Preview for the week: 15 – 21 February, 2010

Feb 16 2010 | By More

By Thom Dibdin

Edinburgh’s stages are choca-block this week with ten different musical, theatre and dance productions hitting town. There’s the first performance at a new venue as Tempo get down at Broughton High School and a completely one-off venue out at Ingliston as the National Theatre of Scotland bring round their Wall of Death. Touring productions arrive at the Kings and Festival; the Traverse and Lyceum have new productions opening; there are one night-stands for dance at the Brunton and Traverse; and its the one act festival at St Serfs at the end of the week. Oh, and Maria is getting high on her hill for one final week at the Playhouse.

Broughton High School looks like being an exciting find for amateur companies, and it will be interesting to see what Tempo make of the new space with their production of Honk!, which runs from Monday to Saturday. The musical version of Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling story, with book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe and music by George Stiles, won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2000.

This week’s award for unusual theatre space goes to the National Theatre of Scotland, who bring Wall of Death: A Way of Life to the Royal Highland Centre. Centred around the Ken Fox Troupe’s Wall of Death side-show, the production sees NTS director Vicky Featherstone pushing the envelope of what can be classed as theatre.

It’s solid spooky theatre at the King’s as the touring production of The Woman in Black arrives for a week. Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel has been around for something like 21 years – and is still making hairs stand up on the back of necks. This features Robert Demeger as Arthur Kipps with Peter Bramhill as the actor.

The big date in amateur dramatic circles is down at St Serfs Hall, however, where the Edinburgh and District SCDA One Act Festival is in full swing from Thursday to Saturday. On Thursday, Leitheatre (Kirkgate) perform On The Edge; The Grads do Chekov’s The Proposal and the Mercators have On The Outside. On Friday Leitheatre (Stage Right) perform Trifles; St Serfs Players do One Day I Met Myself Coming Home; the Big Village Theatre Company take on Lorraine McCann’s Beached; and EGTG have Polished By Love. On Saturday, Holy Cow Performing Arts Group take on Shudhdhamadhdhalam (The Pristine Drum); Livingston Players have Womberang and finally Leitheatre (Sunnyside) perform Tennessee Williams’ The Fat Man’s Wife. Curtain up is at 7pm.

The first of the new professional productions is at the Traverse, where their co-production with EK Performance, What We Know, opens for previews on Wednesday with the full opening night on Friday. Featuring the very wonderful Kate Dickie, with Paul Thomas Hickey, Anne Lacey, Robin Laing, Pauline Lockhart and Lorn McDonal this is the next part of the Traverse Too strand of innovative theatre.

Next door, at the Royal Lyceum, The Beauty Queen of Leenane opens on Saturday – with a preview on Friday. Cara Kelly stars with Nora Connolly, John Kazek and Dylan Kennedy in Martin McDonagh’s twisted and comic tale of a mother and daughter trapped in a small village in Galway. With Tony Cownie directing, this is another show to look forward to.

On the dance front, the big news is the arrival of the Rambert Dance Company at the Festival Theatre with a triple bill of The Comedy of Change, Hush and A Linha Curva. Commemorating Charles Darwin year, The Comedy of Change is set to a specially commissioned score by British composer Julian Anderson with production design by Kader Attia. At the Brunton, Tavaziva Dance’s seven, high-octane dancers perform Wild Dog on Thursday – which “captures the beauty and elegance of one of Africa’s most endangered species”. The Tom Dale company come to the Traverse on Saturday with Roam, described as a “captivating journey into a world of swinging sub bass and complex percussion”, Roam features specially commissioned tracks from Shackleton and drum and bass outfit Sion, and incorporates the work of poet Rick Holland.

And finally, for the last time to the the Playhouse, where Connie Fisher finishes in The Sound of Music on Saturday 20 February. Bright and impeccably cheery, but harbouring a darkly sinister note, this big touring revival gives the film version a run for its money – and even betters it on some levels.

NB Whoops and errata! EPT’s Cider With Rosie is at the Church Hill Theatre in March. Not, as previously stated on here, in February.


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