Tag Archives: Brunton Theatre

Theatre Review: Mother Goose, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

19 Dec

Mother Goose at the Brunton Theatre


Fully embracing the tried and trusted panto formula – the knowing recycling of a classic fairytale with a familiar riff on tried and tested jokes giving them momentum – Brunton Theatre may not be reinventing the wheel in 2010 with its staging of Mother Goose, but when something works this well, why change it?

A distinctly Scottish flavour is added to the Mother Goose story, as Prince Jack (Gerry Kielty) looks to revive his crumbling castle with the proceeds made from selling a golden egg. A spanner is thrown into the works when the evil Vainglorious (Edward Cory) decides he wants to marry the bonniest lass in Musselburgh, Jill (Julie Heatherill), resulting in various mishaps and kidnappings involving Jill and the egg.

Helping (or is that hindering?) Jack are Mother Goose aka Gertie Ga Ga (Craig Glover, back for a second year as Dame) and her jester, Muddles (Aaron Usher), as romance blossoms and evil threatens the land.

One-liners, convoluted plot summaries and ludicrous set pieces are the name of the day here, the whole endeavour hanging together thanks to the sheer enthusiasm of the performers and an audience willing them on.

The central pairing of Glover and Usher is the heart of the show, Usher revelling in the corny jokes and banter with the crowd. Now in his tenth Brunton panto, there can’t be a permutation on the role of “daft laddie” that Usher hasn’t covered, yet he’s still fresh as ever, no doubt egged on by Glover’s gloriously OTT performance and even more OTT costumes.

Throw in songs spanning the last five decades, a few nods to reality TV and Doctor Who (even the recent Doctor Who Proms are referenced, proving nothing is too obscure) and more than a few mentions of Musselburgh itself, and this is a show with something for grannies, grandchildren and most family members in between.

The rather abrupt wrapping up of plot threads and hasty ending aside, this is yet another triumph for the Brunton and a reminder that it’s worth braving the snow and ice when the entertainment is as much fun as Mother Goose.

Mother Goose runs until 31 December, details on the Brunton Theatre website.


Theatre Preview: Funny: Don’t Make Me Laugh, 6 February, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

20 Jan

Funny: Don’t Make Me Laugh, a terrifying new play based on real reports, is an ambitious project that sets out to explore the power of humour as torture.It comes to the Brunton Theatre  in Musselburgh on Saturday 6 February as part of a Scottish tour.

A young Army officer perfects his comic techniques as a tool to extract information from Middle Eastern terror suspects who are trained to resist torture by way of meditation. As traditional interrogation methods fail, the UK Security Services enlist him along with a veteran comedian to use humour as a means of unsettling the detainees’ resolve.

Written by Tim Nunn, Funny was inspired by his experiences as a human rights campaigner, and stars Black Watch actor Jonathan Holt, Donald Pirie (Mancub, National Theatre of Scotland, River City) and Paul Cunningham (Macbeth, National Theatre of Scotland).

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Theatre Review: Sleeping Beauty, 1 December, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

2 Dec

Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre opens another Christmas cracker this year with its own spin on Sleeping Beauty, a fast-paced romp which updates the classic tale to modern day Musselburgh.

The tale revolves around young Sally (Julie Heatherill) who is the target of Grizzlebone the Witch (Lori McLean) and Wart (Stuart Ryan). As Grizzlebone tries to capture Sally on her 18th birthday, an intrepid band of friends get together to save her from certain death while Prince Duncan (Gary Lamont) dreams of one day marrying her.

Based on a story first published in 1697, this version peppers its script with cheeky modern references to Doctor Who (dropped off in the TARDIS, audience favourite Jamie McCrimmon (Arron Usher in a performance which never drops below 100mph) is named after a Doctor Who companion from the 60s), the Credit Crunch and Britain’s Got Talent. Alongside frequent asides to the audience, this is an unashamedly self-aware tale which both kids and their parents will find something to latch onto.

Of the cast, Julie Heatherill shines as the perky Sally, looking like she’d fit well into the cast of High School Musical 4. While her role may be rather thankless – always being whiter-than-white is never the most exciting character trait – her voice soars in the numerous musical numbers. Continue reading

Theatre Review: Sex and Chocolate, 11 September, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

12 Sep

I was lucky enough be able to watch a great one-woman show at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh last night, in my capacity as occasional reviewer for that esteemed local organ, The Edinburgh Evening News. The play was Sex and Chocolate by Rona Munro and starred Fiona Knowles.

I’ve never been to the Brunton, and haven’t been to Musselburgh itself for many years, but a pretty swift journey on the number 44 bus (it would have been swifter without the multitude of roadworks clogging up the city centre – do the council have no consideration for theatre goers?!) took me virtually to the theatre door.

Although the exterior is a bit severe (1960s architecture perhaps?) the interior is much more inviting, with the auditorium itself quite impressive in size. I was sat to the left of the stage and had an OK view, though the centre is clearly the place to be.

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