The Arabian Nights has everything you want from a Christmas show (4 stars)

The Arabian Nights has everything you want from a Christmas show

credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

A story within a story within a story . . . basically Inception, but with music and sparkle

A magic carpet ride of enchanting stories, loveable characters, and plenty of silliness. This year's Lyceum Christmas show takes audiences out from the Edinburgh cold and transports them to the calamitous, sweltering heat of a bazaar in Baghdad. At first the heat seems to have depleted the actors' energy, but as the pace picks up so too does their volume and zeal. Songs and dance routines are welcomed with clapping from the stalls, and two street dogs (wonderfully manipulated puppets) do well to keep even the youngest of children entertained, darting round the balconies, and exciting shrieks of laughter with their base humour and bodily functions.

There's everything you could want from a Christmas show: catchy songs, shimmering costumes, cross-dressing genies, a child-hating villain and plenty of laughs (for adults and children). An incredible number of stories are covered within the main plot, from the well-known Aladdin to a chess-playing monkey. Through the skill of the actors, and the genius of the sets, it's a play guaranteed to transport audiences to exotic lands, leaving them warmed through as the spinning stops and they touch back down in reality.

Reviewed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

The Arabian Nights

Family show featuring the familiar faces of Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba, along with mysterious genies, magic carpets, talking birds, and a whole host of heroes and villains.