Preview of the week Mon 27 May – Sun 2 June

May 27 2013 | By More

What’s on in Edinburgh’s Theatres over the week ahead.

The Pirates of Penzance. Scottish Opera and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Photo credit KK Dundas.

The Pirate King (Steven Page) and his shipmates in Scottish Opera’s Pirates of Penzance. Photo credit KK Dundas.

Compiled by Thom Dibdin

There’s a busy but rather bitty week ahead for theatregoers in Edinburgh with plenty of new shows opening – or arriving in town – but few on for more than a day or three.

The big exceptions – and they certainly are big – are at the Playhouse and the Festival Theatres. At the Playhouse, this week is the last chance to see the impressive touring production of Ghost the Musical, while Festival Theatre welcomes Scottish Opera for its hotly anticipated four-night, five-show stand of The Pirates of Penzance, the national opera company’s thrilling new co-production with D’Oyly Carte.

The National Theatre of Scotland are in town, too, with the revival of Calum’s Road which tours to the Brunton for two nights on Friday and Saturday. Prior to that, on Thursday, the Musselburgh theatre welcomes storyteller Mike Moran with his well-reviewed fringe hit, Platero. Travels with a Donkey.

The hot money, however, is at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, where local youth drama group Strange Town are bringing two productions this week. It is a bold young company which really promotes new writing and has two of the Traverse Fifty writers on hand. Alan Gordon’s bleak Follow Me is on Monday and Tuesday while Sam Siggs’ humorous Small Creatures is on Friday and Saturday. The theatre is also host to End to End on Thursday, an intriguing play about travelling the length of the UK.

In the week that the full Fringe Progamme is announced – on Thursday – it seems fitting that the Traverse is also welcoming a previous fringe hit, this time with the Fringe First-winning Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? written by Peter Arnott for the Peperdine University, which is in Trav 2 on Friday and Saturday. After last week’s brilliant Beckett, this week is for dedicated to Flann O’Brien: the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company complete their trilogy of adaptations of his books with The Poor Mouth, on from Thursday to Saturday in Trav 1.

The King’s Theatre goes all 70s retro midweek, with a one-off performance of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells ‘For Two’the third of last year’s fringe hits, and this time with a Herald Angel amongst its glowing five-star reviews. Over next weekend the King’s is host to Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, based on the Channel 5 show for pre-school kids.

On Friday, the Lyceum hosts the dance students from Performing Arts Studio Scotland at Edinburgh’s College with their annual end-of-year production, Cross Currents 2013, which, if it lives up to previous years, should be a stomping night out for dance fans.

Listings Mon 27 May-Sun 2 June 2013:

Brunton Theatre:
Platero. Travels with a Donkey
Scottish storyteller Mike Maran teamed up with Georgian puppeteer Nino Namitcheishvili to create this stage version of Platero y Yo by Spanish Nobel Laureate Juan Ramón Jiménez.
The original book is a series of short prose poems painting an affectionate portrait of Moguer, a small town in the Andalusian countryside where the poet lived with Platero, his little silver donkey, at the turn of the last century. In 1960 the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco wrote a suite of classical guitar music for the great classical guitar player, Segovia, to accompany some of the stories and Craig Ogden, the Australian best selling artist, has especially recorded the music to accompany this production.
According to Maran, he originally conceived the idea for Platero y Yo in 2009 when he first met Nino Namitcheishvili: “I had always loved the stories for their simplicity and humanity and had thought about how to stage them. The music perfectly reflects the poetry of the stories but I felt it needed a visual element to go alongside the spoken word and the music. When I met Nino it all fell into place, especially when I discovered that the book had been translated into Georgian and was a favourite of hers.”
Tickets from the Brunton Box Office on 0131 665 2240.
Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Thurs, 7.30pm.

Calum’s Road
Communicado and the National Theatre of Scotland re-mount David Harrower’s adaptation of Roger Hutchinson’s book which was a hit when if first toured back in 2011. Alasdair Macrae, Ian Macrae, Ceit Kearney and Angela Hardie recreate their original roles and are joined by Lewis Howden and Ben Winger.
It tells the remarkable story of Calum MacLeod who, having battled the inaction of the authorities on Raasay for years, sets off alone with a pick, a shovel and a wheelbarrow to build a road that will connect his house with the rest of the island.
His daughter has been forced to board at secondary school on Skye and now Calum wants to turn the tide of neglect and indifference and keep his family – and his community – together. His unpaid labour of love dominated the last 10 years of Calum’s life and he left behind a legacy, both practical and poetic, carved into the landscape he loved.
Tickets from the Brunton Box Office on 0131 665 2240.

Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Fri/Sat, 7pm.

Edinburgh Playhouse:
A massive screen hit in 1990, Ghost had a generation in tears as Demi Moore’s heart broke over the loss of Patrick Swayze – and Whoopi Goldberg tried to help. Adding song and dance is a risky proposition: it worked brilliantly as a straightforward romantic drama. Can you keep the familiar beat of the story, while finding room for the kind of big numbers that get a live audience applauding – lush ballads, character-revealing tunes and the odd comedy song?
Read Martin Gray’s Four Star review of the production here: Puts the spectre into spectacular.
Tickets from
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Mon-Sat, 7.30pm (Wed/Sat mats 2.30pm), run ends 1 June.

Festival Theatre:
Scottish Opera: The Pirates of Penzance
Scottish Opera team up with D’Oyly Carte, with its century-long association with Gilbert and Sullivan, for a vibrant, stylish and hilarious new romp of a production of one of the famous duo’s finest scores – featuring the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a 39 strong cast and chorus.
“Having turned 21, Frederic should be contractually released from his apprenticeship to a band of pirates, but discovers his birthday is the 29th of February, a leap year. Taking his duty a little too literally, he decides it will be another 63 years before he’s really 21 and only Mabel’s promise to wait sustains him… A cleverly observed satire of Victorian morals and the ruling classes, this production brings the humour bang up to date with Python-esque twinkle.”
The Pirates of Penzance features some of Gilbert’s wittiest lyrics, not least the famous patter song I am the very model of a Modern Major-General while Sullivan mixes his usual catchy melodies with fine parodies of other opera composers – notably Verdi’s Il Trovotore in Come, friends, who plough the sea and You triumph now.
Tickets from:
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Tue, Thurs-Sat 7.15pm (Sat mat 2.15pm).

King’s Theatre:
Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells ‘For Two’
When Mike Oldfield released his Tubular Bells in 1973 it required more than 30 musicians to perform it. And Vivien Stanshall to intone the names of their instruments. Now it takes just a couple of Ozies.
This music-theatre production of the album was created by Aidan Roberts and Daniel Holdsworth in 2009. The Australian multi-instrumentalists perform over 20 instruments to recreate the original album ‘as faithfully as physically possible’. It made its European debut at the 2012 fringe, winning a Herald Angel and a clutch of five star reviews.
Tickets from:
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Wed 7.30pm

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom
Down amongst the thorny brambles in a little kingdom where “everyone is very very small”, the makers of Peppa Pig bring the first ever stage production of the Channel 5 pre-school kids show: Ben & Holly with a musical adventure packed full of games, songs and laughter.
“Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston the Ladybird clean up his messy cave, they go on a trip into The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum, even plan a surprise birthday party for King Thistle, and oops, let’s hope there’s not another jelly flood!”
Tickets from:
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Sat 1, 1pm, 4pm; Sun 2 10am, 1pm

Royal Lyceum Theatre:
PASS present: Cross Currents 2013
PASS at Edinburgh’s College has an excellent reputation for its accomplishments in dance and the annual Cross Currents show is one of the College’s highlights of the year.
The show features the choreographic work of dance teaching staff, working in a variety of dance styles. The student dancers range from foundation to degree level.
Tickets from:
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Fri, 8pm.

Scottish Storytelling Centre:
Strange Town: Follow Me by Alan Gordon
The 18-25 year-old members of the Young Company of local youth theatre Strange Town asked for a more challenging piece following their Christmas show. The result was Alan Gordon’s Follow Me which explores the on-going debate in the UK regarding same sex marriage through the eyes of a young girl who has recently committed suicide.
Gordon, who is being mentored by Playwrights Studio Scotland and is one of the Traverse Fifty, says of the show: “Seeking a break from the norm, the group requested material that was dark in tone with a non-naturalistic form. They didn’t want a traditional story about the problems of young adults but equally wanted it to reflect them. I instantly wanted to experiment and step completely out of my comfort zone as a writer to tell a modern story combined with elements of Greek Mythology. The final result is kind of a Facebook meets Aristotle mash-up.”
Tickets from:
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. Mon/Tue 7.30pm

End to End
In April 2012 three women made a daring and unusual journey from one end of Great Britain to the other on as many different forms of transport as possible with only one pound per mile. Trusting to their resourcefulness and the kindness of strangers they traveled the 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats to discover the real Britain. Upon return from their epic adventure they made End to End, about their experiences.
Hannah Stone, Artistic Director, says: “Some of the best forms of transport we got were in Edinburgh. A ride in a rickshaw, three of us plus our bags! The poor guy cycling looked exhausted by the time we’d finished. A story bike tour up to Arthur’s Seat and a big red London bus drive across the Forth Bridge. Stunning”
Tickets from:
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. Thurs 7.30pm

Strange Town: Small Creature by Sam Siggs
The second piece from Strange Town’s Young Company, this time written by Sam Siggs, who is another member of the Traverse Fifty. The result is a comic take on the absurdities of human nature – expect love, sex and all that goes with it. Contains strong language.
Tickets from:
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. Fri 7.30pm/Sat 2.30pm, 7.30pm

The Poor Mouth
Ireland’s Blue Raincoat Theatre Company return with their production of The Poor Mouth, the final part in a trilogy of original stage adaptations from the major novels of Flann O’Brien after The Third Policeman and At-Swim-Two-Birds.
O’Brien’s darkly satirical piece on the Irish, their language and their culture tells the sad and funny tale of Bonaparte O’Cloonassa, his adventures and triumphs – from the day of his birth through a series of bloodcurdling adventures, to his incarceration under a false murder charge.
Originally published in Irish in 1941 under the pseydonym Myles na gCopaleen, The Poor Mouth is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish-language novels of the 20th century.
Tickets from:
The Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street EH1 2ED. Thurs-Sat, 7.30pm – with post-show discussion on Friday.

Why Do You Stand There In The Rain?
Pepperdine University returns to Scotland with an expanded version (including two new songs) of their Fringe First-winning production by Peter Arnott originally commissioned for the 2012 fringe.
Based on the Bonus Army March of 1932 on Washington DC, Arnott’s play tells the story of what may have been the first Occupy Protest. 20,000 ragged and desperate First World War veterans and their families from all over the U.S. set up ‘Hoovervilles’ around the nation’s capital, to lobby Congress for the early release of a promised compensation package for services in the First World War.
Congress voted no and Hoover called upon MacArthur and Patton to drive the veterans out of the capital. Armed with bullets and tear gas, 1,000 infantry and cavalrymen pushed the veterans out of Washington DC burning everything they owned.
Tickets from:
The Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street EH1 2ED. Thurs/Fri, 8pm.


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