Listings Jan 31 – Feb 7

February 1, 2016 | By More

Listings for week Sunday 31 January – Sunday 7 February 2016:

Things are bursting into  life on Edinburgh’s stages this week, with a couple of interesting amateur shows, the return of the James Plays and the annual Manipulate Festival taking pride of place.

It’s also the final week of the The Weir – do go see if you have a chance – the return of a staple in the Christie canon to the King’s with A Murder Is Announced and the beginning of an eight-week UK tour from the The Russian State Ballet of Siberia at the Playhouse.

Francisca Morton. Photo: Faux Theatre

Francisca Morton in Torn, which returns to the Manipulate festival where it had its first outing as a snapshot work-in-progress. Photo: Faux Theatre

The two amateur shows are at the Bedlam and the Roxy. At the Bedlam, the EUTC is staging The Pillowman from Martin McDonagh – who wrote The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lieutenant of Inishmore – with direction from the inventive Emily Aboud – whose Equus was very well received.

The recently formed Beam Theatre get their second outing at the Roxy with the intriguingly titled In Love and Warcraft. It’s an adventurous choice, diving into online worlds as well as real life, so there are opportunities for some adventurous staging.

Manipulate is going from strength to strength and really is the place to see innovative new Scottish and international work from performers of what you might call “visual theatre”. Which is not to say that all theatre is not visual, but that the visual element is much more prevalent here.

The arrival of the James Plays during the 2014 EIF, just before the independence referendum, was fascinating timing and put a particular slant on the production from the National Theatre of Scotland. The return of the trilogy – with two opportunities to see all three plays in a day on Saturdays 6 and 13 – provides the chance to reappraise their worth.

Rona Munro has apparently done a pretty extensive rewrite on James II, which was very much the weakest element of the whole sequence. So here’s hoping for a much more even experience as the production sets off on a world tour.

As usual, click on the name of the show to go to its ticketing site.

Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
In Love and Warcraft
Thurs 4-Sat 6: 7.30pm.
Beam Theatre take on Madhuri Shekar’s award-winning play about gamer girl, college senior and confirmed virgin, Evie, who has life figured. It’s all about strategies, game plans and not taking stupid risks… Isn’t it?
Æ verdict:  ★★★☆☆ Fulfilling
“Satisfying, relevant and often very funny indeed”, says Thom.

Bedlam Theatre
11b Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ
The Pillowman
Tue 2-Sat 6: 7.30pm.
Emily Aboud directs Martin McDonagh’s play about a writer who is being questioned by two detectives in a totalitarian state. His stories resemble a recent group of child murders. Soon fact and fiction are far from distinct.
Æ verdict: ★★★☆☆ Ambitious
“Spirited and clever… with the requisite cartoon violence”, says Hugh.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
The James Plays
Wed 3-Sat 13
Rona Munro’s great trilogy of plays about the first three Kings James of Scotland returns. Read Hugh’s thoughts on the original trilogy here: ★★★★☆ Event theatre.
James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock
Wed 3: 7.30pm; Sat 6: 12pm,  Wed 10: 7.30pm; Thu 11: 2.30pm; Sat 13 at 12pm.
★★★★☆ brings history into sharp focus” said Hugh.
James II: Day of The Innocents
Thu 4: 7.30pm; Sat 6: 4pm; Thu 11: 7.30pm; Sat 13: 4pm.
★★★☆☆ Quieter and more brooding than the plays which bookend it“, we said of the original production. Munro has extensively rewritten this part of the trilogy.
James III: The True Mirror
Fri 5: 7.30pm; Sat 6: 8.15pm; Fri 12: 7.30pm; Sat 13: 8.15pm.
Æ’s thoughts on the original production: “★★★★☆ Cheerfully modern – and far more upbeat than its ostensibly tragic material would have suggested“.

King’s Theatre
2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced
Mon 1-Sat 6.
Daily: 7.30pm, matinees: Wed, Sat: 2.30pm.
“A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October the thirteenth, at little Paddocks – at six-thirty p.m.” The Middle Ground Theatre Company brings its tour of the Christie classic, with Judy Cornwell as Miss Marple and Diane Fletcher as Letitia Blacklock.
Æ verdict: ★★★★☆ There’ll be a murder
“The perfect tonic for a cold, winter night”, says Martin.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 48488
The Weir
Tue 19 Jan – Sat 6 Feb.
Daily Tue-Sat: 7.30pm. Matinees Wed, Sat: 2pm
Amanda Gaughan directs Conor McPherson’s award winning tale set in Brendan’s Bar in County Leitrim. When a young woman arrives from Dublin, the fellas impress her with their local ghost stories – but as the night draws in, Valerie will share a haunting tale of her own.
Æ verdict: ★★★★☆ Quietly affecting
“Thought-provoking, absorbing and impeccably acted”, says Hugh.

Playhouse
18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
The Russian State Ballet of Siberia is touring the UK with a repertoire of five classic ballets.
The Snow Maiden
Tue 2: 7.30pm.
This seasonal sparkler follows the Snow Maiden as she dances into the human world.
Giselle
Wed 3: 7.30pm.
A chilling and heart-rending tale of love, treachery and forgiveness from beyond the grave.
The Sleeping Beauty
Thurs 4: 7.30pm.
The classic story of love and innocence, mystery and magic set to Tchaikovsky’s sublime score.
Swan Lake
Fri 5: 7.30pm.
The Prince falls for a swan – but can he tell which one? – in the most iconic ballet of them all.
The Nutcracker
Sat 6: 2.30pm, 7.30pm.
A Christmas party, a nutcracker, a rat king and another great Tchaikovsky score.

Traverse
10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Manipulate Festival
Fri 29 Jan-Sat 6 Feb: various times.
In a programme designed to entertain, inspire and intrigue, the ninth manipulate festival presents performances from award-winning artists and theatre companies from across the world. Puppet Animation Scotland’s annual celebration of innovative international visual theatre and animated film.

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