Reviews | Traverse

A Perfect Stroke – Review

✭✭✭✭✭     Perfectly stroked

Anita Vettesse, Dani Heron and Scott Reid. Photo © Oran Mor

Anita Vettesse, Dani Heron and Scott Reid. Photo © Oran Mor

Traverse Theatre
Tue 8 – Sat 12 April 2014
Review by Thom Dibdin

Tense and nervous drama of the kind that just won’t relax comes to the Traverse this week in the second instalment of the Spring 2014 season of lunchtime theatre A Play, A Pie and A Pint.

Writer Johnny McKnight, who has six seasons of successful pantomime at the macrobert in Stirling under his belt, is best known for his comedy – and this certainly sets out as such.

But he also knows how to write the sort of drama that will have you squirming in your seat at the truth and suspense of it all. Which is exactly where he has gone with this brilliant piece of lunchtime theatre. … Continue reading A Perfect Stroke – Review


Hairspray – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   Depth and pleasure

Laura Flynn and Alex Gordon. Photo © Mark Gorman

Laura Flynn and Alex Gordon. Photo © Mark Gorman

Wed 9 – Sat 12 April 2014
Edinburgh Academy
Review by Thom Dibdin

It’s Good Morning Baltimore at the Edinburgh Academy’s theatre all this week where the young members of the Forth Children’s Theatre are getting it right with a super production of Hairspray.

The stage adaptation of John Waters film of racial integration and triumph over body fascism, set in early 1960s Baltimore, has big tunes, big dance numbers and big characters coming out of its ears.

Fortunately, FCT is equally well-equipped with great young performers who, if their vocal equipment is not yet quite up to the … Continue reading Hairspray – Review

King's | Reviews

Princess Ida – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   Grace and frivolity

Rae Lamond and Susanne Horsburgh. Photo © Simon Boothroyd

Rae Lamond and Susanne Horsburgh. Photo © Simon Boothroyd

Tue 1 – Sat 5 April 2014
King’s Theatre Edinburgh
Review by Thom Dibdin

Uplifting grace and outmoded comedy combine in equal measures for the Edinburgh Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s new production of Princess Ida which plays at the King’s all week.

Written when Gilbert and Sullivan were reaching the peak of their popularity and just before the Mikadoreviewed at the Roxy Arthouse last weekPrincess Ida itself finds its own set of internal contradictions.

On the one hand Sullivan’s music is some of his best – it got contemporary tongues wagging in 1894 and still gladdens the heart. On the other, Gilbert’s plot is a tirade against female education that is based on … Continue reading Princess Ida – Review

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Boogie Nights – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  Patchy Fun

Magnus Hølvold and Jennifer Good. Photo  © Alan Potter

Magnus Hølvold and Jennifer Good. Photo © Alan Potter

Church Hill Theatre
Tues 1 – Sat 5 April 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Musically strong, Edinburgh Music Theatre’s Boogie Nights has some excellent moments but overall is a somewhat uneven proposition.

The storyline of Jon Conway’s 1997 musical is beyond flimsy. A group of young people who attend Boogie Nights disco in 1977; one of them, Roddy O’Neil, is an aspiring rock star who finds it difficult to stay faithful to his girlfriend Debs. The storyline is there to link together a string of 70s hits in what has been called the ‘original jukebox musical’.

Whereas some later examples of that genre have had contrived plot twists and character names which signpost … Continue reading Boogie Nights – Review


Once Was Human – Review

✭✭☆☆☆   Opening the door

Once Was Human - sill

A silhouette tank in Once Was Human. Photo © production

Hidden Door Festival, Market Street
Sat 29 March, Wed 2 April
Review by Thom Dibdin

On Edinburgh’s Market Street, in the vaults created along the edge of the Old Town, the ever-surprising Hidden Door festival has made its home for this week only.

It’s a place of experiment. Funky, amusing and sometimes frankly disturbed art installations make up the majority of the 24 found spaces. A couple of bars serve Stewart’s beers on tap alongside pop-up music venues and there’s even a cinema.

And the final vault, a huge gaping space by comparison with the rest of them, has been turned over to performance. This quite appropriate space is where Joel Mason has chosen to stage Once Was Human, his … Continue reading Once Was Human – Review

Reviews | Saughtonhall

Suddenly at Home – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  Subtle thrills

Bethany Laing (Ruth)  and Chris Mitchell (Helen Tenby). Photo © Sarah Howley

Bethany Laing (Ruth) and Louise Starkey (Maggie). Photo © Sarah Howley

Saughtonhall Church Hall
Wed 26 – Sat 29 March 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

There are some excellent performances and a great deal to applaud in Saughtonhall Drama Group’s production of Francis Durbridge’s thriller Suddenly At Home; even if the end result is enjoyable rather than truly gripping, it still makes for a highly pleasurable evening.

This is far from being a conventional whodunnit. We know very early on that Glenn Howard plans to murder his wife Maggie – partly for her money, partly to avoid moving to Bermuda – and pin the blame on her old boyfriend Sam. The intrigue comes mainly from his attempts to evade justice, and from a series of … Continue reading Suddenly at Home – Review

Assembly Roxy | Reviews

The Mikado – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  Flirting with celebration

Lucy Evans as Yum-Yum. Photo © Paul Alistair Collins

Lucy Evans as Yum-Yum. Photo © Paul Alistair Collins

Assembly Roxy
Tues 25 – Sat 29 March 2014
Review by Thom Dibdin

A hundred productions down the line, and the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group returns to the Mikado, the show which launched the company back in 1961 under the guidance of John Burgess.

Just as in 1961, when Burgess told a student reporter that he intended to give the Mikado a little brightening up as the copyright restrictions had finished, this year’s Mikado takes a new look at Gilbert and Sullivan’s most-performed piece.

And with a fitting nod to history, it is in 1961 that director Aidan Heald sets this, Eusog’s ninth production of the Mikado, which runs at Assembly Roxy’s … Continue reading The Mikado – Review

Lyceum | Reviews

Union – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  In rude health

Sally Reid (Grace). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Sally Reid (Grace). Photo © Tim Morozzo

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Friday 20 Mar – Saturday 12 Apr 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Bawdy, hugely ambitious and almost wilfully uneven, the Lyceum’s world premiere of Union should be applauded for its intentions even if the results are not wholly successful.

Tim Barrow’s timely new play combines the factual story of how a series of political intrigues on both sides of the border – coupled with the lure of hard cash – persuaded the Scottish Parliament to vote itself out of existence, with the fictionalised life of the young poet Allan Ramsay in the fleshpots and drinking dens of Edinburgh. … Continue reading Union – Review

King's | Reviews

Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   Classic, classy Christie

Liza Goddard (Miss Caroline Amory) and Robert Powell (Hercule Poirot) in Black Coffee. Photo © Keith Pattison

Liza Goddard and Robert Powell. Photo © Keith Pattison

King’s Theatre
Mon 24 – Sat 29 March 2014
Review by Martin Gray

The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, last seen presenting Go Back For Murder at the King’s in 2013, returns to Edinburgh with the only stage play the Queen of Crime wrote featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

And he has plenty of opportunity to flex those ‘little grey cells’ in a country house mystery which begins with an inventor and his stolen explosive formula. Said boffin, Sir Claud Amory, is swiftly dispatched while inviting his family and guests to return the paper, with poisoned coffee causing an apparent heart attack.

Soon Poirot and chum Captain Hastings are on the case, swimming through a sea of … Continue reading Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee – Review


Ghosts In A Garden – Review

✭✭✭✭✭   Concept comes good

Ghosts in a Garden

Andrew Brown (piano), Emma Morwood (Nurse) and Chris Elliott (Soldier). Photo © Thom Dibdin

RBGE Palm House
Sun 23 April 2014
Review by Thom Dibdin

Idiosyncratic and intriguing, the Love In A… series of pop-up operas staged around Edinburgh out of season by the International Festival always seemed like a great idea.

The first year saw a song-cycle based around literary themes, with soprano Emma Morwood and lyric tenor Chris Elliott falling for each other in libraries and book shops.

Last year a second, botanical, theme was added – with Emma and Chris’s love burgeoning among the flower beds of the Botanic’s new John Hope Gateway – among other places. … Continue reading Ghosts In A Garden – Review