Listings and Preview Mon 11 – Sun 17 March 2024

Mar 13 2024 | By More

What is on Edinburgh’s stages this week?

There is a full card of theatre this week with plenty to attract the eye from both local and touring companies with plays by great contemporary playwrights, as well a few one-off nights.

The two big shows by Edinburgh-based companies are at the Bedlam, where the EUTC have what could be a very special production of Mark Ravenhill’s 2001 play Mother Clap’s Molly House (Wed – Sat: tickets), and down at Portobello and Joppa Parish Church Hall, where the PJPC Drama Group have Lerner & Loewe’s 1947 musical Brigadoon (Wed – Sat: tickets).

A scene from Blue Beard the Lycuem. Pic: Steve Tanner

Starting off in Joppa for the only musical theatre opening of the week, although of course Hamilton continues at the Festival Theatre until April (our five star review is here, complete with tips on how to get tickets to this sold-out run), it is good to see the PJPC Drama Group back on its feet post-Lockdown.

Brigadoon is Lerner & Loewe’s tale of two Americans who get lost in the Highlands and discover more than they expected when they stumble on the mythical village that appears for only one day in every 100 years. Of course it’s Almost Like Being in Love as tourist Tommy and Brigadoon lass Fiona get it on amidst the heather…

And so to the straight theatre – and what a showing there is.

Besides the Ravenhill, the Tron Theatre Company has the Scottish premiere of Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone at the Traverse (Wed – Sat: tickets); Emma Rice’s take on Blue Beard arrives at the Lyceum (Tue 12 – Sat 30: tickets) and Imogen Stirling’s debut script Starving about artist and campaigner for Scottish independence Wendy Wood is this week’s lunchtime theatre offering at the Traverse (Tue – Sat: tickets).

Then local youngsters from the StrangeTown Young Company are at the Storytelling Centre for one performance only of You Don’t Know This Yet by Katie Foster (Thurs: tickets). Also on for one performance only, Arts La’Olam are at the Roxy with Mama Afrika (Thurs: tickets), about iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba.

Anne Kidd, Joanna Tope, Irene MacDougall and Blythe Duff in Escaped Alone at the Traverse Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone concerns three friends who meet for a chat in the garden. A neighbour is invited in and as darker secrets emerge, their afternoon is punctured by flashes of catastrophe.

If the prospect of a new Churchill script was not enough, director Joanna Bowman has the utterly stellar cast of Anne Kidd, Joanna Tope, Irene MacDougall and Blythe Duff at her disposal, any of whom you would pay the ticket price to see. Unsurprisingly it arrives with a clutch of five-star accolades in its mitts.

Blue Beard is adapted and directed by Emma Rice for her Wise Children company, and is a co-production with a number of theatres including the Lyceum. It is, as Rice has said, a somewhat relevant take on the original.

“Not wanting to add to the number of dead women that are scattered throughout our literature and media, I have always avoided the gruesome tale of Blue Beard,” she says. “However, haunted by the regular and painful chime of murdered women in the news, I woke one morning with the story knocking powerfully at my dreams.

unlocked the door

“I pulled my copy from the shelves and with some trepidation, unlocked the door of Blue Beard’s castle. What I found hidden in those pages was a story not about dead women but about vibrant, flawed, joyful living ones. Here was a story about female friendship, intellect and survival.

“It is also a story in which, by working together, the aggressor is vanquished. And this is precisely why I want to tell Blue Beard now. In my middle years, I want to join forces with those I love and take down the ones who threaten us.

“I, for one, have had enough, and for Zara Aleena, Jack Taylor, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman, Daniel Whitworth, Sarah Everard and the thousands and thousands of others who have died at the hands of violent men – Blue Beard is my defiant and hopeful answer.”

Starving has another well-kent actress in Isabella Jarrett, as Wendy Wood on the fifth day of her hunger strike with the hallucinations beginning to kick in. Hugh has already reviewed the show, and it seems one to bag a ticket for asap: ★★★★☆ Nutritious.

Mother Clap’s Molly House

For the  EUTC’s take on Mother Clap’s Molly House, director Conor O’Cuinn received the Edinburgh University’s English Literature Play Award, which sponsors “a production of a play of literary interest, featuring department students in its cast and production crew”.

The play is a black comedy with songs that celebrates the diversity of human sexuality. It is set partly in London of the 18th century, where the molly house of Mother Clap caters to the gay subculture, and partly in 2001, where a group of wealthy gay men are preparing the drugs and video cameras for a sex party.

Producer Isabella Caron described the play to Æ as: “an exploration of our need to form families and a fascinating insight into a hidden chapter in London’s history.” She added: “This is such an exciting, fresh and ambitious project that we hope will bring in audiences from across Edinburgh. In essence, it is a celebration of queer relationships, music, love and history.”

Mama Afrika

Mama Afrika at the Roxy marks 30 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa. Zimbabwean born singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka tells the remarkable life story of Miriam Makeba in a script by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and directed by Tonia Daley-Campbell.

Chronicling a life blighted by hardship, tragedy and struggle, the play features many of Makeba’s best-loved songs including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues, songs which embody an irrepressible spirit and integrity and which earned her legendary status.

Elsewhere, well, it is good to have Edinburgh magician Kevin Quantum back on Scottish soil after his exploits at the Adelaide Fringe. Hopefully he will be over the jet lag by Saturday when he is back at the Waldorf Astoria for the opening show of the season of Edinburgh Magic (Sat: tickets).

And finally the redoubtable opera impresario Ellen Kent is back at the Playhouse with her hugely popular offerings. This current tour features the Ukrainian Opera & Ballet Theatre Kyiv with Carmen (Weds: tickets) and Madama Butterfly (Thurs: tickets).


Click on the name of the show or the Book here link to go to its ticketing site:

Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU

Mama Afrika (Arts La’Olam)
Thurs 14 March 2024.
Evening: 7.30pm. (Upstairs)
Zimbabwean born singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka tells the remarkable life story of an iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba. The show charts her rise from the townships of Johannesburg to global star, tells her story of being forced into exile for her stand against apartheid and marginalised for championing Black rights. Book here.

Bedlam Theatre
11B Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ.
Mother Clap’s Molly House (EUTC)
Wed 13 – Sat 16 March 2024.
Evenings: 7.30pm.
It’s London 1726, and Mrs. Tull’s got problems. The whores are giving her a hard time, a man in a dress is looking for a job, her husband has a roving eye and the apprentice boy keeps disappearing for ‘a wander’. Mark Ravenhill’s play skips between the eighteenth century and 2001, where a group of wealthy gay men are preparing the drugs and video cameras for a sex party. Book here.

Church Hill Theatre
33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Run ends – Sat 27 April 2024
Mon – Sat: 7.30pm; Matinees Thurs, Sat: 2.30pm (+Tue 3 April)
Æ Review: ★★★★★ The storm’s eye.
The story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. Book here.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Blue Beard
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice.
Tue 12 – Sat 30  March2024
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Mats Weds & Sat: 2.30pm.
Blue Beard the Magician makes hearts flutter and pupils dilate. With a wink, a stroke and a flick – things just seem to vanish. Cards, coins, scarves… and women.  Emma Rice brings her own brand of theatrical wonder to this most beguiling and disturbing of tales. With her signature sleight of hand, Blue Beard explores curiosity and consent, violence and vengeance – all through an intoxicating lens of music, wit and tender truth. Book here.

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014

Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier
Mon 11 March 2024
Evening: 8pm.
At a point in our evolution when it seems as if we’re sleepwalking into a world where humans might be redundant, and much of what we do can be done better and more efficiently by machines, what better time to celebrate our own flawed humanity. Book here .

Ellen Kent: Carmen
Wed 13 March 2024
Evening: 7.30pm
Senbla presents Opera International’s award-winning Ellen Kent production featuring the Ukrainian Opera & Ballet Theatre Kyiv with international soloists, highly-praised chorus and full orchestra. An evening of passion, sexual jealousy, death and unforgettable arias. Book here.

Ellen Kent: Madama Butterfly
Thurs 14 March 2024
Evening: 7.30pm
Back by overwhelming public demand, this award-winning Opera returns in a new production with exquisite sets including a spectacular Japanese garden and fabulous costumes including antique wedding kimonos from Japan. Book here.

Professor Brian Cox – Horizons: A 21st Century Space Odyssey
Fri 15 March 2024
Evening: 7.30pm.
What is the nature of space and time? How did life begin, how rare might it be and what is the significance of life in the Cosmos? What does it mean to live a small, finite life in a vast, eternal Universe? Book here.

Portobello and Joppa Parish Church Hall
1a Brunstane Road North, Joppa, EH15 2DL
Brigadoon (PJDG)
Wed 13 – Sat 16 March 2024
Evenings: 7.30pm.
The Portobello and Joppa Drama Group with Lerner & Loewe’s tale of two Americans who get lost in the Highlands of Scotland and discover more than they expected. Book here.

Scottish Storytelling Centre
43-45 High St, EH1 1SR. Phone booking: 0131 556 9579
You Don’t Know This Yet (Strangetown Young Company)
Thurs 14 March 2024
Evening: 7.30pm.
We don’t know what we don’t know. Emily knows she failed first year, and things have to change. Sarah knows she has a terminal diagnosis, but is going to university anyway. They don’t know they’ll meet, and they don’t know what they’ll mean to each other. Book here.

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404

Starving (PPP)
Tue 12 – Sat 16 Mar 2024
Daily: 1pm (Trav 2).
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Nutritious
It’s 1972 and Wendy Wood is on the fifth day of her hunger strike. As the hunger pains and hallucinations kick in, her world collides with that of insecure Freya in 2021, who is starving for something to believe in. The two drink, dance and debate the question of how to find your freedom… fight or flight? Starving is a fiercely funny drama about writing your own legend, inspired by the life of Scottish activist Wendy Wood. Book here.

Escaped Alone
Wed 13 – Sat 16 Mar 2024
Evenings: 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2pm (Trav 1).
I’m walking down the street and there’s a door in the fence open and inside there are three women I’ve seen before. Three friends meet for a chat in the garden. A neighbour is invited in and as darker secrets emerge, their afternoon is punctured by flashes of catastrophe. The Tron Theatre Company with the Scottish premiere of Caryl Churchill’s play. Book here.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, the Caledonian
Princes Street, EH1 2AB.
Edinburgh Magic
Sat 16 March 2024
Saturday evening: 6pm (Versailles Suite)
Æ Review: ★★★★☆ Rosy
Kevin Quantum performs an hour of magic that’s fooled some of the most brilliant and creative people ever to have lived, often times with strong links to Edinburgh and Scotland. An elegant, intimate and quite astonishing evening of magic, mystery and wonder in one of Edinburgh’s most historic and enchanting hotels. Book here.


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