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A Christmas Carol

5 Dec 20134 stars

Christopher Fairbank excels as Ebeneezer Scrooge in Andrew Panton and Neil Duffield's stage adap

Director Andrew Panton’s joyously faithful version of Dickens’ Christmas classic could be used as a definition of the word ‘timeless’. That’s sad to note, though, if the message of this show is that greed endures just as much as charity. It’s difficult…

Lyceum Theatre presents a new production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol

6 Nov 2013

New version from Neil Duffield and Andrew Panton promises to be ‘Victorian with a twist’

The role of Scrooge has been played by everyone from Tommy Steele to an animated duck. This year, at Edinburgh’s Lyceum, it’s Christopher Fairbank’s turn to steel his grisly chops and become the meanest bean counter to pull on a fingerless glove.


5 Dec 20134 stars

A loud, lively and lascivious display of circus talent, backed by a dirty bluegrass-funk band

As far removed as you could possibly get from Bobby Roberts and co, the only animal you’re likely to see in Limbo is inked on to a human shoulder. A compendium of classic and contemporary circus feats and trickery are thrown our way across 75…

Interview: panto director Jonathan Kiley on working with John Barrowman and the Krankies

5 Dec 2013

Kiley is directing the trio in the large scale performance of Dick McWhittington

Jonathan Kiley is one very brave man. He is directing John Barrowman and the Krankies in a pantomime. Barrowman, who despite his muscles is camper than a donkey’s sunhat, is the man who challenged Simon Amstell to a ‘gay off’ on Never Mind the…

Fringe performer Will Pickvance returns with piano-meets-panto show PianoMime

5 Dec 2013

Pickvance hopes to reclaim panto from Z-listers and bad pop

Will Pickvance’s Fringe show Anatomy of the Piano matched musical virtuosity with wry humour, as he deconstructed – both metaphorically and literally – his chosen instrument. Returning to Summerhall – a venue that is suited to his intelligent…

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The New Magical Adventures of Pinocchio

5 Dec 20133 stars

The Pavilion's panto is all about the broad comic strokes and traditional, unpretentious fun

While other pantomimes may err on the side of ironic detachment, there’s no such concern at the Pavilion. Pinocchio is all about the broad comic strokes and traditional, unpretentious – and near-the-knuckle – fun. Stephen Purdon takes the titular…

Edinburgh's Christmas - kids' events round-up

26 Nov 2013

From Santa's Grotto to Christmas Crafternoons, there's something to capture the kiddies' imagination

It is, of course, a massive cliché to say that this time of year is all about the children. But when you look at the amazing array of events laid on for the nippers this Christmas and New Year, you know it’s true. Naturally, Santa is going to be…

Preview of 2014: Capital events

26 Nov 2013

The biggest events in Edinburgh in winter/spring 2014, including War Horse and Six Nations Rugby

War Horse The National Theatre production of Michael Morpurgo’s epic tale of a young man and his beloved horse arrives in Edinburgh with expectations as high as they can go. Life-sized puppets of galloping horses, stirring music and perfect…

5 reasons to see ostentatious circus show Limbo

26 Nov 2013

The show features contortions, sword-swallowing, live music and magic

1 The contortionist was a body double for Jim Carrey in The Grinch. Jonathan Nosan is humankind’s answer to the elastic band. He bends backwards, then bends some more. That’s why his stuntman credits also include Big Fish and The Bounty Hunter. 2…

6 of the best: winter theatre highlights in Glasgow and Edinburgh

25 Nov 2013

From traditional panto to queer nativity, there's something for everyone over the festive period

A Gay In A Manger After their re-emergence at last year’s Glasgay! festival, lifestyle gurus Tranny and Roseannah return to Scotland with a Christmas show that promises to reinvent the festive season for adults. Teaming up with intimate performance…

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Steven Houghton, Graham Cole and Wendi Peters star in White Christmas stage adaptation

25 Nov 2013

Stage adap of Irving Berlin's classic Christmas musical features 17-piece orchestra

Some theatres try to stand against the tide of pantomimes: the Traverse pretends that Christmas isnʼt happening, while the Citizens has an adaptation of The Jungle Book. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, however, straddles the divide between the festive…

Interview: musician Sxip Shirey on maximalist circus show Limbo

22 Nov 2013

‘I wanted the sexy music to be actually sexy and I wanted the beautiful music to be beautiful'

Every circus has a ringmaster, but none is quite like Gene ‘Sxip’ Shirey. He turns up in the Limbo Spiegeltent not in traditional red livery and top hat, but in a white suit bedecked with feathers, like some fallen angel. A fallen angel, that is, with…

Interview: performer Judith Williams, star of Hans Christian Andersen adap The Red Shoes

18 Nov 2013

The family friendly stage adaptation dispenses with some of Andersen's more grisly details

Hans Christian Andersen didn’t shy away from the dark side, but even he excelled himself with the macabre punishment in The Red Shoes. Happily for family audiences heading to Tramway this winter, the new stage version, created by Glasgow-based…

Claire Sweeney and John Thomson star in September in the Rain revival

18 Nov 2013

The nostalgic John Godber comedy is a warm memory of old fashioned fun

John Godber was one of the UK’s most performed playwrights during the 1990s: his blend of bittersweet comedy and recognisable characters ensured an enduring popularity: his Bouncers is still being performed at least once a week somewhere in the world.

Interview: Rona Munro discusses her new play, Guilty, starring Louise Ludgate and Lesley Hart

18 Nov 2013

'It gave me an opportunity to write something specifically for two of my favourite actors'

With Ian Rankin recently having made his playwriting debut, why shouldn’t dramatists get in on the crime thriller scene? A new miniature two-hander from Rona Munro, one of Scotland’s most prolific writers for the stage, promises more than just a…

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Edinburgh's Hogmanay unveils 'Scot:lands' New Year's Day events programme

12 Nov 2013

FOUND, Lau, Smallpetitklein and Cora Bissett among the artists involved in the New Year's Day events

The Edinburgh's Hogmanay programme was officially launched today, with details of all the festive happenings in the days leading up to the bells and beyond into 2014. As ever, the organisers have provided a great cultural programme as a reward for those…

The Lion King

7 Nov 20134 stars

Costume and puppet designs steal the show in Julie Taymor's stage production of the Disney film

The Lion King has played to audiences the world over, with different casts bringing the Disney film to life each time. Everywhere it goes, the show is a hit, regardless of who dresses up as Simba, Scar or Pumbaa. And why? Because unusually for a stage…

Invokation of Lady Macbeth from industrial rock outfit Black Sun Drum Korps

6 Nov 2013

Intense, visceral take on Shakespeare inspired by cut-up writing technique

Thanks to the saturation of Macbeths, it’s rare for a production to escape predictable interpretations, yet Invokation of Lady Macbeth cracks the script and lets the darkness escape. Evolving from Drum Major Russell MacEwan’s industrial rock outfit…

Theatre Uncut Edinburgh event set for Summerhall

6 Nov 2013

Short works by Davey Anderson, Kieran Hurley, Tim Price and more

‘Emma Callandar and Hannah Price established Theatre Uncut in response to government cuts to arts budgets in 2010,’ explains Carol Hayes. ‘The aim was to make theatre accessible to everybody regardless of money and resources.’ Inspired by a 2012…

Out of Joint theatre production of contemporary spy thriller Ciphers

6 Nov 2013

UK tour continues for show from Blanche McIntyre and Dawn King

Fresh from winning a UK Theatre Award for her dynamic direction of The Seagull, Blanche McIntyre has been reunited with playwright Dawn King for Out of Joint’s production of Ciphers. Nominally exploring the world of spooks and spies, Cipher has, for…

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Rapture Theatre take Shang-a-Lang musical on tour

6 Nov 2013

Feelgood musical production from the writer of Mamma Mia

Rapture Theatre, under artistic director Michael Emans, has a strong claim to being the hardest-working touring company in Scotland: Shang-a-Lang is their third production this year. Like previous offerings The Sash and The Collection, Shang-a-Lang is…

The Coming Storm

25 Oct 20133 stars

Chaotic and occasionally revealing new show from Forced Entertainment

Forced Entertainment’s new show consists of six actors vying for a single microphone in a free-flowing, chaotic and occasionally revealing interrogation of stories and how we relate to them. In The Coming Storm, tales of shipwrecks, sick relatives…

Interview: theatre maker Chris Goode on verbatim piece Monkey Bars

22 Oct 2013

The show has adults performing kids' testimony on subjects from sweets to domestic violence

‘Something that’s been bugging me for years is that whenever we see children on stage, they’re playing the roles of what adults think children are. I wanted to see what would happen if we just cleared out some space for children themselves to be heard.…

Ansu Kabia and Matthew Kelly star in Ayub Khan-Din's stage adaptation of To Sir, With Love

22 Oct 2013

The play, directed by Mark Babych, promises era-specific honesty as well as warmed hearts all round

The most famous version of To Sir, With Love is Hollywood’s schmaltzy 1967 version, starring Sidney Poitier as a black American teacher trying to bring order to an unruly class of urban schoolkids in Swinging Sixties London. For this adaptation though…

Phillip Breen revives Sam Shepard's True West with actors Eugene O’Hare and Alex Ferns

22 Oct 2013

The play is a story of fraternal rivalry and a meditation on the nature of the creative life

Sam Shepard is, according to director Phillip Breen, ‘arguably our greatest living playwright.’ True West is a powerful, iconic story of fraternal rivalry and a meditation on the nature of the creative life. Breen impressed the Citizens Theatre with his…