Tag Archives: King’s Theatre

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.

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Theatre Preview: Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, 22 – 27 February, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh‏

18 Jan

Lee Mead, winner of the BBC’s hit show Any Dream Will Do, makes his drama debut starring in Bill Kenwright’s production of Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, which appears at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 February.

Lord Arthur Savile is deliriously happy: a pillar of Victorian society on the verge of marriage to the lovely Sybil Merton, when a brief departure from late Nineteenth century convention leads him to an encounter with a chilling clairvoyant called Podgers.

Podgers secretly reveals that at some point in Arthur’s life, he is destined to commit murder. To protect his future wife, Arthur decides he must commit this bloody deed before he marries.

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Theatre Preview: Tons of Money, 2 – 7 February, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

3 Jan

Caroline Langrishe and Christopher Timothy lead an all star cast in the new production of Alan Ayckbourn’s National Theatre comedy Tons of Money at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre from Monday 2 to Saturday 7 February.

Inventor Aubrey Allington has inherited a fortune which, on his death reverts to his cousin George Maitland. As cousin George is thought to have died abroad, Aubrey has the brilliant idea of “dying” so that he can resurrect himself as his cousin and thus avoid payment of his own enormous debts.

Complications arise in the form of George’s wife, another Maitland impostor (the butler’s brother) and finally the real George himself…

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Theatre Preview: An Ideal Husband, 10 – 15 November, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

19 Oct

Dynasty diva Kate O’Mara will join a glittering cast of some of Britain’s top notch actors to reprise the role of the devilish Mrs Cheveley next month as Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband takes to the stage of the King’s Theatre.

Showcasing characteristic Wildean wit, An Ideal Husband charts the clandestine ins and outs of London society when Cheveley attempts to blackmail British Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Sir Robert Chiltern (the original Robin of Sherwood, Michael Praed).

Threatening to expose him to his wife as a fraudster who sold a cabinet secret to boost his own fledgling career she sets about to use Chiltern’s growing parliamentary influence to her own financial ends.

Will Mrs Cheveley succeed in her devious doings or can Sir Robert uphold his image of an Ideal Husband? Find out at King’s 10-15 November.

Preview by Katie Smyth

Full details available on the King’s Theatre website.

Read the itsonitsgone.com review of An Ideal Husband

Theatre Preview: All Quiet on the Western Front, 28 Oct – 1 Nov, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

12 Oct

Anti-war saga All Quiet on the Western Front comes to Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre from Tuesday 28 October to Saturday 1 November. Starring James Alexandrou (EastEnders) and David Cardy (Birds of a Feather) star as the young German fighter whose idealism is just the first casualty of war and the seasoned veteran who becomes his closest comrade.

Based on the 90-year-old novel of the same name, the play focuses on schoolboy Paul Baumer and his friends as they are embroiled in the atrocities of the First World War.

First published as a magazine serial in 1928, All Quiet on the Western Front was based on its author’s own experiences of the trenches as Erich Maria Remarque was drafted into the German Army at the age of 18 and sent to the Front, where he was wounded on several occasions. A 2005 poll in which UK book groups nominated titles that would endure as classics placed it in the top ten while the 1930 film adaptation won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.

Prices and booking details are now up over at the King’s Theatre website.

Theatre Review: Sunset Song, 30 September, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

1 Oct

Sunset Song, the first instalment of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s highly regarded Scot’s Quair trilogy has always been plagued by an identity crisis of sorts. At the time of its 1971 BBC adaptation the novel was facing consignment to the literary graveyard as its life in print seemed under threat.

Thanks to the success of that screenplay however and a guaranteed place on secondary school library shelves the past three decades have seen a revival in its fortunes, peaking in 2005 when it was voted Best Scottish Book of All Time.

Now, as His Majesty’s Theatre company reaches the penultimate leg of its national tour at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre, Sunset Song reaches out to a new audience, challenging them to inspect and re-evaluate their own relationship with their land and heritage.

A sense of schizophrenia abounds at the heart of the production with Grassic Gibbon’s protagonist Chris Guthrie constantly referring to two Chrises. There’s the Chris bound to a life of toil on the land of her parents’ farm in the Howe o’ the Mearns and then there’s the second Chris, the Chris lauded as the family’s scholar and encouraged by her father to stick to her books with the promise of a liberating career in teaching.

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Theatre Preview: Sunset Song, 30 September – 4 October, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

31 Aug

Here’s a blast from the past: a new adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song, a book well-remembered by myself as a staple of English classes in High School, comes to Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre from Tuesday 30 September – Saturday 4 October.

The first of Gibbon’s A Scots Quair trilogy, Sunset Song provides an insight into the life of a young woman growing up in rural Scotland in the 1920s and 30s. Her story, and that of those around her, reflect wide-reaching issues – the affects of war, national identity and the impact of modern ways on rural life are dealt with unflinchingly.

Hannah Donaldson plays the central character of Chris Guthrie with Joyce Falconer, Alan McHugh, Finn Den Hertog, Rod Matthew, Sally Reid and Graeme Stirling also star in the play.

Full details are available on the King’s Theatre website.

Read the itsonitsgone review of Sunset Song