About Me

My Photo
Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
View my complete profile


Blog Archive

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas show round-up 2013

The show:
The story so far: Once the reigning queen of the Glasgow panto, Elaine C Smith moved her court north in 2009 and was duly embraced by the good citizens of Aberdeen. Since then, her shows, with top-quality scripts by Alan McHugh, have gone down a storm.
What to expect: Traditional panto values plus much mirth as Barbara Rafferty plays the Wicked Step-Mother opposite Smith's Fairy Godmother.
Dates: 30 November–5 January.
If you like this, try: Sleeping Beauty, Eden Court, Inverness.

The show
: The BFG
The story so far: The Rep has a tradition of family-friendly Christmas shows with a strong narrative drive – and it's business as usual in this first winter season under the eye of joint artistic directors Philip Howard and Jemima Levick.
What to expect: Joe Douglas, star of his own Fringe hit Entertaining Ronnie, directs the Roald Dahl favourite in an adaptation by David Wood. Puppeteer Ross Mackay brings a special perspective on the outsize adventure.
Dates: 28 November–31 December.
If you like this, try: The Little Mermaid, Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy.

The shows:
The Selfish Giant and Irving Berlin's White Christmas: the Musical
The story so far: The EFT's chic new studio theatre should be a perfect fit for Wee Stories, one of Scotland's most gifted children's theatre companies, while the mainstage has a history of offering classy seasonal alternatives.
What to expect: Oscar Wilde's story about a giant whose garden remains in perpetual winter has a haunting power and a poignant moral. In this stage adaptation, actor/director Iain Johnstone promises music, magic and "some pretty extreme weather". The forecast is not quite so severe in the Berlin musical, which should prove one big romantic treat.
Dates: 3–24 December and 29 November–4 January.
If you like this, try: The LicketyTale of Molly Whuppie, North Edinburgh Arts Centre.

The show
: Peter Pan
The story so far: Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott have built up an unassailable reputation as the panto A-team, producing one of the country's most successful – and funniest – shows. Lest complacency set in, they're pulling out all the stops for the 2013/14 season.
What to expect: With a new creative team behind the scenes, this swashbuckling panto version of the JM Barrie classic promises a few surprises alongside the boos for Stott's Captain Hook, the cheers for Gray's Smee and the swoons for Stewart's Mrs Smee.
Dates: 30 November–19 January.
If you like this, try: Sleeping Beauty, Brunton, Musselburgh.

The show:
A Christmas Carol
The story so far: The Lyceum has built its festive reputation on high production values and strong narratives – and they don't get much stronger than Dickens's seasonal morality tale.
What to expect: Susan Boyle's vocal director Andrew Panton takes his place in the director's chair promising "lots of music and singing" alongside the fast-paced drama. Christopher Fairbank (Moxey in Auf Wiedersehen Pet) plays Scrooge.
Dates: 28 November–4 January.
If you like this, try: It's A Wonderful Life, Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

The shows:
Ciara and The Polar Bears Go Wild
The story so far: Never certain whether to go down the Christmas route or stick with the new writing it does best, the Traverse has taken to offering one thing to the adults and another to the kids.
What to expect: For the grown-ups, it’s a second chance to see Blythe Duff on exceptional form in David Harrower's Fringe hit about the daughter of a Glasgow gangster. For the under-fives, it's a chance to catch up with a much-loved Arctic adventure by Fish and Game first seen in Stirling last year.
Dates: 3–21 December and 5–21 December.
If you like this, try: The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot, MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

The shows: The Night Before Christmas and A Gay In A Manger
The story so far: Specialising in bijou fairytales for younger audiences and left-of-centre alternatives for the grown ups, the Arches keeps that underground vibe going for all ages.
What to expect: Much enjoyed on its first outing in 2009, Rob Evans's tale of a girl who has to help a lost elf get back to Father Christmas should delight the under-sevens. Catering to a somewhat different market, Tranny and Roseannah's X-rated romp is billed as "John Waters hosting a festive Noel’s House Party".
Dates: 4 December–5 January and 12–21 December.
If you like this, try: The Uglies, Oran Mor.

The shows:
The Jungle Book and Bauble Trouble
The story so far: It's a panto-free zone at the Citz, where seasonal storytelling theatre is the order of the day.
What to expect: Stuart Paterson, once ubiquitous on the Christmas-show circuit, has adapted the Rudyard Kipling favourite about a boy hanging out with the animals for this production featuring acrobatics, hip-hop dance and rap. The under-sixes should head to the Circle Studio for silly songs and slapstick.
Dates: 30 November–5 January and 4–29 December.
If you like this, try: The Snow Queen, Cumbernauld Theatre.

The show:
The story so far: One of the best-cast of the big-city pantos, the King's stands on a reputation for traditional glitz and daftness that goes back decades.
What to expect: With Karen Dunbar as the Slave of the Ring and Des Clarke as Wishee Washee, there'll be no shortage of laughs in this year's romp – that's when we're not cowering at the sight of Gavin Mitchell's Abanazar.
Dates: 6 December–12 January.
If you like this, try: The New Adventures Of Pinocchio, Pavilion, Glasgow or Dick McWhittington, SECC, Glasgow.

The show:
Red Shoes
The story so far: Usually too busy with contemporary art and cutting-edge performance to think about the festive season, the Tramway has undergone a Scrooge-like conversion with its first ever winter show.
What to expect: Pitching at younger children from non-Christian backgrounds, singer, dancer and actor Judith Williams plays Judy Two Shoes, a girl caught between duty and instinct as she wanders between city and forest.
Dates: 29 November–21 December
If you like this, try: The Edibles, Platform, Easterhouse.

The shows:
Peter Panto And The Incredible Stinkerbell and Remember December
The story so far: With a 25-year history of self-referential panto playfulness, the Tron has, of late, widened its remit to offer something for younger audiences too.
What to expect: Even though Johnny McKnight is playing the Dame in Stirling, he's found time to turn out this Glaswegian take on the JM Barrie classic which, safe to say, will be none too reverential. Meanwhile, the under-sixes can share the dilemmas of a girl who forgets to post her letter to Father Christmas.
Dates: 29 November–4 January and 30 November–24 December
If you like this, try: Beauty And The Beast, MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

The show:
The story so far: Final show before the theatre closes for a two-year refit and the last to be staged by artistic director Rachel O'Riordan before her departure to Cardiff.
What to expect: Written by the talented Alan McHugh, a veteran of the HMT panto, this rags-to-riches panto stars Helen Mackay in the title role being bossed around by Barrie Hunter and Michael Moreland as Luvvie and Darling, the ugly sisters.
Dates: 6 December–4 January.
If you like this, try: Pinocchio, Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline.
© Mark Fisher 2013 More coverage at Sign up for theatreSCOTLAND updates Sign up for theatreSCOTLAND discussion 

No comments: