Tuesday, June 25

Tag: Festival Theatre

Ballet Black: Heroes – Festival Theatre
Scotland

Ballet Black: Heroes – Festival Theatre

The theatre is packed, and full of anticipation. These artists have something new to say. I have enjoyed many ballet performances in my time, but I have never seen anything like this. Nevertheless, this double bill from Ballet Black is rooted in tradition. It is also technically excellent. This feels brand new, always ballet but with influences from other dance styles, and a dynamic soundtrack that recognises the modern and the classical. Throughout the double bill, the intention of the performers is expressed with a powerful intensity. I am always inspired by the ability of dance, and dancers, to cut through the busyness of words, and get to the guts of a story. If At First, choreographed by Sophie Laplane, is a meditation on power, which is represented by a crown. Initially one da...
Scottish Opera: La traviata – Festival Theatre
Scotland

Scottish Opera: La traviata – Festival Theatre

It is an under-reported fact that the 2001 Baz Luhrman jukebox musical Moulin Rouge is an adaptation of 1853 Verdi opera La Traviata, itself an adaptation of the 1848 novel La Dame aux Camelias, the most famous (and autobiographical) work of Alexandre Dumas Fils (son of the more well-known creator of the Three Musketeers). All three works take place in Paris and, in all three, a famous courtesan (here Hye-Youn Lee as Violetta Valery) with consumption falls in love with an idealistic young man (here Ji-Min Park as Alfredo Germont) with a disapproving father (Giorgio Germont as Phillip Rhodes). She then forsakes all others until convinced to leave him by a father figure, which she does reluctantly with a lie, for an aristocrat (either a Count, a duke, or here Baron Douphol, played by Nichol...
Iain Stirling: Relevant – Festival Theatre
Scotland

Iain Stirling: Relevant – Festival Theatre

And, it turns out, good friend and co-writer Steve Bugeja, so more like a double-bill. The two were responsible for Buffering, a TV series that ran from 2021 to 2023, residing now, jokes Iain, amongst the ads on ITVX. It’s doubtful he’s lost much sleep over its demise, proud possessor of a 15-year career that started with CBBC in 2009, taking in presenting, stand-up, writing and acting. Not to mention the narrator’s role on ITV2’s cerebral masterpiece Love Island. Nor Taskmaster, Loose Women and Gogglebox… however, propelled atop a wave of youthful energy, at the age of 36 he’s beginning to wonder if he’s still ‘relevant’. Bounding on to the stage to warm up the audience, Iain announces Steve, who ponders, following a recent break-up, the topic of ‘the ick’, Dunfermline and an awkward ...
Country Roads: One Night of Country Classics – Festival Theatre
Scotland

Country Roads: One Night of Country Classics – Festival Theatre

“I’m Johnny Cash” says a performer, and we believe him, with his soothing, authoritative voice and stage presence. The line-up also includes dead ringers for Patsy Kline, Kenny Rogers, and the one-and-only Dolly Parton. They aren’t the real superstars, of course, but they put on a hell of a show. Songs include “Ring of Fire” (apparently inspired by a Wetherspoons curry), “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Jolene”, as well as the title song. The performers want us to join in, and gradually, the audience gains confidence and starts singing along. The front-of-house staff were bemused by the number of audience members who went up to the front of the stage, and they spent the second half of the show trying to get people to get people to go back to their seats. There was a party atmosphere in the pac...
Uncanny – I Know What I Saw – Festival Theatre Edinburgh 
Scotland

Uncanny – I Know What I Saw – Festival Theatre Edinburgh 

How have I not heard of Danny Robins?  He clearly has a huge following judging from the whoops and hollers from the near capacity audience when he made his appearance at the start of the show.  Opening with spooky music (uncredited), fog effect and a back projection screen showing a skinny bloke walking through a forest, said bloke’s appearance on stage resulted in an eruption of ecstatic applause, cheers and whistles, prompting my companion to ask, “Who’s that?”  The only reply forthcoming from me was, “No idea!” It turns out that Danny Robins is an erstwhile comedian and comedy writer, now a journalist and podcaster.  His investigations into the paranormal have led to several radio series and podcasts on the subject, including “The Battersea Poltergeist” and “Unca...
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue – Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Scotland

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue – Edinburgh Festival Theatre

For the long-standing listener, a chance to see just exactly how they do it. Twice, as it happens, which makes for a long night but detracts not a jot from the hugely entertaining formula honed and tweaked over the years, the A-List cast (Rory Bremner, Pippa Evans, Milton Jones and Fred MacAuley) and its A-List Humph replacement, Jack Dee. Who, on reflection has been at it for pretty much 15 years now. The show with no apparent end to its stamina was conceived in 1972, a riposte to the wave of ‘panel’ games taking over our screens and wireless units. So that’s what he looks like! The first reveal is the appearance in front of three tourquoise-covered tables of producer Jon Naismith, who performs the oft-belittled role of warm-up bloke with greetings, explanations and the odd cracker of...
The Music Man – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

The Music Man – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Watching Fraser Grant’s punchy Edinburgh revival of this lesser known gem one can begin to see why Meredith Willson’s musical easily won out over West Side Story at Broadway’s Tony awards in 1958. Underneath it’s folksy exterior this entertaining and inventive show with its lively toe-tapping score provides plenty of opportunities for the large cast of SLO to shine. The story is set in 1914 in the sleepy Iowa town of River City. Con man Harold Hill sets his sights on persuading the locals to set up a boys’ band, complete with expensive instruments and uniforms, pocket the money, then skip town before his tone-deaf ignorance is revealed. What the fast-talking spellbinder forgets to factor in is getting his foot stuck on haughty local librarian, Marian Paroo. The book, music and lyric...
Edward Scissorhands – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Edward Scissorhands – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Matthew Bourne's ballet adaptation of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands made its much-anticipated return to the stage on the opening night at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh. Bourne's instinct for selecting iconic stories to adapt aligns perfectly with his choreographic finesse. Originally conceived in 2005 and revived periodically since, Bourne's rendition stars Liam Mower as our protagonist Edward, a tragic figure left incomplete with scissors for hands following his creator's sudden death. Mower's portrayal captures the essence of Johnny Depp's iconic performance, as he takes us along Edward's journey from perplexed isolation to communal acceptance, vibrantly accompanied by an ensemble of archetypes and eccentrics. The ballet unfolds against a backdrop of 1950s suburbia, skilful...
The Collie’s Shed – Festival Theatre Studio
Scotland

The Collie’s Shed – Festival Theatre Studio

This short and powerful play has made an appearance on Edinburgh fringe for the last two years.  The Collie’s Shed now returns for a tour of Scotland’s central belt during the 40th anniversary year of the 1984 miners’ strike.   Written and directed by Shelley Middler, the play focuses on four retired coal miners, all of whom lost their jobs when their colliery, Bilston Glen, closed in the 1980s following a bitter and violent strike which pitted miners against each other and against the police.   Eight actors play four characters, with the action switching from 1984 to present day.  Some of the striking miners of the time were arrested and imprisoned for their part in the violent acts on the picket line, and the narrative begins with news of a review by the Sc...
EDGAS: The Gondoliers – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

EDGAS: The Gondoliers – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Some who might expect a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera to be about as exciting as watching paint dry, might well be persuaded otherwise, as I was, by this visual and musical treat, served up with exuberant brilliance by a company who clearly adore their craft. Undoubtedly one of G&S’s most joyful and brightest of light operas, The Gondoliers is crammed full with catchy toe-tapping songs, colourful characters and a farcical storyline which, to its credit, never takes itself too seriously. The titular boat-pushing Palmieri brothers, played with carefree boyishness by Theo Rankine-Fourdraine and Sebastian Davidson have it all going for them. In the Piazzetta of Venice, the peasant girls are throwing themselves at the peerless pair. Alas the odds are not good, there are four and twenty mai...