Listings: Mon 28 Feb – Sun 6 March 2022

Mar 1 2022 | By More

What’s on Edinburgh’s stages this week

It is an exciting week on Edinburgh stages, with plenty of scope to take your mind away from events elsewhere in the world.

Scottish Opera brings another collaboration with Dominic Hill to the Festival; Tim Firth switches the genders in his 1992 play at the King’s; there’s top burlesque at the Playhouse; A Play A Pie and A Pint returns to the Traverse; and, after an interminable wait, MAMA get to play Chess at the Brunton.

Catriona Hewitson (Tytania) and Lawrence Zazzo (Oberon) in Scottish Opera’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Pic: James Glossop

What you won’t be seeing this week, however, is the Russian Stage Ballet of Siberia at the Playhouse. The company’s four performances have been cancelled after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For rather different reasons, The Lyceum production of The Scent of Roses has been put back a week because of Covid in the company and will now open to preview this Saturday 5 and Monday 7.

The big piece of theatre this week, then, is at the King’s where Tim Firth updates his early breakthrough comedy, Neville’s Island – about four men who get stuck on a hardly remote island on Derwentwater, to Sheila’s Island – exactly the same situation but this time with female outward bounders.

Firth says of the gender swap: “As a male writer I initially thought what happens on the island could only happen between men. It took Joanna Read (the director) to remind me that shoddy, childish and viciously destructive behaviour is not the exclusive preserve of the male sex.”

The play stars Sara Crowe, Rina Fatania, Judy Flynn, and Abigail Thaw in a comedy which has been said is akin to The Office meets Lord of the Flies meets Miranda

magic, mayhem and magical mayhem

At the Festival Theatre, Scottish Opera is getting all Shakespearean as it reunites with Dominic Hill for a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Britten’s otherworldly operatic reimagining of the timeless comedy of magic, mayhem, magical mayhem and misplaced love.

The critics have so far given it some pretty positive reviews and Hill is always a director to look out for, particularly when there is a chance to flesh out the darker side of events.

The other much-welcomed return is that of A Play, A Pie and A Pint to the Traverse, for what is a slightly extended season. It opens this week with Oscar with book and lyrics by Brian James O’Sullivan, who stars with the talented Kirsty Findlay star in a “new musical about friendship and grief”, directed by Shilpa T-Hyland.

At the Brunton, the members of MAMA, the Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association, have been waiting for two years to play Chess, the musical by Tim Rice with music by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. The wait no doubt gives the show’s big hit, “I Know Him So Well” an extra edge, given the length of time the company have been living with the show.


Click on the name of the show to go to its ticketing site.

Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
The Improverts
Fri 4 March 2022
Evening: 9pm (Roxy Upstairs)
Edinburgh’s longest-running improvised comedy troupe return with their off-the-cuff evenings of comedy fun. Based entirely on audience suggestions, each show is unique, depending on lightning-fast wit, expert tech and a healthy dose of audience inspiration in a mix of short-form improv games. Book here

The Brunton
Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Phone booking: 0131 665 2240
Thurs 3 – Sat 5 March 2022
Evenings: 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2.30pm (Theatre).
Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association with the much delayed East Lothian premiere of Chess. Featuring the music of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (of ABBA fame) and lyrics from Tim Rice, the story is based around two chess Grandmasters and their fight over world titles and the love of a woman. Book here.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Scottish Opera – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Tue 1 – Sat 5 Mar 2022
Tue, Thurs, Sat: 7.15pm.
Dominic Hill, Artistic Director of the Citizens Theatre, returns to Scottish Opera to bring his Shakespearean expertise to bear once more. Joined by designer Tom Piper, famed for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, he promises to enchant and entertain with Britten’s beguiling work.  Book here.

King’s Theatre
2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Sheila’s Island
Tue 1 – Sat 5 March 2022
Evenings 7.30pm, Mats Wed, Sat: 2.30pm
Bonfire night 2019 and Sheila, Denise, Julie, and Fay are Team C in Pennine Mineral Water Ltd.’s annual outward bound team-building weekend. But somehow, they have unwittingly stranded themselves on an island in the Lake District in Tim Firth’s comedy in the fog. Book here.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Scent of Roses
Opening delayed due to Covid.
Now 5 – 19 March 2022
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm. Thurs, Sat Mats: 2.30pm.
Preview Sat 5: 7.30pm.

A darkly funny new play about truths, lies, and how we tell them begins with a wife who decides to take her husband hostage to finally have an honest conversation. This simple, transgressive act of demanding a straight answer sparks a chain of conversations, interrogations, obfuscations and revelations as a circle of connected lives try to work out what is real and find someone they can trust in a post-truth world. Tickets and Details.

On a screen in your own home

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014.
Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix
Wed 2 Mar 2022
Evening: 8.30pm
Von Teese’s Glamonatrix burlesque revue promises a stunning visual journey with one show-stopping performance after another. With extravagant new production numbers from Dita and her cast, corsets by Mister Pearl and extraordinary bespoke footwear by Christian Louboutin. Book here.

Russian State Ballet of Siberia – Romeo and Juliet
Thurs 3 March 2022. Production cancelled. Contact theatre for a refund: Playhouse pulls Russian ballet.

Russian State Ballet of Siberia – Swan Lake
Fri 4/Sat 5 March 2022. Production cancelled. Contact theatre for a refund: Playhouse pulls Russian ballet.

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
A Play, A Pie And A Pint: Oscar
Tue 1 – Sat 5 March 2022
Daily, 1pm (Trav 2)
By Brian James O’Sullivan. Oscar has never had any trouble writing music. It comes naturally. But when his brother and writing partner dies, he is lost and creatively blocked – so he moves to a remote island where he’ll have the time and space to breathe and grieve, and crucially to finish writing his suite of music. Book here.

The Gardener
Tue 1, Wed 2 March 2022
Evening: 8pm
Come and meet Frank – he’s just started The Amateur Gardeners Appreciation Society and you’re cordially invited. Frank’s always been a keen gardener but lately he hasn’t been getting out quite as much as he’d like, especially not since his wife passed away. So he’s started his very own gardening group to share some hints and tips from a life-time spent in the garden… And perhaps one or two more personal tales along the way. Book here.

Dialogues From Babel
Fri 4 March 2022
Evening: 7.30pm.
Text by Philip Howard created in a partnership between Edinburgh International Book Festival and Hearing the Voice. Based on the words spoken by voice-hearers, conversations are woven together, unfolding to illuminate the experience of hearing a voice only you can hear, even when there is no one speaking. Book here.

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