Preview for the week: 8 – 14 February, 2010

Feb 8 2010 | By More

By Thom Dibdin

It’s music all the way this week with a couple of cracking shows on for limited runs. Up at the Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh University Footlights have Anything Goes, while Spymonkey’s Moby Dick arrives at the Traverse. Out at the Brunton, there are a trio of one-nighters for all tastes. And just to add depth, Connie Fisher is on her penultimate week at the Playhouse while The Price finishes up on Saturday at the Royal Lyceum.

If this year’s Footlights cast run true to the company’s form, then Anything Goes will be a very hot ticket when it opens tomorrow night up at the Church Hill Theatre and runs to Saturday. It is frothy, goofy comedy which still bears PG Woodhouse’s imprint, although his plot had to be rewritten due to a tragic instance of real life imitating art just weeks before the show opened in 1934, and Cole Porter’s glorious songs. You’re the Top, Anything Goes, I Get A Kick Out Of You and Blow, Gabriel Blow were in the original, while more recent rewrites have added a clutch of Porter classics from other shows, including You’re De-Lovely.

Music of a slightly less polished nature is the part of the hallmark of Spymonkey’s Moby Dick which opens at the Traverse for four nights from Wednesday. A gloriously comic retelling, or as the company themselves say “mis-telling”, of Herman Melville’s novel, it sees four actors trapped in the belly of a literary monster. As they ponder the irony of their fate they recount a story of Moby Dick, sparkling with their own fantastical flourishes. The novel’s epic examination of good, evil, fate and obsession is lost on them. And then, mysteriously, found on them again. Having received positive comparisons with the likes of Monty Python, the Marx Brothers, the Goons and the Carry On films, Spymonkey are a company worth making a big effort to see.

Out at the Brunton Theatre, there’s comedy, dance and misty-eyed reminiscing. On Monday, The Black Sheep stage an evening of lies, damn lies and silly Whigs for those who like Yes Minister, The New Statesman and The Now Show. The Joy Of Politics is an irreverent romp through the corridors of power and the cul-de-sacs of Quango. On Wednesday, the students and guest artistes of Ballet West arrive with their classic version of Tchaikovsky’s magical wintertime classic, The Nutcracker. A wonderful escape into magical worlds of snow, sweets and the Sugar Plum Fairy for children of all ages, this version is the last full-length work completed by Edinburgh-born Alexander Bennett. Finally, on Saturday, The Home Front Company present Keep Smiling Through. A show with a great deal of laughter, some tragic moments and, of course a chance to sing along.

Finally, a couple of five star shows continue their runs. At the Royal Lyceum, go and see Arthur Miller’s big hit The Price if you haven’t already. The production closes on Saturday after a hugely successful run and has provided a satisfying start to the year. At the Playhouse, Connie Fisher continues in The Sound of Music until 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.

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