Preview for the week: 1 – 7 March, 2010

Mar 1 2010 | By More

By Thom Dibdin

Things are looking a little brighter on Edinburgh’s stages this week with a spot of hot football action down at the Bongo Club, always a great venue for fringe shows, TV’s Dinnerladies making their stage transfer up at the King’s, a quartet of classical ballets coming to the Playhouse and the new season of Play Pie and a Pint opening at the Traverse with Heaven. Elsewhere at the Traverse, Pobby and Dingan arrives for a short run, while the Lyceum continues with the brutal, dark Beauty Queen of Leenane. The Brunton welcomes one-night stands by Lotty’s War and dance piece One Up One Down, while the opera, Cunning Little Vixen continues at the Pleasance.

The big news this week is the return of A Play, Pie and a Pint to the Traverse. The five week season features a different transfer from Glasgow’s Oran More every week, playing Tuesday-Saturday lunchtimes, 1-2pm. The £10 ticket famously includes a pie and a pint. The opener is Heaven by Simon Stephens which was first staged as a rehearsed reading at the Traverse breakfast series at last year’s Fringe. In a chance encounter at Edinburgh airport a young man heading for Turin is stopped in his tracks by an elderly man. Directed by Dominic Hill, Heaven features Sean Scanlon, (River City and Two Thousand Acres of Sky), and Robbie Jack (Gary: Tank Commander).

The football factor down at the Bongo club is Beating Berlusconi! (Tuesday/Wednesday). It is based on the true story of a lifelong Liverpool fan who ended up sitting next to Silvio Berlusconi at the Attaturk stadium when Liverpool played AC Milan in the Champions’ League final. Paul Duckworth plays some 40 characters in a hilarious, lump in the throat comedy.

There’s more comedy at the King’s with David Graham’s adaptation of the original scripts of TV sitcom Dinnerladies (Tuesday – Saturday). Starring Andrew Dunn and Sue Devaney, members of the original TV cast, this uses Victoria Wood’s original writing from the second series and follows the reluctant love story of Bren and Tony, egged on by Dolly, Jean, Twinkle and Anita.

Back at the Traverse is Catherine Wheels‘ very wonderful Pobby and Dingan (Wednesday – Saturday). Based on the novella by Ben Rice, and set in the Australian opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge, this is a fantastic little play for eight year-olds and over which will strike something of a chord for grownup audiences too. Scott Turnbull is electric as Ashmol, a lad who decides to go hunting for his little sister’s imaginary friends when they go missing and she starts to pine away in sympathy.

The Brunton theatre has two one-night shows on this week. Lotty’s War (Wednesday) is set in the Guernsey Islands during the German occupation of WW2, and besides recalling a dark period in the island’s history, explores the relationship between islanders and occupying forces. Women under pressure is the theme of Natasha Gilmore’s latest serving of choreographic comedy One Up, One Down (Saturday). Personal and global perspectives collide as three women, caught up in their quest for perfection, sway dangerously between reluctant adoration and bitter condemnation of one another.

At the Playhouse, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia arrive with a suite of four different classical ballet (Tuesday-Saturday). This large touring company with live orchestra will perform Giselle on Tuesday, Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday, Swan Lake on Thursday and the Nutcracker on Friday/Saturday.

Continuing at the Royal Lyceum, Tony Cownie has brought a superbly dark level of viciousness to The Beauty Queen of Leenane (to Saturday 13 March) – Martin McDonagh’s prize-winning look at late 20th century life in rural Ireland. Keeping up with the on-stage quality of this year’s Lyceum shows, it stars CATS-winning Cara Kelly and John Kazek with Nora Connolly and Dylan Kennedy in a production which will have you laughing uproariously – and gasping in horror.

Finally, Edinburgh Studio Opera continue at the Pleasance Theatre with Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen (To Wednesday). Often seen as a Czech version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this was actually the inspired by a 1920s comic strip, which recounts Vixen Sharp-Ears adventures in a world of humans and animals, both wild and domesticated. Nicholas Bone directs, while Nicholas Fletcher takes on musical direction.


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