoard of children into the theatre. Writer Robert Alan Evans has dished up an eccentric celebration of why theatre is so important. In fact, it should come with a content warning: this production may make your child fall in love with theatre. The premise is … simple? Lesley (Elicia Daly), a tired and harangued stagehand has had a terrible past two years. Who hasn’t? Grief stricken, she wants nothing more of her Chri...