On Stage Mon 20 – Sun 26 Feb 2023

Feb 22 2023 | By More

What’s on Edinburgh’s stages this week…

Plenty for all tastes on Edinburgh’s stages this week. On the amateur stages, EDGAS give G&S’s Yeomen of the Guard an outing at the Festival Theatre and up at the Church Hill it’s the Edinburgh round of the SCDA One Act Festival.

Elsewhere, ex-Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton is starring in The Bodyguard at the Playhouse, there is a last chance to see Zinnie Harris’s Macbeth (an Undoing)  at the Lyceum and Tam Dean Burn joins Maria Rud and The Filthy Tongues at the Traverse for Revelations Of Rab McVie, a “psychedelic dreamscape of live painting, live music, spoken word and theatre”.

Salute Ukraine!

Firstly, though, the Usher Hall hosts is a production on Sunday 26 that is not strictly theatre, but one which we wholeheartedly support. Salute Ukraine! is a special tribute concert marking the sombre anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The show’s producer, the director, writer and actor Matthew Zajac says: “With no sign of an end to Russia’s attempt to destroy Ukraine, it is vital that we continue to support the Ukrainian people and maintain public awareness of their plight and the extraordinary bravery Ukraine continues to demonstrate in its defence of our democracy and freedom.

“Salute Ukraine! is our way of doing this. We will mourn those who have been lost and we will sing for them. Scottish and Ukrainian artists will come together in a celebration of art, civilised values and defiance. Слава Україні! Slava Ukraini!”

Melody Thornton in the Bodyguard

At the Playhouse, Melody Thornton who was the youngest member of the Pussycat Dolls, is playing Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (Mon 20 to Sat 25) – the big, big role made famous by Whitney Houston in the original film.

The story of a popstar at the height of her career who is assigned a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, to protect her from an unknown stalker features numbers which require powerhouse vocals from the performer playing Marron.

“My favourite number to perform is Queen of the Night”, says Thornton, “but my favourite song is All The Man That I Need. I watch Whitney’s live performances, because I’m always looking for what I call ‘bail outs’ – moments in the song that we know commercially to be sung a certain way, and then how she does them live.

“She was such a master, she would find ways to hit a note, working around the difficulty. In her performances of All The Man That I Need I think she’s singing to God, as she grew up in the church. If you listen to the song, to me that’s what she’s saying – He’s all the man that she needs.”

A scene from EDGAS’s 2013 production of Yeoman of the Guard at the Kings. Pic: Ross Main.

At the Festival Theatre the 60 strong cast of the Edinburgh Gilbert and Sullivan Society take on the tragicomic opera Yeoman of the Guard (Wed 22 – Sat 25), widely regarded as a masterpiece and one of the duo’s finest works.

Directed by Alan Borthwick and with a full orchestra under the baton of David Lyle, this is a rare opportunity to see the show as it was originally intended to be performed, not with a cut-down cast, concert performance or reduced orchestra.

“The Yeomen of the Guard is the most serious of their works in terms of capturing real human emotion.” according to cast members Ritchie Turnbull and Melissa Jones. “Sullivan always wanted to compose a grand opera, but Gilbert preferred to write more frivolous pieces – they were more profitable.

“The two rarely agreed and the quality of their collaborations is quite amazing, given their tempestuous relationship. There is still much humour in it, though, and the music – with full orchestra – is tremendous.”

Maria Rud – Revelations Rab McVie. Pic: Pavlos Papageorgiou

At the Traverse for two performances only (Fri 24/Sat 25), Revelations Of Rab McVie combines darkly atmospheric alt-rock music from The Filthy Tongues with fantastically colourful, evocative, ever evolving, projected paintings by artist Maria Rud and a performance by Tam Dean Burn. All directed by Maria Pattinson.

The play filters the artists’ response to global events into a compelling, immersive experience as everyman Rab McVie (played by Burn) travels through richly textured, ever changing landscapes of bloodshed and war – a story of light in darkness, of hope in a torn world.

Originally conceived in 2021, the show is not about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine specifically, but in this week that marks its first anniversary, it is a reaction to the invasion and “the torn world”.

Artist Maria Rud is part Russian, part Ukrainian so has a unique perspective to bring, but the work is very much a collaborative piece, driven by the visuals, the music and text, with actor Tam Dean Burn bringing a dramatic physical presence.

Laurie Scott as Ross, Jade Ogugua as Lady Macduff, Adam Best as Macbeth and Nicole Cooper as Lady Macbeth. Pic: Stuart Armitt

At the Lyceum it is the final week of Zinnie Harris’s new take on Shakespeare’s MacbethMacbeth (an Undoing). As in her previous plays This Restless House and The Duchess (of Malfi), Harris has reimagined a classic text, bringing the perspectives of its female characters centre stage.

In Shakespeare’s original, his iconic Lady Macbeth is ruthless and driven, unstoppable in her pursuit of power. And yet she quickly descends into madness and despair. Harris undoes the story we know and remakes it, examining Lady Macbeth’s trajectory and asking if we have really heard the whole story.

One Act Festival

Up at the Church Hill Theatre, the SCDA’s annual One Act Festival is back with a full complement of seven one-act plays over the two nights of Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February. All plays must be at least 25 minutes and no more than 55 minutes in length and feature two or more actors.

This year’s  productions come from six amateur clubs, with Leitheatre entering two productions into the competition. The full list of entries is below.


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

Church Hill Theatre
33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.
SCDA One Act Festival
Friday 24/Saturday 25 February 2023
Evenings: 7pm.
The 2023 Edinburgh round of the SCDA One-Act Festival. Adjudication will be by Kate Stephenson.
Clubs taking part and running order:
Leitheatre (Kirkgate): The Infernal Serpent by David Gerow
Edinburgh Graduate Theatre group: Tunnel Vision by Sheila Hodgson
Edinburgh Theatre Arts: It Takes Two by Iain Robertson
St. Kentigern’s youth theatre (Y): Everybody’s Dying to meet you, by Alan Richardson
St Serfs Players: Socks by Rosemary Frisino Toohey
Leitheatre (Sunnyside): Tickless Time by Susan Glaspell
Edinburgh People’s Theatre: The Book Club of Little Witterington by Joan Greening.
Further details: www.scdaedinburgh.org.uk
Tickets: Book here.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
The Yeomen of the Guard
Wed 22 – Sat 25 February 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinee Sat: 2.30pm.
Military hero Colonel Fairfax is imprisoned in the Tower of London and sentenced to death for treason. Appalled by Fairfax’s fate, Sergeant Meryll is determined to free the man who rescued him in battle. EdGAS with one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s finest works.  Book here.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Macbeth (an undoing)
Zinnie Harris, in a new version after Shakespeare
Sat 4 – Sat 25 Feb 2023
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Mats Weds & Sat: 2.30pm.
Æ review: ★★★☆☆ Intriguing
Shakespeare’s iconic Lady Macbeth is ruthless and driven, unstoppable in her pursuit of power, yet she quickly descends from strength to despair. Zinnie Harris’ thrilling new version revisits that trajectory asking if we have really heard the full story. Book here.

18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014.
The Bodyguard
Mon 20 – Sat 25 February 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2.30pm
The smash-hit musical is back. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge–what they don’t expect is to fall in love. Book here .

10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Revelations of Rab McVie
Fri 24/Sat 25 Feb 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm (Traverse 1)
Maria Rud and The Filthy Tongues
An immersive journey through a psychedelic dreamscape of live painting, live music, spoken word and theatre. Join everyman Rab McVie as he travels through richly textured landscapes of bloodshed and war – a story of light in darkness, of hope in a torn world. Book here.

Usher Hall
Lothian Road, EH1 2EA. Phone booking: 0131 228 1155
Salute Ukraine!
Sunday 26 February 2023
Evening: 7pm
A unique one-night-only event to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine and its heroic defence. Scottish and Ukrainian musicians, writers and poets come together in an act of remembrance and solidarity, paying respect to Ukraine’s sacrifices and celebrating the extraordinary courage and defiance of Ukraine and its people. Book here.


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