Edinburgh Am Dram Rising

May 14 2014 | By More

Three shows mark busy week

Fans of Edinburgh’s amateur theatre and musical scene are having a thrillingly diverse week of it, with three productions opening tonight and tomorrow.

The cast of Encore's Me and My Gal. Photo © Encore

The cast of Encore’s Me and My Girl. Photo © Encore

Opening first, at 7pm Wednesday, is the UK amateur premiere of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County from the Grads at Adam House. Just half an hour later, at 7.30pm, Encore take a more musical walk along to Musselburgh with Me and My Girl at the Brunton.

Then, opening on Thursday at 7.30pm, Leitheatre stage Takin’ Over the Asylum at the new Studio at the Festival Theatre. All the productions run to Saturday (full listings below).

David Grimes is back on direction duties for the Grads. August: Osage County won Tracy Letts the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, having premiered in at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago the previous year.

Darkly comic, it follows life for the large Weston family which unexpectedly reunites in Oklahoma after their father disappears. The home explodes in a maelstrom of familial lies and unsettling secrets, which are revealed under the watchful eye of the drug addled mother who is intent on seeing just how much truth her family can stand. A film version, directed by John Wells, was released last year.

Encore, the East Lothian-based amateur theatre company run by Peter and Heather Antonelli, has jumped off from the Deadwood stage of last year’s Calamity Jane and is strutting on down the Lambeth Walk.

New-found life of wealth and ermine

Me and My Girl is the story of good old Cockney lad Bill Snibson (Steve McDonald), a barrow boy who discovers he is the next Earl of Hareford. His girl is Sally (Alison Henry) – who thinks she might not fit into his new-found life of wealth and ermine as he is forced into learning how to be a proper gent in order to gain his inheritance.

Peter Antonelli directs and Heather Antonelli is on choreographer duties in a production packed with familiar hits from Lambeth Walk to Leaning on a Lamppost and The Sun Has Got His Hat On – although one trusts not the original 1930s version of the latter.

Leitheatre is the first amateur company to use the new Studio at the Festival Theatre for a production. Starting out as a 1990s television sit-com, Donna Franceschild’s Takin’ over the Asylum starred Ken Stott and provided something of a breakthrough for a young David Tennant.

The stage adaptation, updated by Franceschild to a contemporary world of mobile phones, the internet and zillions of channels of digital television, was premiered at the Glasgow Citizens in 2013 and toured to the Lyceum.

It follows the story of ‘Ready Eddie’ McKenna, Soul Survivor and replacement double-glazing salesman, who sets out to re-launch a defunct hospital radio station in a psychiatric unit. Another piece of dark comedy, the production has been directed by Matt Mason and stars Callum Barbour as Campbell, the role created by David Tennant.


August: Osage County
Adam House, 3 Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1HR
14 – 17 May 2014. Daily, 7pm.
Details at www.egtg.co.uk
Purchase tickets here: Grads’ online ticket purchase page
Facebook page: www.facebook.co.uk.

Me and My Girl
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA
14 – 17 May 2014. Daily, 7pm.
Detail at: www.thebrunton.co.uk/
Tickets from the Brunton box office in person or phone: 0131 665 2240.

Takin’ over the Asylum
Studio Theatre, Potterrow
15-17 May, 7.30pm.
Tickets from: www.edtheatres.com/Asylum
Leitheatre website: www.leitheatre.com
Leitheatre facebook page: www.facebook.com/Leitheatre


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