Listings: 18 – 23 June

Jun 12 2018 | By More

Edinburgh’s Stages previewed.

It’s a big week for boats as Titanic The Musical hits the Playhouse, The Last Ship floats in to the Festival Theatre and Leith Festival slides in to the docks of Leith.

With Sting as the writing force behind it, it is The Last Ship which is generating the biggest interest, although Southern Light’s production of Titanic the Musical at the beginning of last year showed that there’s still plenty to say – and sing about – the big boat.

Louise Sables and Ian Fallon in The Pride at Assembly Roxy. Pic: Enrique Poves

It’s not so much big boats as their legacy and life after the docks which provides something of a framework for Leith Festival, which has four different productions (one made up of three rehearsed readings) to whet the appetite.

First, however, to Assembly Roxy which is bucking the trend for things nautical with the Scottish premiere of award-winning play The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2008 and ties in with Edinburgh Pride next weekend.

Alternating between 1958 and 2008, The Pride examines changing attitudes to sexuality, looking at intimacy, identity and the courage it takes to be who you really are. Following three complex characters, it shows how differently their lives could have turned out had they been born 50 years earlier or later, and what can be learnt from their various struggles – even today.

The production is the first from new local amateur company Different Works, formed by Steve Griffin and Louise Sables after they met during EMT’s 2017 production of Fiddler on the Roof.

collective defiance

The Last Ship is inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences, showing the collective defiance of a community facing the demise of the shipbuilding industry alongside a poignant and movingly romantic tale of childhood sweethearts and the adults they grew up to become. The current tour garnered five star reviews when it opened in Newcastle.

Matt Corner as young Gideon and Parisa Shahmir as young Meg in The Last Ship. Pic: Pamela Raith

However its a musical which has had to weather a few storms over the years – Jimmy Nail who has been closely involved in the evolution of the musical pulled out earlier this year. So it is tempting to think Sting has chosen wisely in going in with Northern Stage, whose artistic director is the very talented Lorne Campbell, sometime associate director at the Traverse.

It was an audacious idea to make a musical out of the Titanic tragedy, but Maury Yeston and Peter Stone have taken the sensible route of looking at the hopes, dreams and aspirations of her passengers who each boarded with stories and personal ambitions of their own.

They use the ship as a microcosm for humanity, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the Second Class imagine they too can join the lifestyles of the rich and famous, whilst the millionaire Barons of the First Class anticipate legacies lasting forever.

And so to the Leith Festival, where there are some fantastically inventive ideas on offer. At the Biscuit Factory, Sean Quinn’s latest venture, Immerse Productions, has its first outing with an interactive theatre experience: Year Zero.

pre-apocalyptic event

The event is set in a near future where order has broken down and Quinn says: “There is a lack of published information on what would happen in the event of a cold war scenario here in the UK. We have conducted a lot of research over the last few months, we want the audience to believe that they are in the middle of a pre-apocalyptic event.”

While Quinn promises the latest special effects and a team of technicians to support his actors, Liz Hare’s Citadel Arts Group presents nothing more than performed readings of three new plays. Their support comes from the lunchtime Play, Pie and Pint format.

The three plays are Beyond the Ash Lagoon (Weds) about middle aged sisters, one bereaved, who take a holiday cottage in Cornwall and discover that they have to confront their past; Nan and Rita and the holy grail (Thurs) in which two OAPs consider lust and loss; poetry, cakes, carpets bowls and the quirks of Fate; and Field of Opportunity (Fri) in which it’s tattie time again. Chance to get the bairns those new shoes, just as long as the social don’t catch you…

Leith Theatre has now been properly opened up by Hidden Door – and Strange Town Youth Theatre are taking full advantage of the fact with Drew Taylor-Wilson’s epic poetic play Friday October 13th, about community, loss, and the mythology of teenage lives, presented in a physical, choral style. Expect something which is, in equal parts, interrogation room drama, Greek Tragedy and social media feed.

Strange Town are also at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, with Overtime, a co-production with Active Inquiry devised by the cast based on their experiences of work today. Which in many ways is the most intriguing prospect of the week.


Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
The Pride
Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 June 2018. Evenings: 7.30pm.

The Biscuit Factory
4-6 Anderson Place, EH6 5NP
Year Zero
Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16. Tue – Thurs: 7pm; Fri/Sat 7pm & 8.30pm.

The Brunton
Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Phone booking: 0131 665 2240
ELYT: Journey
Friday 15/Saturday 16 June 2018: Evening: 7.30pm.
Morag Alexander’s Annual Show
Saturday 16 – Saturday 23 June 2018: Evenings: 6.30pm, Matinees, Sat/Sun: 1.30pm.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
The Last Ship
Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 June 2018: Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinees Thurs, Sat: 2.30pm

King’s Theatre
2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Cross Currents
Friday 15 June 2018: Evening: 7.30pm.
Funbox Dinosaur Safari
Saturday 16 June 2018: 2pm.

Leith Dockers Club
17–17a Academy Street, EH6 7EE
Drama at the Dockers
Wed 13 – Fri 15 June 2018. Lunchtimes: 12 noon.

Leith Theatre
28-30 Ferry Road, Leith, EH6 4AF
Friday, October 13th
Friday 15/Saturday 16 June 2018: Evenings: 7.30pm.

Out of the Blue Drill Hall
36 Dalmeny St, EH6 8RG
Overtime – Stories of work 2018
Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 June 2018: Evenings: 7pm; Matinee: Sat 3pm.

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Titanic The Musical
Tuesday 12  – Saturday 16 June 2018: Evenings: 7.30pm. Matinees: Thurs , Sat: 2.30pm.

The cast of Titanic The Musical. Pic Scott Rylander


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.