Tag Archives: Edinburgh

Theatre Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

13 Dec

Jack and the Beanstalk

★★★★

As the year draws to a close, and I look back on the last few months of blog posts and realise I’ve spent far too little time at the theatre recently, it’s good to know that a bit of fun has been injected back into Edinburgh with the arrival of panto season.

Last week I went along to Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre to see the new Allan Stewart/Grant Stott production of Jack and the Beanstalk, this time with an added dash of Andy Gray, who returns to the city after three years in Glasgow panto.

Making a stunning entrance as Dame May McTrot, Stewart drops effortlessly back into the role of panto matriarch. It’s one he’s honed to perfection over the years, the actor a safe pair of hands in a production which tries to get bigger and flashier every year but which really just needs a bloke in a dress to work.

Andy Gray is also on fine form as King Crumble, sizing up to Stewart on more than one occasion as the pair try to outdo each other in the fluffed and forgotten lines stakes. It’s hard to know where the ad-libs and improvisation start and end, both of them falling in and out of character as they wait for their next line, but it all adds to the entertainment.

Grant Stott is also on good form as the evil Fleshcreep, doing the work of the evil giant (a semi-successful animatronic prop which dominates the stage for an over loud and overlong period of time), but it’s easy to lost track of quite why the giant is being so evil. There’s some fluff about unpaid taxes requiring the kidnap of Crumble’s daughter, Princes Apricot (Jo Freer), but none of it makes too much sense in all the rush.

Freer makes for a perky princess, most of her scenes taking place opposite romantic lead Andrew Scott-Ramsay, who does well with the pretty thankless role of Jack McTrot. Scott-Ramsay replaces Johnny Mac this year in the role of Stewart’s son, with the 2010 version a more serious portrayal. The part of the bumbling oaf is instead given to Gray, leaving Scott-Ramsay with the occasional one-liner.

References to reality TV and shiny floor shows abound, and if you don’t know your Wagner from your Gillian McKeith you’ll be slightly left in the cold. The appearance of Gray as one half of Stavros Flatley (Britain’s Got Talent) does redeem this situation somewhat, a sketch which proved to be one of the highlights of the evening.

Throw in a few song and dance routines and a bit of business with audience members, plus obligatory references to the Edinburgh trams, and this is a tremendous evening’s entertainment which won’t disappoint.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs until Sunday 23 January 2011. Visit the King’s Theatre website for more information.

Film Preview: Christmas at Our House, 13 – 24 December, Filmhouse, Edinburgh

30 Nov

A Muppet Christmas Carol

I don’t need much of an excuse to get a Muppet-related item on this blog, so thank you to Edinburgh’s Filmhouse for arranging a short season of Christmas-themed films in December, one of which is surely the ultimate retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A Muppet Christmas Carol.

The cinema will be screening six films in total, beginning with the Muppets on 13 December and finishing with the Raymond Briggs Trilogy on Chrismas Eve.

In between you’ll find the Alastair Sim version of Scrooge, Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, the-not-that-Christmassy-but-we’ll-let-them-off The Wizard of Oz and White Christmas (I’m not dreaming of one if it means the train schedules get scuppered this year), all of which should warm the cockles of even the hardest hearts this festive season.

Full details can be unwrapped on the Filmhouse website, meanwhile here’s that Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody video taking the Internet by storm…and you can add your vote to have it released as a Christmas single via Facebook.

And if that’s got you in a particularly Muppety mood, you could do far worse than set aside some time to watch one the finest Jim Henson productions ever made, A Muppet Family Christmas – if you haven’t seen it, you’ve missed a treat…just watch out for the icy patch!

Edinburgh Fringe Review: Hangover

9 Aug

David Elliot in Hangover

David Elliot in Hangover

*****

As someone once said, clichés only become clichés because they’re true. In the case of modern Scottish theatre there are some elements which can be relied upon to be wheeled out to signify that they’re both modern and gritty – see if you can spot them in the synopsis for new play Hangover:

Danny is a drink-sodden, foul mouthed wide boy with little regard for the opposite sex who would rather spend a night on the town with his latest floozy than his estranged son.

Recovering from a booze-laden night out, Danny wakes to find his memory more than a little hazy, his car in a bad state and his friend intent on him remembering his actions.

Written by and starring David Elliot as Danny, Hangover may embrace the clichés of the alcohol loving Scotsman but the skill of the piece is its ability to merely use them as the set-up to an intriguing look at the repercussions of what can happen when you deny responsibility for your own actions.

Continue reading

Theatre Review: The Man Who Had All the Luck, 17 January, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

18 Jan
Image by Douglas MacBride

Image by Douglas MacBride

Can a person have too much luck? Is there a point when everything that has gone well must be tainted or destroyed? Or do we simply make our own luck in life? These are the questions at the centre of the Royal Lyceum’s new adaptation of Arthur Miller’s 1940 play, The Man Who Had All the Luck.

David Beeves (Philip Cumbus) is a young mechanic in America’s Midwest during the Depression. In love with local girl Hester (Kim Gerard), David is forbidden to see her by the girl’s father (Peter Harding) who, moments later is tragically killed in a car accident.

Free to marry Hester, everything David touches soon turns to gold as those of the people around him slowly seem to fall apart, leaving him to wonder if something bad is going to happen to him to make up for all the good in his life.

Continue reading

Film Preview: Bruce Campbell in Person, 5 February, Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh – Updated

5 Jan

My Name is Bruce

This is a biggie for film and TV fans not only in Scotland but around the UK: Bruce Campbell will be appearing in person at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema for one night only to promote his new film, My Name is Bruce!

Bruce will be in town as part of a promotional tour which will see him appear post-screening at only two venues in the United Kingdom, and Edinburgh is one of them.

One of my personal favourite Bruce appearances is in the short-lived but much loved Adventures of Brisco County Jr TV show, though he’s also worshipped appreciated by many for the Evil Dead trilogy, Bubba Ho-Tep, Maniac Cop, the Spiderman films, some superb episodes of Homicide: Life on the Streets and a long list of other cult classics.

This will likely sell out in seconds, with fans travelling from far and wide for the screening – subscribe to the itsonitsgone.com email and I’ll let you know more as soon I hear it.

Update 6 January: the Cameo have now announced that the screening will take place on Thursday 5 February 2009, tickets to go on sale on Monday 12 January.

Update 7 January: the latest from those nice people at the Cameo is that, barring last minute attacks by skeletons from the Middle Ages, tickets will go on sale at 11am on Monday 12 January. Sales will be by phone on 0871 704 2052 or in person at the box office but NOT online. There’s also due to be a Bruce Campbell Q&A post-screening. Please note that all this is subject to change – I’ll let you know more when I hear it…

Update 12 January: Gone in 13 minutes. No, that’s not some ropey sequel to a Nic Cage movie but the amount of time it took for tickets for Bruce Campbell’s Edinburgh appearance to sell out. Not bad considering sales were only by phone and in person. Ian Hoey, manager of the Cameo, says that a second screening is “being considered” for those that missed out, but that nothing is certain just now. He also says he has something “very special” planned for the film’s introduction…

Update 14 January: I’ve got a bit of exclusive news (it’s not even up on the Cameo website yet!): As I mentioned above, huge demand on Monday resulted in the tickets for the screening of My Name is Bruce followed by the Bruce Campbell Q&A selling out in a Cameo record of 13 minutes.

To try and ease some of the disappointment felt by those who missed out on tickets, the cinema have managed to arrange an additional screening of My Name is Bruce immediately following the sellout show.  They are very hopeful that Bruce Campbell will remain after the Q&A to personally introduce this second screening!

Details are currently being finalised though the expected show time is around 9 or 9.15pm.

Tickets will go on sale at 11.00am on Monday 26 January and will be via the phoneline on 0871 704 2052 or in person at the box office only. Prices are £7.50 Full/£6.00 concession/£5.00 members.

In addition they’ll also be screening Bubba Ho-Tep as a late-nighter on the two days following this event.

This is fantastic news – two screenings introduced by Bruce Campbell in one night…we shall never see such excitement again?

I know this post is still getting a lot of traffic so if you are attending either screening, or are coming a long distance, please leave a comment below as I’d love to know who’s out there!

Updated 26 January: As of 4.30 today there were still 80 tickets left for the 9.15pm screening which the Cameo have now confirmed will be introduced by Mr Bruce Campbell…

Updated 29 January: As of 12.30 today there are only 19 tickets remaining for the Bruce Campbell introduced second screeing of My Name is Bruce… tickets can only be bought in person at the box office or on the booking line 0871 704 2052.

Updated 30 January: The second screening is now SOLD OUT but I’ve got two tickets to give away thanks to the Edinburgh Evening News and the Cameo!

Final Update(?) 5 February: Bruce Campbell in Person review

As ever, subscribe to the itsonitsgone.com email and I’ll let you know more as soon I hear it.

(Thanks to Ian at the Cameo for the heads-up)

More details are over on the Cameo website.

Meanwhile here’s a trailer for My Name is Bruce:

Theatre Review: Mary Rose, Until 15 November, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

31 Oct

With Halloween upon us, it seems apt that Edinburgh’s Lyceum theatre should decide to mount a ghost story to play in the weeks surrounding 31 October. JM Barrie’s Mary Rose, first staged in 1920, may not be as well known as his enduring classic, Peter Pan, but the decision to revive another of the writer’s classics for a new generation is admirable.

The play tells the story of a family who preserve a dark secret known only to the mother and father of eighteen-year-old Mary Rose. As she announces her intentions to marry friend of the family Simon, the girl’s parents decide to tell him something that they’ve never even told their daughter, a fact that has haunted them for a decade and which will have repercussions for years to come.

Reputedly Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite play, and one which JM Barrie allegedly claimed not to truly understand himself, this is not a story with a clear start, middle and end. In part this is due to the non-linear style, events starting in the “present” day of 1918 and before moving back and forth to cover past happenings. Clarity isn’t exactly forthcoming when the main problem afflicting Mary Rose becomes apparent, Barrie deciding to opt for a mysterious air rather than explaining anything to a curious audience.

Themes present in Peter Pan rear up again here, the idea of a lost childhood so present in that tale quite stark in this one. Mary Rose is a tragic character, albeit one with boundless energy and optimism, and the pain felt by both her and those around her is palpable in this production.

Continue reading

Theatre Preview: Macbeth, 12 September – 11 October, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

25 Aug

Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre is bringing out the big guns for the launch of its new season this September, with a staging of Shakespeare’s Macbeth from 12 September – 11 October.

Upon his victorious return from battle, Macbeth (Liam Brennan) is met by three witches who give him a tantalising prophecy for his future – he will acquire great power in his homeland, firstly as Thane of Cawdor and then as King of Scotland.

Alongside his ambitious and scheming wife (Allison McKenzie), their thirst for ultimate power begins to take control, setting the scene for a bloody royal coup. Driven by a fear of losing his new kingdom, Macbeth centres on the building tensions, paranoia and fear that lead to violence and murder…

A co-production with the Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company, Macbeth is directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace.

Visit the Lyceum website for full details and booking information and to watch the new trailer (see link below).

Macbeth Trailer

Update 15 September: Read the itsonitgone.com Macbeth review