Listings: Mon 13 – Sun 19 November 2023

Nov 14 2023 | By More

What’s on Edinburgh’s stages this week?

There’s big news from the amateur scene this week with the Edinburgh Gang Show, Saughtonhall Drama Group, Citadel Arts group and a new musical under the auspices of Bare Productions all on stage.

First up, though, is a reminder that this week is your last chance to fly off with Disney’s Aladdin at the Playhouse (tickets). It’s had plenty of five star write-ups, although we said “★★★★☆ Spectacular“, noting that the acting will probably bed in, over the 15 month tour of the show. It’s still a corker of a night out though, which will keep everyone in the family happy.

Louise Hunter and Andy Johnston. Co-directors of Edinburgh Gang Show 2023

So, to those amateur shows. There’s plenty to say on each of them so hold on tight and away we go…

The Edinburgh Gang Show is the big show in town, playing the Festival theatre Tuesday to Saturday (tickets). It’s usually a fine feast of a production, well worth the price of admission even if you are not part of the Scout movement or related to one of the hundreds of youngsters on stage. Do remember it is a 7pm start though!

This year’s show sees double directors for the first time. After directing solo for 18 productions, Andy Johnston – who first performed in the show as a Cub Scout in 1980 – is joined at the helm by Louise Hunter, who will be EGS’s first female director.

breath of fresh air

Johnston told Æ: “Louise has brought a breath of fresh air into the whole production process and an irrepressible energy to the rehearsals – even I am exhausted after one of her rehearsals!

“It is an amazing fact that Louise is now the fourth person in a row to direct the Edinburgh Gang Show who started off as a kid in the show, a record that stretches all the way back to 1973. It is an even more unbelievable fact that in 62 years she is the first woman to direct the show.

“Louise and I both think that if we are doing our job correctly, the next director of the show could very well be taking part in this show, which is everything Gang Show is about.”

Louise Hunter, who first appeared in the show as a Brownie in 2002 before joining the main gang in 2003, has worked with the production team for several years, first as a production assistant and then assistant director.

“It was such an honour to be asked to be a Director of the Edinburgh Gang Show,” she says. “I have so many great memories and friendships from my time in the Gang and I want to use my new role to make sure that the young people in the gang today get these same opportunities.”

Ghosts of North Leith

Down in Leith, the Citadel Arts Group is delving into the history of Leith again, this time with Ghosts of North Leith at North Leith Parish Church (Tue – Thurs, tickets email:, using stories worked up from the histories of some of the people buried in the church.

Mark Kydd as Angus MacIntosh. Pic: Citadel

One grave belongs to Nellie Gladstones, who was grandmother to the 19th century UK Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone – the family later dropped the final ‘s’. Nellie was a feisty businesswoman who, in writer Hilary Spiers’ section of the play, reprimands her son John for using slave labour on his plantations when the fruits of this labour fetch up in Leith.

Hilary Spiers says: “The Sugar Boycott was a way for middle class women to show their abhorrence of the slave trade by refusing to buy slave-produced sugar. Little is known of Nellie’s life which allowed me to give free rein to my imagination. My play portrays her as something of a radical and an early feminist at odds with her family who derive much of their wealth from slavery.’

The production is a last chance to see a live performance inside Georgian period North North Leith Parish Church, which was intended to be a hub of Leith’s New Town and is due to be released for sale by the Church of Scotland. There is more about the show in our preview here: North Leith Limbo.

A Trilogy of Comedies

Out at Saughtonhall the Saughtonhall Drama Group, which meets and performs in the United Reform Church on Saughtonhall Drive, celebrate their 75th anniversary year with A Trilogy of Comedies (Wed 15 – Sat 18, tickets).

In After I’m Gone by Frank Vickery, Mam does not want her daughter Matti to marry and leave her on her own, and tries to prevent the match. Matti, however, though rather simple and innocent, is determined. Dogies is a twist in the tail playlet about two dog owners by Jean McConnell.

The Interview, by Jane France, sees a local radio presenter sitting down for tea and scones with one Agnes Braithwaite, who, after a lifetime of keeping herself busy with high days, stay at home holidays and village fetes, is now elderly, ailing and pretty much housebound. The presenter is in search of that one special interview – Agnes, however, just wants to sway him to the glories of tea and scones.

No Spray No Lay

On Friday and Saturday at Augustine United Church, Bare Productions is producing an original new musical, No Spray No Lay (tickets) created, written and directed by Kat Dobell and Lara Potter.

The cast of No Spray No Lay.

The musical reflects the fun, chaotic and often emotional female experience of a night out. Dobell and Potter say: “We all know that the best stories from a night out come from the ladies’ bathrooms. It is the go-to place for drama, laughter and a good cry. This is the essence of No Spray No Lay. We want to share with you the love and trouble of a night out on the town.”

These are preview performances where the company is actively taking feedback from audience members through a QR code in the programme. These comments will then be adopted into the development of the show in its future incarnations. Get on down – you wont just see the show first, you can help shape the show’s future.

Learning to Fly

Finally in what is a rather short week, the Traverse welcomes Attic Theatre with Learning to Fly (Fri 17/Sat 18, tickets) by writer, storyteller and performer James Rowland featuring his captivating mix of storytelling, music and comedy.

In it, Rowland tell the story of a remarkable friendship he made when he was a lonely, unhappy teenager with the scary old lady who lived in the spooky house on his street. It’s a plat about connection, no matter what the obstacles; about love’s eternal struggle with time; about music and its ability to heal. It’s also about her last wish: to get high once before she died.


Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
No Spray, No Lay (Bare Productions)
Fri 17 – Sat 18 Nov 2023
Evenings: 6.30pm; Sat mat: 3pm.
Tickets and details: Book here..

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Edinburgh Gang Show 2023
Tue 14  – Sat 18 Nov 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm; Wed, Thurs, Sat mats: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

North Leith Parish Church
51 Madeira Street, EH6 4AU
Ghosts of North Leith (Citadel Arts Group)
Tue 14 – Thurs 16 Nov 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Tickets £10, email:

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Disney’s Aladdin
Tue 24 Oct – Sat 18 Nov 2023
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Sat: 2.30pm; Sun: 1pm & 6pm.
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Spectacular.

Tickets and details: Book here.

Sauchtonhall United Reform Church
85-87 Saughtonhall Drive, EH12 5TR.
A Trilogy of Comedies (Saughtonhall Drama Group)
Wed 15 – Sat 18 Nov 2023
Wed – Fri: 7.30pm; Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details:  Book here.

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404.
Learning to Fly
Fri 17/Sat 18 Nov 2023.
Evenings: 8pm. (Traverse 2).
Written and Directed by James Rowland.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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