What's On Around Glasgow and Edinburgh This Christmas
It's coming up to the busiest time of year in regional theatre and there's something for everyone across musical theatre, pantomime, dance and festive plays. Here are a few of our highlights in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh over the coming weeks:
Pantomime with a great big heart in Stirling and Glasgow:
It's pretty much the law that the festive period hasn't begun until Johnny McKnight has belted out some Mariah and this year he's doing it at Stirling's MacRobert theatre in Rapunzel from 22 November-31 December. McKnight writes both the MacRobert and Tron Theatre pantomimes and alternates starring in them from year to year.
The Tron panto has had a little shake up for 2019 with Cinderfella running from 27 November-5 January. The Tron Christmas show is always progressive and this year features an all female cast. Princess Charmaine is holding a ball and Cinderella knows she is the only person who can help her turn her life around- but the ball is for men only so she needs to go in drag. I have so much love for this panto and it always feels more like an original musical than a pantomime.
You don't have to look far to find a big ol' Scottish panto around Glasgow. Back again at Glasgow's King's Theatre Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac are performing Jack and the Beanstalk this year from 30 November-5 January. Gary Tank Commander is back again at the Clyde Auditorium with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. He's joined by the wonderful Doon Mackichan as the Wicked Queen and it is the biggest pantomime in the city and runs from 14-31 December. Websters Theatre has The Pure Amazing Wiz of Oz staged by Insideout Theatre and promises 'popular songs and good old Scottish banter' from 30 November-4 January.
Edinburgh's King's Theatre's annual pantomime is an institution- BroadwayWorld reviewer Fraser 'panto daft' MacDonald always cites it as one of his favourite festive productions. This year they're staging Goldilocks and the Three Bears and reuniting the much-loved cast of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott.
Another of my personal favourites is the Beacon Arts Centre pantomime in Greenock which again stars Still Game's Jane McCarry and Mark Cox from 6-31 December. This year they're doing Jack and the Beanstalk and the Beacon always puts on a wonderful traditional panto with absolute hilarity from Jimmy Chisholm and Lee Samuel.
Shows with festive charm:
If you're looking to get into the festive spirit but really can't stomach a panto then there are some non-audience participation options this Christmas. How The Grinch Stole Christmas comes to Edinburgh's Festival Theatre from 26 November-1 December. Based on the much-loved Dr Seuss book and starring Gregor Fisher as the narrator it looks like an excellent musical to bring the festive cheer. Pitlochry Festival Theatre is staging A Christmas Carol which has been adapted by Isobel McArthur and runs from 21 November-23 December.
Citizens Theatre is doing Pinocchio this year (staged at Tramway). Always a favourite of mine, the Citz Christmas show is always magical and the venue has a commitment to affordable ticketing which also makes this the best value in Glasgow. Elf: The Christmas Spectacular comes to the SSE Hydro for three performances from 14-15 December. The arena spectacular tells the story of Buddy the Elf who was raised in the North Pole and promises high octane stunts and the chance to take part in a massive snowball fight.
There are also a couple of slightly less festive options. Worldwide sensation The Lion King runs at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 5 December-29 March. Another show I have a huge soft spot for is We Will Rock You which has been long overdue another UK tour and is at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow from 9-28 December.
Scottish Ballet's festive offering at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh is The Snow Queen. Running from 7-29 December this world premiere brings the 50th anniversary of Scottish Ballet to a close. The Snow Queen is also at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow from 3-18 January.
For wee ones:
If your little ones are a bit too wee for panto, a couple of theatres in Glasgow have offerings for children aged 3-6. The Tron Theatre has Ali the Magic Elf which promises 'a gentle festive treat' and runs from 29 November-31 December. The Citizens Theatre (staged at Tramway) has The Lost Elves from 13-29 December which is an interactive show that will capture children's imagination.
What are you looking forward to seeing at the theatre over the festive period? Tweet us @BWWScotland !