This is a Gilbert & Sullivan production to end all Gilbert & Sullivan productions. With such a diverse mix of theatre crafts being used so effectively, it’s difficult to imagine how it would have been done when Ruddigore was first performed in 1887 – or how the next company will manage to live up to such uninhibited creativity.
As with any amateur production, you can’t have it all, and with tickets to the professional opera among some of the most expensive in the arts, Edinburgh Grand Opera provides a uniquely affordable opportunity to see some impressive singers. Act quickly, because it won’t be long before one or two will have you paying top dollar for the same privilege.
If there’s ever a good time to start touring a rom-com, it’s got to be February. In typical “love could be around every corner” style, Alistair Rutherford’s latest play follows magician Tommy (Philip Kingscott) and a grumpy and stood-up Alison (Anna Guthrie) as they struggle to get on with their unsuitably matched and self-involved partners. As each relationship falls apart, they begin to wonder if there might have been a magical romance right in front of them all along.
Understated and delicate, this is a simple but carefully crafted feel-good production that will keep the inner child in each of us entertained in a world of happy fantasy – before it’s time to wrap up warm and return to the hard and normal-sized slog of the real world.
The Barber of Seville is a light opera that won’t win any awards for purging the souls of those watching. But if what is probably Rossini’s most famous opera has any notoriety about it, it’s that it really works its singers extremely hard. Full of speedy jumps, tremolos and a tongue-twisting libretto, The Barber of Seville is a prime example of Rossini’s work at its most challenging; he’s really showing off and he’s not afraid to do it.
Combined with the absence of audible language, the entire meaning of the production comes down to what the individual observer interprets it to be – which will no doubt be completely different to that of the person sitting next to them. The result is an eruption of post-show discussion as the audience return to their own Saturday nights, animatedly trying to piece together what they have just seen – which, beyond pure entertainment, is surely the primary role of theatre.
Kitson is a stand-up comic by trade which is clear by the nature of the performance; he is a lone performer against a bare set with occasional improvisations taking him momentarily off topic. But the real gem here, and no doubt the reason for the show’s 2009 Fringe First Award, is Kitson’s enthralling talent for storytelling.
This is a hilarious show with some genuinely mind-blowing tricks and prodigious skill that manages to get the whole sell-out audience laughing in amazement – from young children to pensioners.
Love, revenge and bullets in the buttocks from Rona Munro in yet another must-see at the Traverse.
While Scottish Ballet should be congratulated for once again creating a new production full of grand ideas and ambition, one can’t help but feel that somewhere in the production or rehearsal line something didn’t quite tie together.
Catherine Wheels fails to add anything new to this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is disappointingly received by the audience.