On Edinburgh’s Stages This Week: Sun 18 November 2012

Nov 18 2012 | By More

What’s coming up

Ladies of the Night: Rachel Hynes (Second Lady) Claire Watkins (First Lady) & Louise Collet (Third Lady) in Scottish Opera's The Magic Flute © Ken Dundas

Ladies of the Night: Rachel Hynes (Second Lady) Claire Watkins (First Lady) & Louise Collet (Third Lady) in Scottish Opera’s The Magic Flute. Photo © Ken Dundas

By Thom Dibdin

Big opera, a dance festival and a swathe of amateur companies join the Edinburgh Gang Show for a packed week on Edinburgh’s stages.

The big show of the week has to be Scottish Opera’s sparkling new production of The Magic Flute (Sun, Tue, Thurs, Sat). I saw it in Glasgow on opening night for The Stage and it was utterly thrilling. Sitting on the train coming home I just wanted to set down and see it all over again. Straight away.

The big idea of the production is to combine a steampunk, industrial-revolution kind of design with a music-hall or Variety sensibility. The result is consistently visually attractive and it is sung in Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s often earthy translation into English, which gives plenty of space for asides and embellishments in the comic business.

The other biggy is the annual event that is the Edinburgh Gang Show (Tue-Sat). When I first started reviewing it, back in the last millennium, it was strictly a Guides and Scouts thing: great fun, but really aimed only at the Scouting movement. But since Andy Johnston took over as director in 2003 it has become a date which anyone can enjoy.

It’s pure music-hall, packed out with tight performances of big popular numbers from the musicals and popular music, and shot through with comic routines. It’s big, entertaining and relevant stuff, written for an Edinburgh audience.

Monday sees the reopening of the Brunton Theatre Main Hall, refurbished to the tune of £3.7 million. The first production to play in there will be Scottish Opera’s small scale touring version of La traviata on Tuesday.

Dance festival

The Traverse has its Autumn Dance Festival with a programme of six different dance companies performing from Tuesday to Saturday. It’s a funky-looking line-up, with the return of SMITHdancetheatre and their fringe hit: Agnes & Walter: a little love story , kicking things off on Tuesday.

Design by Simon Higlett: Nicky Spence as Tamino in Scottish Opera's The Magic Flute. Photo © Ken Dundas

Nicky Spence as Tamino in Scottish Opera’s The Magic Flute. Photo © Ken Dundas

Personal recommendation? Red Note Ensemble, who are joined by young Iranian sitar player Anosh Jahanshahi to bring The Intoxicating Rose Garden on Thursday. A new hybrid piece of music, song, dance and animation, it is inspired by the poems of 14th century mystic Divan d Havez, translated by Jila Peacock.

Edinbugh’s amateur and student companies are making the most of the pre-Christmas lull, with a handful of small scale productions. The Grads come hot from their appearance on Sky Arts in Nations’ Best Am Dram, with their production of Richard III at the St Bride’s Centre (Wed-Sat).

The St Columba’s Dramatic Society have Curtain Up on Murder (Wed-Fri). A favourite of the amateur circuit, this sparkling smaller group should have a ball – and give their audiences a good time, to boot.

There are a trio of student-related productions on. The EUTC have The Little Shop of Horrors at the Bedlam on Wednesday afternoon, as well as their regular Improverts Friday evening show.

Charlotte Productions produce adaptations of forgotten period literature and they are bringing Twelfth Night 1912 – Laura Witz’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale of sexual confusion and intrigue – to St Augustine’s on George IV Bridge (Thurs-Sun).

Finally, at the ECA Main Lecture Theatre, is Being. OK. from Theatre Paradok. A new devised performance by Fiona Anderson, it explores what it is to be happy and content, to be ok.

Listings:  Sun 18 – Sun 25
Bedlam Theatre:
* The Little Shop of Horrors (Wed, 2.30pm)
* The Improverts (Fri, 10.30pm)
Brunton Theatre:
* La traviata (Thursday only)
Edinburgh College of Art:
* Being. OK. (Mon-Fri)
Edinburgh Playhouse:
* That’ll Be the Day (Mon)
* Gary Mullen and the Works Perform One Night of Queen (Tue)
* Gary Barlow In Concert (Wed)
* The Proclaimers in Concert (Thurs/Fri)
Festival Theatre:
* Scottish Opera: The Magic Flute (Sun, Tue, Thurs, Sat)
King’s Theatre:
* Edinburgh Gang Show 2012 (Tue-Sat)
St Augustine’s Church:
* Twelfth Night 1912 (Thurs-Sun)
St Brides Community Centre:
* Richard III (Wed-Sat)
St Columba’s Blackhall:
* Curtain Up on Murder (Wed-Fri)
* Trav A&E Quizz (Mon only)
* Agnes & Walter: a little love story (Tue)
* 12 Dancers / Deliberance (Wed)
* The Intoxicating Rose Garden (Thurs)
* Sonata for A Man and A Boy (Fri/Sat)
* Within This Dust (Fri)
* Open Art Surgery: Experiments in Hip Hop Theatre (Sat)


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