Listings: Mon 13 to Sun 19 December 2021

Dec 14 2021 | By More

What’s on Edinburgh’s Stages this week…

With most Christmas productions up and running, the Playhouse and the Studio Theatre complete this years offer with new openings from the extreme ends of the Festive selection, at least in terms of size.

While North Edinburgh Arts sees the first of this year’s Magic Festival shows, with local professional magician Gary James presenting a “fun-filled, family cracker of a show – The Magic of Christmas – Friday. The Magic Fest continues next week at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Ronan McMahon as Billy, Sita Pieraccini as Bird Girl, Richard Conlon as Fruity and Florence Odumosu as Madame Lady in Christmas Dinner. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

First the new shows. The Playhouse welcomes the spectacular brand-new touring production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, based on the 1954 film of the same name which starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

With an all-singing, all dancing cast we are promised stunning sets, terrific costumes, and marvellous music –  everything you want in a musical in a terrific, tantalising, tap-dancing extravaganza. Well, our musicals specialist Martin will be along on press night to check out the talent…

Just in time for schools breaking up, the Studio has the world premiere of The Enormous Christmas Turnip, a new show for two-seven year-olds, created and performed by Ivor MacAskill and Rosana Cade.

Ivor is best known as one half of the Polar Bears with Fiona Manson, who is on directing duties here, so expect a whole dollop of invention in this show about two rabbits growing their own delicious vegetables for a great big festive feast – when one vegetable grows just a wee bit too big.

Around the venues

With schools broken up, there is plenty of variety on Edinburgh’s stages – if you can travel down to the Brunton, Hansel and Gretel (★★★★☆ Sweet treat) is panto on a story-based traditional tip, while Sleeping Beauty (★★★★☆ Comforting) at the King’s celebrates variety – and has that wonderful show-stopping moment to remember King Andy.

Scottish Ballet’s re-invigorated Nutcracker (★★★★☆ Seasonal feast)at the Festival Theatre is a sumptuous chocolate-box piece of escapism, while the Lyceum serves up Christmas Dinner (★★★★☆ Touchingly funny), a brilliantly judged new piece by Catherine Wheels that celebrates the fabric of the theatre itself.

And of course, if you are proper Bah Humbug to all this glitter, then the Traverse is the place to be with James Ley’s WILF (★★★☆☆ Encouragingly filthy), a big gay romp which is black comedy at its finest and just the most hilarious and close-to-the-bone piece of theatre you are likely to see.


Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
TSOS Christmas Cabaret
Mon 13/Tue 14 Dec 2021
Evenings: 7.30pm.
This festive season, The Theatre School of Scotland Edinburgh, invites you to join them for a Christmas cracker of a cabaret show. Their hugely talented students will be taking over the beautiful Assembly Roxy for an evening filled with Christmas cheer. Book here.

The Brunton
Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Phone booking: 0131 665 2240
Hansel and Gretel The Pantomime
Tue 7 – Fri 31 Dec 2021
Various dates and times.
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Sweet treat
“With up-to-the-minute gags and tunes – a number from Abba’s new album is a lovely surprise – and the local references audiences love, writer/director John Binnie makes it feel like panto had never left the building. With delightful banter, clever plot turns and Covid-compliant audience interaction, Hansel and Gretel is a sweet treat.” Oh yes it is! Book here.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
The Nutcracker
Weds 1 – Fri 31 Dec 2021
Daily (not Sun/Mon): 7.30; Matinees Sun, and various dates: 2.30pm.
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Seasonal feast
Costumes plucked from the most gorgeous chocolate box; Tchaikovsky’s score to transport you to a land of dreams; and a story lifted straight from the pages of a classic fairy tale. Scottish Ballet with founder Peter Darrell’s sumptuous choreography. Book here.

King’s Theatre
2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Sleeping Beauty
Sat 27 Nov 2020 – Sun 16 Jan 2022
Tue to Sat, 2pm & 7pm; Sun 1pm & 5pm
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Comforting.
Grant Stott and Allan Stewart return with Jordan Young to provide the familiar routines, eye-catching gimmicks and cheeky swagger that is a great King’s panto, while working a fitting tribute to the late great Andy Gray amidst its bundle of fun and laughter. Book here.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Christmas Dinner
Weds 8 December – Sun 2 January 2022
Various times.
Æ review: ★★★★☆ Touchingly funny
Written by Rob Alan Evans and directed by Gill Robertson, “Christmas Dinner may be something of a stopgap as this year’s Lyceum show, but it proves a success in its own right. Amusing, energetic, and wearing its considerable profundity lightly, it should appeal to the widest possible audience”. Tickets and Details.

North Edinburgh Arts
15a Pennywell Road, EH4 4TZ Box Office: 0131 315 2151
Gary James: The Magic of Christmas
Friday 17 December 2021
Early evening show only: 5pm.
Part of MagicFest. Join Local Professional Magician Gary James for a fun-filled, family cracker of a show with the ‘Magic of Christmas’. Wonder at festive-themed magic, with laughter and gasps aplenty, and witness the building of a snowman that comes to life right before your eyes! Magical moments you won’t ever forget. Tickets and details.

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014.
White Christmas
Tue 14 Dec 2021 – Sun 2 Jan 2022
Evening shows: 7.30pm; Matinees: 2.30pm; Suns & Xmas Eve: 1pm & 5pm.
The spectacular brand-new production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas arrives in Edinburgh for Christmas direct from the West End and brought to life by Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster (Annie) and two-time Olivier Award-winning choreographer Stephen Mear (Mary Poppins). Book here.

Studio Theatre
The Studio, 22 Potterrow, EH8 9BL. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
The Enormous Christmas Turnip
Fri 17 – Fri 31 Dec 2021
Various times, two shows daily (Not 20, 25, 26)
Xmas show for ages 2 – 7.
Help two playful bunnies get ready, set, and grow grow grow – but what happens when one vegetable grows a little too big…? Rabbits get a bad rap. Everyone thinks they steal your carrots and poo everywhere. Well, these rabbits are growing their own delicious vegetables for a great big festive feast and there’ll be plenty for everyone! That’ll be a turn-ip for the books. Book here.

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Wed 8 – Fri 24 Dec
Evenings: 8pm; Mats 2pm: Fri 17/Sat 18, Thurs 23/Fri 24.
Æ review: ★★★☆☆ Encouragingly filthy
“There is a pleasingly unruly feel to James Ley’s new play WILF, this year’s seasonably unseasonal offering from the Traverse. Full of heart, not to mention dialogue that would have given the Lord Chamberlain palpitations, it overcomes structural difficulties to produce a successful whole.” Book here.

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