Preview for the week: 22 – 28 February, 2010

Feb 23 2010 | By More

By Thom Dibdin

There’s a pervasive darkness to Edinburgh’s stages this week. Not dark in the traditional theatrical sense of shut theatres, but dark in the sense of calamitous events holding their own in the background. The Lyceum’s early McDonagh, both the Traverse’s new works and even Wilde’s melodrama at the Kings all carry a sense of mortality – albeit one that is spun with differing levels of comedy. On a rather different level, there’s a darkness in the background to Footloose, which EMT are staging at the Church Hill, and children’s show Pobby and Dingan at the Brunton, while thrill-seekers will understand where the NTS’s Wall of Death: Way of Life fits in here, too. The only show not quite keeping in with this increasingly forced theme is Carol Smillie’s new production at the Festival Theatre.

The King’s kick-off with Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime (to Saturday), with Lee Mead finding another dream to do as he steps over from Joseph into the title role. He joins Kate O’Mara, Gary Wilmot, Derren Nesbitt and David Ross in a version of Oscar Wilde’s short story which has been adapted by Trevor Baxter to pump up the melodrama.

At the Festival Theatre Carol Smillie is changing TV rooms for theatrical changing rooms as she takes to the boards in Hormonal Housewives (Tuesday to Saturday).  Written by Julie Coombe and John MacIsaac, Hormonal Housewives stars Coombe, Smilie and Shonagh Price in a show about weight loss, weight gain, mood swings, PMT, HRT, pelvic floors and men.

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.

There’s a sharp brutality too, to Pamela Carter’s new play for the Traverse Too strand of experimental productions, What We Know (to Saturday). Kate Dickie is fabulous as a young woman making a meal on a Friday night-in with her long-term partner Jon (Paul Thomas Hickey). What starts out as mundane becomes increasingly vicious. Pauline Lockhart, Robin Laing and the rather wonderful Anne Lacey co-star.

Arriving at the Traverse on Thursday is Promises Promises (to Saturday). Douglas Maxwell’s tense new thriller for Random Accomplice is directed by Johnny McKnight and stars Joanna Tope as a supply teacher going through a tough day – the headmaster is an idiot, her work colleagues are fools and Maggie’s craving for alcohol is great. Behind the comedy lies a seriously unsettling piece of theatre.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s Wall of Death: A Way of Life continues at the Royal Highland Centre to Sunday. 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 as Stephen Skrynka attempts to complete a lifelong ambition and ride a motorbike up the wall.

Up at the Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh Music Theatre have the Edinburgh amateur premier of Footloose the Musical (to Saturday). The high-octane musical has had a couple of professional outings in Edinburgh in recent years – with varying levels of success. It will be good to see the fun an amateur company has with eighties costumes – and squeezing all those dance routines onto the Church Hill’s stage.

Out at the Brunton Theatre, Catherine Wheels have the premier of their new touring production Pobby and Dingan (Friday/Saturday). Adapted by Rob Evans from Ben Rice’s book, this is billed as “a heartbreaking and beautiful contemporary tale about the possibility of dreams, the preciousness of hope and how, sometimes, we have to believe in the impossible.” Suitable for children aged eight and over – this was filmed as Opal Dream in 2006.

Finally, Edinburgh Studio Opera are at the Pleasance Theatre with Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Saturday – Wednesday 3 March). Often seen as a Czech version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this was actually 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.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.