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

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Heading For A Wedding – Review

✭✭✭☆☆  Laughs on the bridal path

Heading for a Wedding . Photo © EPT

Heading for a Wedding: Withering Sights. Photo © Robert Fuller

Church Hill Theatre
Wed 19 – Sat 22 March 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

There’s a great deal of fun to be had in Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s world premiere of Heading For A Wedding, an omnibus of adaptations of Moliere.

Writer JJ Mills has crafted new versions of four of Moliere’s shorter works, all dealing with the pursuit of women by men (and vice versa), with the requisite number of self-deluding older men pursuing younger women, young lovers who find obstacles in the way of their happiness, and resourceful servants.

The titles Mills has given the constituent parts, such as Withering Sights and Doctor’s Farrago, indicate

… Continue reading Heading For A Wedding – Review

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Grease – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   A smooth operation

Rachel McCorkell (Sandy) and the Pink Ladies. Photo © Richard Moir

Rachel McCorkell (Sandy) and the Pink Ladies. Photo © Richard Moir

Church Hill Theatre
Tues 11 – Sat 15 February 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

The Bohemians’ snappy and agile production of Grease fairly flies across the stage at the Church Hill, providing a great deal of deftness and dexterity allied to boisterous amusement.

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s 1971 musical tale of a US high school is best known, of course, through the 1978 film version, although the movie concentrates more on the central will-they-won’t-they romance between greaser Danny and new-girl-in-town Sandy to the partial detriment of other characters.

In truth, the film is preferable in some ways, with several of the best known numbers originating there; a couple of … Continue reading Grease – Review

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

In The Heights – Review

✭✭✭✭☆   Dynamic musical premiere

Edinburgh University Footlights Nitai Levi (Benny) & Kirsty Findlay (Nina). Photo © Daniel Harris

Nitai Levi (Benny) & Kirsty Findlay (Nina). Photo © Daniel Harris

Church Hill Theatre
Tues 11 – Sat 15 February 2014
Review by Hugh Simpson

Energetic, high-tempo and thrilling, the Edinburgh University Footlights’ Scottish premiere of In The Heights is a real treat.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical tells of life in the New York neighbourhood of Washington Heights, a largely Spanish-speaking area or barrio.

The action revolves around the store owned by Usnavi, and features the lives and loves of various characters along with the impact of modern America on their traditions.

Despite winning Tony awards on Broadway, the show has … Continue reading In The Heights – Review

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – The Sleeping Beauty

✭✭✭☆☆    Beautifully traditional

EPT's principals stand up for inspection. Photo © Graham Bell

EPT’s principals stand up for inspection. Photo © Graham Bell

Church Hill Theatre
Thurs 19 – Sun 29 December 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

Cheerful, traditional and heart-warming, Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s production of The Sleeping Beauty is a pantomime with the broadest possible appeal.

There is a good balance of music and comedy, while the script, which was originally written by former EPT member David Swan, scores over many pantos by actually telling the story in some detail rather than assuming it is already known to the audience.

Director Irene Beaver marshals a large cast with skill and … Continue reading Review – The Sleeping Beauty

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – A Christmas Carol: The Pantomime

✭✭✭☆☆   Assured musicality

Charles Dickens (George Mackie) and his son What-the Dickens (Johnny Gemmel). Photo © Mario Cruzado

Charles Dickens (George Mackie) and his son What-the Dickens (Johnny Gemmel). Photo © Mario Cruzado

Church Hill Theatre
Wed 4 – Sat 7 December 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

Accomplished and enjoyable, Balerno Theatre Company’s staging of A Christmas Carol – The Pantomime is an entertaining if ultimately somewhat patchy production.

That somewhat unwieldy title hints at a certain lack of decisiveness; despite being introduced by Charles Dickens, this is not the original story. Instead, it purports to be the story of Scrooge’s ‘nephew’ Russell Sprout.

It is never entirely clear why writers Audrey Jones, Hamish McCool and Michael Davies felt this change to be necessary, especially since much of … Continue reading Review – A Christmas Carol: The Pantomime

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – The Sorcerer

✭✭✭☆☆   Slight of hand

Fiona Main (Aline) and Darren Coutts (Alexis). Photo © Ross Main

Fiona Main (Aline) and Darren Coutts (Alexis). Photo © Ross Main

Church Hill Theatre
Tue 29 Oct – Sat 2 Nov 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

Fun and frothy, there is little to deconstruct in Edinburgh G&S Society’s entertaining and distinctly slight production of The Sorcerer, which is at the Church Hill theatre to Saturday.

Posh boy Alexis, son of Sir Marmaduke, is to marry his one, true love: posh girl Aline, daughter of Lady Sangazure, in their sleepy West Country backwater of idyllic English rural village life at the end of the 18th century.

Of course all the villagers are very happy for the occasion and sing the couple’s praises fulsomely – particularly when Aline drops the choristers a few coins. … Continue reading Review – The Sorcerer

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – The Steamie

✭✭✭✭☆  Extremely funny revival

Joan Hunter, Mandy Black, Sheila Somerville, Ronnie Millar and Sarah Howley in EPT's production of The Steamie at the Church Hill Theatre Photo © Robert Fuller

Joan Hunter, Mandy Black, Sheila Somerville, Ronnie Millar and Sarah Howley. Photo © Robert Fuller

Church Hill Theatre
Wed 23 – Sat 26 October 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s revival of The Steamie, which plays at the Church Hill Theatre until Saturday, is thoroughly successful and very, very funny.

Tony Roper’s nostalgic play about four women gossiping on a 1950s Old Year’s Night, in the last days of the Glasgow wash-houses, has become a bona fide modern classic.

Not only do productions seem to spring up everywhere, they now appear as likely as Shakespeare to be attended by groups who are studying the play at school.

This near-ubiquity can make it difficult for a production to … Continue reading Review – The Steamie

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – Sweet Charity

✭✭✭☆☆   Enjoyably ambitious

Rich Mans Frug Photo © John Wood

The “magnificently done” Rich Mans Frug. Photo © John Wood

Church Hill Theatre
Tue 15 – Sat 19 October 2013
Review by Hugh Simpson

Consistent entertainment and a high level of skill mark out Allegro’s production of Sweet Charity at the Church Hill all this week, despite the occasional mis-step.

The tale of Charity Hope Valentine, a nightclub hostess who remains optimistic despite a series of romantic misadventures, may have seemed black-hearted and somewhat shocking when it first appeared.

However, to a more cynical modern audience, there needs to be … Continue reading Review – Sweet Charity

Church Hill Theatre | Reviews

Review – Showcase: Musical Diversity

✭✭✭✭☆  Bold choices, big voices

Who's this? Louise Hunter in red with the dancers in Showcase 2013: Musical Diversity. Photo © Mark Cassidy

Who’s this? Louise Hunter in red with the dancers in Showcase 2013: Musical Diversity. Photo © Mark Cassidy

Church Hill Theatre
Tue 24 – Sat 27 Sept, 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

There’s no disputing the title of Showcase’s latest adventure into the world of pop, rock, musicals and music from films and TV. Musically, diversity runs right through it.

And, once it gets going, that diversity makes for a some truly scrumptious offerings – both through juxtaposition and through the sheer chutzpah of what is on offer. There’s even a Dr Who sequence.

Not to mention some great staging, solid work from lighting designer Calder Sibbald to give each number a unique and appropriate feel, and what you might call “special” elements to the wardrobe. … Continue reading Review – Showcase: Musical Diversity