Preview & Listings Mon 25 – Sun 31 March 2024

Mar 25 2024 | By | Reply More

What’s on Edinburgh’s stages this week?

It’s another very varied week, with a couple of works in progress on Monday and Saturday; a wild take on Wilde; and two adaptations from Emma Rice: a Brief Encounter with EPT, and the final week of Blue Beard.

The big story of the week is the annual Easter Play which returns to West Princes Street Gardens on Saturday at 2pm with Easter – The Women’s Story (details). Always a spectacle, this year’s production tells the story of Easter from the perspective of 11 women whose lives were changed. Entry is free and unticketed.

The Easter Play ensemble from a previous year’s production. Pic: Grant Bulloch.

The production by Cutting Edge is on for only the one performance, but is one of the biggest amateur and grassroots productions of the year – certainly the largest al-fresco production. Directed by Suzanne Loftus, it features an amateur cast of over 40, with a professional actor playing Jesus.

Those Works in Progress couldn’t be more different. On Monday Oliver Giggins is at the Banshee Labyrinth with The Magician’s Ghost (Mon: tickets) – a tale of Harry Houdini and HP Lovecraft; while on Saturday the Tandem Writers Collective is at the Traverse with Introverts the Musical (Sat: tickets)

Giggins’ performance of The Magician’s Ghost is timed to mark the 150th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s birth (actually, March 24) in 1874. The play draws on the relationship between the acclaimed escape artist and and fantasy author Lovecraft, which began in 1924 who Houdini hired to ghostwrite a story based on a strange experience he had in Egypt, published as Under the Pyramid.

Introverts The Musical

Introverts The Musical is written by Amy Hawes and composed by Aaron McGregor, who performs the music with Jessica Kerr. Directed by Sarah Rose Graber, it tells of Debbie who loves her daughter Angela… so there’s no way she’s letting Angela become an introvert like herself.

Hawes says this is: “a musical about mental health, neurodiversity, family and fitting in. For anyone who’s ever been told they are too quiet – because introverts deserve musicals too!”

A scene from Blue Beard at the Lyceum. Pic: Steve Tanner

The wild Wilde is The Picture of Dorian Gray from Court Jester Theatre for two performances only at the Assembly Roxy (Fri/Sat: tickets). The production is adapted and directed by Samuel Clarke, most recently seen in the rather magnificent horror spoof Cam Die with Me.

Grassroots company Court Jester first came to prominence at EdFringe 2022, with Sex and Sculpture. This latest production is “An absurd retelling in the highest fashion of fast fringe theatre, with a lavishly low budget and scandalising style.”

Up at the Church Hill Theatre, EPT are staging the first of two Emma Rice adaptations available this week in the form of her version of Brief Encounter (Wed – Sat: tickets), the David Lean film, scripted by Noel Coward. We spoke to EPT director Jacqueline Wheble about the production here: EPT’s Encounter.

Down at the Lyceum, this week is the last chance to see Rice’s adaptation of the classic horror tale Blue Beard (Tue – Sat: tickets). Our reviewer Hugh Simpson said the production is ★★★★☆ Furiously funny. “A riotous combination of anger and dizzying theatrical invention,” he said, “it is troubling and messy in exactly the right ways.”

Handel’s Semele

There is opera on offer too, this week, as Edinburgh Studio Opera take on Handel’s Semele, (Wed – Sat: tickets) at the Pleasance Theatre. The story of the clashing lives of gods and mortals, Semele is about desire and passion that flames out of control, leaving destruction in its wake.

The production’s MD Kristine Donnan told Æ: “This work offers painfully beautiful arias, highly energetic choruses and vigorously violent full cast moments. We have excellent voices this year: some full bodied and very operatic; others beautifully baroque and serene.

“The Edinburgh University Chamber Orchestra have brought so much creativity and life to the music. There is truly something for everyone in the essence of this music from tranquillity to raucous moments on par with the heavy metal genre.”

Chloe-Ann Tylor with Ross Allan in Hot Dog. Pic: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

And that’s not all. This week’s lunchtime theatre at the Traverse is Hot Dog (Tue – Sat: tickets). Ellen Ritchie’s dark comedy about a young woman who is determined to be the life of the party is outwardly surreal. But it explores the aftermath of a traumatic event and how it feels to lose yourself when you thought you were only just beginning.

Kieran Hurley

Kieran Hurley is also at the Traverse, in a script-in-hand reappraisal of his first solo work, Hitch (Fri: tickets), an older Hurley asks what the spirit of political hope of his 2009 coming-of-age road movie for the stage might mean to us now – in an era like this one.

Also at the Traverse, the second year performance students of the Performing Arts Studio Scotland (PASS) at Edinburgh College take on The Grandfathers by Rory Mullarkey and Comment Is Free by James Fritz (Wed/Thurs: tickets) in a double bill that can be seen either separately or together.

Kevin Quantum is back at the Waldorf Astoria on Saturday (tickets) with his Edinburgh Magic show. And of course, the Festival Theatre continues to be the room where Hamilton happens (ends Sat 27 April: tickets). Our review: ★★★★★ The storm’s eye has handy hints on how to get tickets for this sold out show.

Listings for week ending Sunday 31 March 2024:

For next week’s listings look here: On Next Week.
The following week’s listings are here: On the Following Week.

Click on the name of the show or the Book here link to go to its ticketing site:

Assembly Roxy
2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU

We Are For Palestine (Medical Aid For Palestinians)
Mon 25 March 2024
Evening: 7.30pm (Central).
A live show raising funds for Medical Aid For Palestinians and UNWRA. Hosted by Gemma Cairney, spoken word and live music from Callum Easter, Jenni Fagan, Gavin Francis, Doug Johnstone, Kathryn Joseph, Kirstin Innes, Hannah Lavery, Kirsty Logan, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Denise Mina, Andres N Ordorica, Heather Parry, Michael Pedersen, Cailean Steed, SSHE, Irvine Welsh, Chitra Ramaswamy + more TBC. Some acts will appear by video stream. We hope to invite some Palestinian writers to contribute by video. In person event sold out. Livestream: Book here.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Court Jester Theatre)
Fri 29 – Sat 30 March 2024
Evenings: 7.30pm (Upstairs).
Join Dorian on a descent into debauchery. Court Jester Theatre explore the ‘Wildest’ side of Dorian and the darker side of Wilde as they expose Mr. Gray’s sensational secret. Why does he look so young? Why is he so unscarred by sin? And what became of that pleasant portrait Basil Hallward painted of him? Book here.

The Banshee Labyrinth
29-35 Niddry St, Edinburgh EH1 1LG, UK

The Magician’s Ghost
Mon 25 March 2024
Evening: 8pm.
A hundred years ago this year, renowned magician Harry Houdini hired a struggling scribbler called HP Lovecraft to ghostwrite a tale based on a strange experience he had in Egypt. A rehearsed reading/ work in progress performance of a new play by Oliver Giggins, telling the story of a friendship spanning the natural, the fictional and the supernatural. Book here.

Church Hill Theatre
33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.

Brief Encounter (EPT)
Wed 27 – Sat 29 March 2024.
Wed – Fri: 7.30pm, Sat, mat only: 2.30pm.
Æ Preview: EPT’s Encounter.
Edinburgh People’s Theatre with Emma Rice/Kneehigh Theatre’s re-imagining of Noel Coward’s film for the stage. Set in 1930s Britain where ‘doing your duty’ shaped your character, Alec and Laura’s haunting love story plays out at the same time as romances develop between the train station staff. Book here.

Festival Theatre
13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Hamilton
Run ends – Sat 27 April 2024
Mon – Sat: 7.30pm; Matinees Thurs, Sat: 2.30pm (+Tue 3 April)
Æ Review: ★★★★★ The storm’s eye.
The story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. Book here.

Leith Depot
138-142 Leith Walk EH6 5DT
EAS Scratch Night
Wed 27 March2024
Evening: 6.30pm.
Join members of Edinburgh Acting School Actors’ Gym as they showcase some material live on stage. Expect new work, existing work, unpolished and unfinished. Expect some note taking, some notepads in hand, expect a showcase scratch night in front of a supportive network of friends. Book here.

Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Blue Beard
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice.
Tue 12 – Sat 30 March 2024
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Mats Weds & Sat: 2.30pm.
Æ Review: ★★★★☆ Furiously funny
Blue Beard the Magician makes hearts flutter and pupils dilate. With a wink, a stroke and a flick – things just seem to vanish. Cards, coins, scarves… and women.  Emma Rice brings her own brand of theatrical wonder to this most beguiling and disturbing of tales. With her signature sleight of hand, Blue Beard explores curiosity and consent, violence and vengeance – all through an intoxicating lens of music, wit and tender truth. Book here.

Playhouse
18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014

Frankie Boyle
Sat 30 March 2024
Evening: 7pm.
Frankie Boyle’s on tour. Buy a ticket, because by the time he arrives, the currency will be worthless and you and your neighbours part of a struggling militia that could probably use a few laughs. Book here .

Pleasance Theatre
60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ.
Semele (Edinburgh Studio Opera)
Wed 27 – Sat 29 March 2024.
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Handel’s operatic rollercoaster through love, lust, and divine drama. Mortal princess Semele gets entangled with Jupiter on her wedding day, sparking heavenly jealousy and earthly disapprobation. As gods and mortals collide, Handel’s genius shines in a whirlwind of baroque arias and choruses that are as dazzling as the powerful desires at the heart of the story. Book here.

Traverse
10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404.

Hotdog (PPP)
Tue 26 – Sat 30 Mar 2024
Daily: 1pm (Trav 2).
Alone, dressed as a sausage in a bun and armed with only a bottle of lemonade, Hotdog is determined to be the life of the party. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Hotdog explores the aftermath of a traumatic event and how it feels to lose yourself when you thought you were only just beginning. Book here.

Pass Double Bill
Wed 27/Thurs 28 Mar 2024
Daily: 2pm/3.30pm, 7pm/8.30pm (Trav 2)
The Grandfathers by Rory Mullarkey. Delve into the intimate realm of personal warfare, unraveling the profound journey of individuals trained to defend their country. Comment Is Free by James Fritz. Centred around a journalist whose controversial opinions stir up a media storm and inflammatory behaviour provokes a malicious attack. Available as a double bill or individual shows. Book here.

Hitch
Fri 29 Mar 2024
One show 8pm (Trav 2).
Kieren Hurley’s critically-acclaimed debut solo show. A coming-of-age road movie for the stage, it’s a story of a strangers and service stations, of the search for community, and of jaded youth seeking hope in a failing world. Now, 15 years after its premiere, Hurley returns to this play, older, and in a much-changed world, to ask what its spirit of political hope might mean to us now in an era like this one. Work in progress; script-in-hand reading. Book here.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Introverts the Musical
Sat 30 Mar 2024
One show 8pm (Trav 2).
The first of the Tandem Writers series of short play readings expanding on their previous stories. Introverts! The Musical by Amy Hawes, with music by Aaron McGregor is about mental health, neurodiversity, family and fitting in. For anyone who’s ever been told they are too quiet – because introverts deserve musicals too! Book here.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, the Caledonian
Princes Street, EH1 2AB.
Edinburgh Magic
Sat 30 Mar 2024
Saturday evening: 6pm, 8.30pm (Versailles Suite)
Æ Review: ★★★★☆ Rosy
Kevin Quantum performs an hour of magic that’s fooled some of the most brilliant and creative people ever to have lived, often times with strong links to Edinburgh and Scotland. An elegant, intimate and quite astonishing evening of magic, mystery and wonder in one of Edinburgh’s most historic and enchanting hotels. Book here.

West Princes St Gardens
104 Princes Street EH2 3AA.
Easter – The Women’s Story
Sat 30 Mar 2024
One show 2pm.
This year, Edinburgh’s passion play will tell the story of Easter from a new perspective — through the voices of 11 women whose lives were changed. The large-scale community play, which has become a highlight of Easter weekend in the city, is staged by a cast of 40 actors of all ages and backgrounds. Free, further details here.

*NB: This is intended to be a complete listing of all public theatrical productions on in Edinburgh. If you are staging a show which is not listed, or a listing is inaccurate, please get in touch through the contact page, here.

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