On Edinburgh’s Stages this week: Sun 25 Nov – Sun 2 Dec

Nov 26 2012 | By More

Delicious Delights for your Delectation

Jackie Clune, Amy Lennox and Natalie Casey in Dolly Parton's 9 to 5: The Musical

Jackie Clune, Amy Lennox and Natalie Casey in 9 to 5: The Musical Photo: Simon Annand

By Thom Dibdin

With most of the theatre world girding its loins for panto mayhem, there are still a couple of pre-Christmas biggies to whet the appetite for live theatre this week.

First to open is Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, the Musical, which takes over the Playhouse all week from Monday. Based on the hit movie, it centres around three office workers who turn the tables on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss.

The three are played by Jackie Clune as office manager Violet Newstead, Amy Lennox as Doralee Rhodes and Natalie Casey as office newcomer Judy Bernley. Ben Richards is the boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. and Bonnie Langford takes the scene-stealing role of his executive assistant, Rozz Keith.

Up at the Festival theatre, dance fans have an early Christmas present in the form of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (Tue-Sat), which he is billing as a “Gothic romance”. Yes, this is Tchaikovsky’s music, but Bourne takes the well known Petipa choreography as his starting point, setting the opening Christening of Aurora in 1890, the year of the ballet’s first performance.

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

Publicity image for Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

It’s the height of the Fin-de-Siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. And allows Bourne to set Aurora’s coming of age in an uptight Edwardian era, with her awakening a century hence in the modern day.

The only other non-festive offering comes from the Edinburgh Makars, who take over St Bride’s for Peter Quilter’s comedy Curtain Up! (Wed-Sat). It tells the story of five women who inherit equal shares in an old ruined theatre and have to get involved in all kinds of chaos and madness to try to save it from destruction.

It’s not pantomime but Tall Stories’ Snow Dragon at the Pleasance (Sat 1-Thurs 6 Dec) has a definite seasonal thrust. Billy has everything a young goat could need – and more besides. On New Year’s Eve, his parents tell him about the legendary Snow Dragon, who will bring him even more goodies during the night.

But when Billy bumps into some wolves in the woods, New Year’s Day seems a long way off… Packed with hum-along tunes of the kind which will endure with you for weeks, this should appeal to everyone over three, with a particular slant towards the 3-6 year-olds.

And so to pantomime proper. And improper. Particularly improper.
Poster for EUTC's Sherlock Panto and the Great Christmas Caper: A Steampunk Adventure in Several Acts at the Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh

Poster for EUTC’s Sherlock Panto and the Great Christmas Caper: A Steampunk Adventure in Several Acts

First out of the blocks is the Brunton, which has Puss in Boots (opening Tuesday). This comes from new writer-director team of Philip Meeks (words) and Plutôt la Vie’s Tim Licata, following the departure of Liam Rudden to the Dunfermline Alhambra.

The rest of the backstage creative team are the same as previous years, but Isabella Jarrett as Wysteria is the only member of the previous cast to remain. Stephen Docherty takes on the all-important role of the Dame Doris Dimple, Scott Glynn is Rumbletum the Ogre and Kim Shepherd is Princess Fiona.

A couple of amateur companies get their pantomimes out for limited runs on Wednesday to Saturday. Down at Goldenacre, St Serf’s Players return to the reliable scripts of David Swan with his Frankenstein the Panto – a hit of many, many am-dram productions since it was published in 1989. It’s on at 7.30pm, with two shows Saturday, at 2pm and 6.30pm.

At the Bedlam, the EUTC look to be having a grand old time of it with Sherlock Panto and the Great Christmas Caper: A Steampunk Adventure in Several Acts, written and directed by  Will Naameh and Connor Jones. There’s nothing traditional but the format here, as Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Dame Hudson and friends join forces to defeat the nefarious James Moriarty, as he plots to steal Christmas and take over the world.

Which just leaves the two biggies: the King’s and the Lyceum.

First to open is the Royal Lyceum, which has its preview for Cinderella on Thursday. Having spent years putting on a “Christmas show” rather than a pantomime, championing the works of Stuart Paterson – to whom the theatre returned for the last two years – it has commissioned a new Cinderella script from the rising star of the Pantosphere, Johnny McKnight.

Directed by Mark Thomson, with original songs by Alan Penman, McKnight has relocated the story to modern-day Paris. Julie Heatherill (a hit at the Brunton last year) plays Cinderella, who lives happily with her father (Grant O’Rourke). Her world is shattered by the arrival of the wonderfully hilarious and awful ‘new sisters’ Collete and Camille (Nicola Roy and Jo Freer) and their truly terrifying mother, Monique (Jayne McKenna).

And finally to the big one: The King’s, where Mother Goose opens for previews on Saturday. Which, as it contains one of the least plot-driven scripts in the modern pantomime cannon, is traditionally the cue for a series of appalling egg-based puns in the part of the previewer. Oh yes it is.

Cracking the eggcellent yolks and whisking their whites to a stiff peak will be the Edinburgh pantomime dream team of Allan “sunny side up” Stewart as Mother Goose, Andy “scrambled” Gray as Elvis McSporran and Grant “bad egg” Stott doing his dastardly thing as Demon Vanity.

Last year’s hard-boiled Dandini, David Haydn, returns as the soft-poached Squire and all round good egg Katy Heavens is the Dizzy Fairy. Having a cracking time in the junior chorus are the fresh eggs of the Edinburgh Dance Academy. Here endeth the yolks.

Full listings Monday 26 November – Sunday 2 December 2012:

Bedlam Theatre:
* Sherlock Panto and the Great Christmas Caper (Wed-Sat)
* The Improverts (Fri, 10.30pm)
Brunton Theatre:
* Puss in Boots (Tue-Sat, ends Jan 5)
Edinburgh Playhouse:
* 9 To 5 The Musical (Mon-Sat)
Festival Theatre:
* Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (Tue-Sat)
King’s Theatre:
* Mother goose (Opens Sat, ends 20 Jan)
* The Snow Dragon (Sat 1-Thurs 6, 11am, 2pm daily)
St Serf’s:
* Frankenstein The Panto (Wed-Sat)
St Brides Community Centre:
* Curtain Up! (Wed-Sat)
* The Traverse Sessions (Mon only)

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