Mary Woodward Review

My Fair Lady, Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

**** (4 stars)

“a resounding triumph”

I remember being bowled over by the 1964 film with Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, and Wilfrid Hyde-White.  The costumes and production design by Cecil Beaton showcased the whole glossy, glorious, glitzy display of English aristocracy at its imperious best.  How fascinating to see my reaction to the show live on stage now and realise just how much tastes and attitudes have changed in the intervening years.

The story centres around Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle who encounters phonetics professor Henry Higgins in Covent Garden.  He’s notating the different vowel sounds he hears in the people around him: she believes his assertion that he could teach her to speak so ‘correctly’ she could get a job in a flower shop.  She goes to his house, offering to pay for lessons: he decides to use her to prove his theory to his friend and fellow linguistics scholar Colonel Pickering – he will transform her and present her as a member of the aristocracy at the Embassy ball in a few months’ time. 

There’s a lot of hard work on Eliza’s part, a lot of bullying on Higgins’s, and a disastrous outing to the races at Ascot. Finally the deception succeeds: one person present at the ball is even convinced that Eliza is a member of the Hungarian aristocracy.  The two men are delighted with their success and completely ignore the exhausted Eliza. 

Finally, the worm turns, and Eliza leaves Higgins’ house, but not before giving him a piece of her mind.  He dismisses this in typical fashion – go to bed and have a little cry and you’ll feel better in the morning – before instructing her to make sure he gets coffee in the morning instead of tea.  He wakes to find her gone.  In his own constipated upper-class male way he realises he misses her, but though he is relieved to find that she is staying with his mother, he can’t bring himself to say so clearly, or to apologise for his behaviour.  Back at home, he is listening to one of his recordings of Eliza’s voice when she enters – has she come back to him? 

It’s a fabulous show, full of oh-so-familiar songs, and some very lively scenes: but oh my! it’s also unbelievably sexist, classist, intellectualist and just about everything else-ist you can think of.  

I found myself simultaneously appreciating Michael D Xavier’s impressive performance as Henry Higgins and enraged by what an infuriatingly arrogant, patronising male chauvinist pig he was.  So obviously convinced that men are inherently superior to women in every way; so convinced that women only exist to minister to him and meet his every need; so blind to the idea that every human being, no matter what their position in society may be, deserves to be treated equally and with respect; so much the antithesis of all I hold to be true – no wonder I found him hard to like.  At the same time, I have enormous admiration for the way he played this inherently unlikeable character – greatly helped, of course, by the dialogue and song lyrics which oh-so-subtly reinforce the message that ‘it isn’t my fault – I’m such a reasonable man at heart’.

I also struggled with the whole ‘gor blimey mate’ Cockney ‘loveable rogue’ scenes.  In a more ‘innocent’ [ignorant?] world, Stanley Holloway managed to carry the role off with a twinkle in his eye.  Viewed through 21st century eyes, Alfred Doolittle is an unlovable idler who’ll take advantage of anyone in any way that he can to ensure that he lives the life of Riley at someone else’s expense.  He’s even prepared to sell his daughter into elegant prostitution – which he thinks is the reason for Eliza’s presence in the Higgins’ household – if he can make a quid or few from it.  Small wonder Eliza doesn’t want to come to his wedding or, indeed, having anything to do with him if she can help it.   Adam Woodyatt did his best, but failed to convince me that there was anything to like about him.

Charlotte Kennedy, playing Eliza, seems to be fairly fresh out of theatre school – but obviously has a great career in front of her.  She did an excellent job of transitioning from graceless Cockney ‘sparrer; wistfully singing All I want is a room somewhere to the thrilled young woman pouring her heart out in I could have danced all night.   She more than stood up to Higgins, refusing to be cowed, determinedly sticking to the rigorous regime he forced upon her.  She blossomed into an elegant, poised young woman, articulate and self-possessed, and able to give as good as she got in argument with Higgins.  I was definitely rooting for her throughout, and silently cheered her final choice of action [which I’m not going to reveal].

John Middleton’s Colonel Pickering, though partly on Eliza’s side and mildly protesting about some of Higgins’ more outrageous demands, nonetheless accepts without question that Higgins’s inhumanity towards her is a necessary part of the whole process: nor does he in any way question the rightness of making such an ‘experiment’ in the first place.   There’s a lot of Male Bonding Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, too…!

Lesley Garrett, leaving the opera stage to tread the boards as Mrs Pearce, Higgins’ housekeeper, also had more sympathy for Eliza – but at the same time, she and the household staff were full of Poor Professor Higgins as he tormented Eliza night and day: not a hint of ‘poor Eliza’ seems to have entered anyone’s head.

For me, the two outstanding characters were Henry’s mother, played by Heather Jackson, and Freddie Eynsford-Hill, played by Tom Liggins.  Mrs Higgins plays a small but extremely significant part.  She initially views Eliza with some distaste, but becomes the only person among the moneyed and leisured class to see and value her.  She overcomes her initial resistance and takes her to her heart: she is concerned for Eliza’s welfare, staunchly upholding her in the face of her son’s protestations.  She points out that Henry only has himself to blame for Eliza leaving – in strong contrast to her son, who persists in seeing Eliza as something necessary to his comfort which he is entitled to possess.

Tom/ Freddie not only has a gorgeous voice which admirably suited On the street where you live but also was the perfect representation of an upper-class twit completely bowled over by Eliza.  She’s completely unlike any girl he’s ever met before, and he’s unable to do anything but hang around outside her house and bombard her with love letters.  It’s small wonder that Eliza seriously considers marrying him, and making something of both their lives, despite Higgins’ derision.

The sizeable ensemble were superb, switching effortlessly from cheery Cockneys to efficient servants to haughty aristocrats, with much splendid singing and dancing along the way.  The Get me to the church on time scene had some wonderful characters, including a cross-dressing quartet; the servants swept and polished their way around the household with a right good will, and the absolute precision, both in movement and song, of the assembled aristocracy at the Ascot Opening Day scene was a joy to behold.  Their cut-glass accents only faltered once – alas, it was in naming the event they were attending that they slipped up: ‘Ascot’ should rhyme with ‘chatbot’ but the second syllable was a clearly-enunciated ‘uh’ which jarred.

The Higgins house set was a marvel to behold.  The main part was the sort of library I dream of having, with books not only around the walls but on an upper gallery with a wonderful [?double] spiral staircase, and it rotated to show other areas of the house as needed.  Apart from that, there was little solid scenery.  The street scenes were indicated by drop-down/ wheel on ‘buildings’, Ascot was simply a space open to the clear blue sky, and the Embassy ball appeared to take place within a wonderful wrought-iron birdcage – possibly hinting at the prison-like existence of its noble inhabitants?

I’ve come across the work of director Bartlett Sher on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but not previously seen his work on the musical stage.  It was superb – he rightly won a Tony for the Broadway run of the show.  Lights, music, staging, costumes were all splendid.  The costumes – especially in the Ascot and ballroom scenes – were utterly glorious: such an array of hats at Ascot, with Eliza’s impossibly huge one surpassing all the others, and a constant procession of fabulous frocks throughout the show.

My Fair Lady is a resounding triumph – the audience was generous with its applause throughout, and many of them rose to their feet at the final curtain call.  Having opened in Cardiff, the show’s only appearance in Scotland is at the Playhouse in Edinburgh, after which it moves to various English cities.  I can’t think of a more extravagantly delicious way to indulge yourself over the festive period – if you haven’t already done so, make sure to grab a ticket!

My Fair Lady Lerner & Loewe, Edinburgh Playhouse, Runs until Saturday 7th January 2023 for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/my-fair-lady/edinburgh-playhouse/

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Mary Woodward Review

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

**** 4 stars

“An Edinburgh Christmas Carol is a delight”

I have to confess that every time I think about Charles Dickens’ Christmas tale, my head fills with visions of Michael Caine dancing through snow with Miss Piggy and Kermit.  I couldn’t help wondering how the Lyceum’s show could compete with this – but it managed to make me completely forget the Muppets’ version and instead relish the added bite the tale gained from its Edinburgh setting.

The story is well known.  Miserly, hard-hearted lawyer Ebenezer Scrooge is the cause of untold misery to many because of his refusal to show compassion to people who are unable to lift or keep themselves out of extreme poverty.  [How startlingly apposite this tale is in our current political situation….]  Scrooge pays his taxes, there is the poorhouse for those who can’t work: it’s not his fault if people are suffering.  He has no sympathy for those people who are going around wishing everyone ‘a merry Christmas’: his response is ‘Bah!  Humbug!’.  He bitterly resents having to give his clerk, Bob Cratchit, ‘that glaikit gomeril’, the morning off on 25th December.

In his cheerless, cold house, Scrooge is startled by a visit from his partner Jacob Marley, who has been dead for many years.  Jacob comes to warn Scrooge that he will suffer the same terrible fate as himself if he doesn’t change his ways, and tells him that three spirits will visit him this night when the clocks strike one, two, and three.  ‘Indigestion’ Scrooge explains to himself as he prepares to go to bed.

But the spirits do indeed visit him that night.  The spirit of Christmas past shows him scenes from his childhood and youth, where we see how a warm, loving boy became a heartless curmudgeon.  The spirit of Christmas present shows him the meagre Christmas celebrations his clerk’s family have and the suffering of their youngest child, Tiny Tim.  Scrooge is moved to pity, but the spirit quotes his own words back at him – ‘their deaths will reduce the surplus population’. The spirit of Christmas yet to come shows him people’s reactions to someone’s death – there is little sorrow, and some rejoicing: only Bob Cratchit displays genuine sorrow.  Scrooge, terrified and repentant, realises that he is witnessing people’s reactions to his own death and begs the spirit to tell him this vision isn’t true…

Scrooge wakes in his own bed, relieved to be alive and determined to make amends for his past behaviour.  He finds to his great relief that it is Christmas morning and, much to everyone’s astonishment spends lavishly, spreading joy and Christmas cheer all around.

This Edinburgh version of the story was a delight.  Set against a backdrop of the Castle rock and the Canongate slums, it centred the tale in the self-righteous condemnation by the authorities of Christmas celebrations. [In 1640 the Scottish parliament passed a law making the celebration of ‘Yule vacations’ illegal: it wasn’t until 1958 that Christmas day became a public holiday].  The City Council was equally kill-joy, demanding that dogs have a collar and licence.  Scrooge, of course, applauded the dispersal by the constable of an irrepressibly enthusiastic group of carol singers, and the dog catcher’s attempts to get rid of local celebrity Greyfriars Bobby. 

Many of the characters in this version of the tale were very Scottish – the ‘woman who does’ for Scrooge, his nephew Fred’s relatives and friends, Rab Cratchit’ and his wife, the polisman, the people cast out on the streets for non-payment of debts, and the spirits of Christmas [Lang Syne, Nouadays and Ayont].  The cracklingly acerbic Scots words and turns of phrase added sparkle and bite to the dialogue. 

A small cast played many characters – there must have been some rapid costume changes behind the scenes!  I really enjoyed seeing the actors’ transformations as they wove the tale around Crawford Logan’s dour Ebenezer Scrooge, the sort of hard-hearted implacable ‘do it by the rules’ person not unfamiliar to us today…. I wasn’t totally convinced by his ‘conversion’ – was he trying too hard?  Or just so hardened by his former life that he couldn’t quite melt completely?  But maybe I’m just being too picky, or remembering Michael Caine.  Greyfriars Bobby and Tiny Tim were brilliantly played by puppets/ puppeteers: we knew they were ‘not real’ and yet they were totally real, and both warmed and tugged at our heartstrings.

The community choir who refused to be silenced, frequently reappearing with a new carol only to be chased off again, were a wonderful cover for the rapid set changes and underlined the irrepressibility of the Christmas spirit which ultimately triumphs over mean-spirited killjoys. 

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol is a delight.  The grim reality of life for the poor in Dickens’ time is tempered with the joy that people are able to find in the darkest of circumstances.   The gaiety and sense of fun that permeates it gives us all hope and lifts our spirits – hopefully it will also encourage us to behave more kindly to those people less fortunate than ourselves. 

At the same time, it’s a great show for adults and children alike.  Lots to laugh at, some scary bits, and a string of sausages: what’s not to like?  The packed house obviously had a great night out: come and share in the Christmas spirit.

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 31st December, for more info go to: An Edinburgh Christmas Carol | The Lyceum | Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

Mary Woodward Review

Royal Northern Sinfonia by candlelight, North Esk Church, Musselburgh, Review

**** (4 stars)

North Esk Church’s exterior is not particularly beautiful or impressive, but inside it is absolutely gorgeous.  Plain, simply decorated in subtle shades of grey, it has a fabulous acoustic and looked lovelier than ever in the gentle glow on candlelight – the perfect setting for last night’s concert from the Royal Northern Sinfonia.  Based at the Sage in Gateshead, and the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra, they had braved the arctic weather currently gripping Scotland to bring us an evening of [mostly] Baroque music that transported us from the everyday world to a haven of peace and tranquility.

Violinist Maria Włosczczowska opened the evening with the passacaglia from Heinrich Biber’s Rosary Sonata.  It’s a meditation full of light and shade, at once simple and astoundingly complex, shivering into the silence of the church, crying out then whispering so quietly you had to strain to hear – an intimate conversation between instrument and player over four repeated descending notes.  The silence when Maria stopped playing stretched on and on as we rested in the place of peace into which she had invited us.

The Royal Northern Sinfonia – who nearly all play standing – joined Maria Włosczczowska on stage for Archangelo Corelli’s concerto grosso Op 6 no 8, known as the Christmas concerto.   A solemn opening was followed by, according to my notes, “the orchestra going bananas”, with many layers of voices in excited conversation, after which tempo and mood changed frequently and small groups of soloists alternated with the full orchestra.  The rhythmic and melodic complexity of the music was rendered with great precision and beautifully delicate phrasing – an utter joy to listen to, even before we reached the Famous Bit – the final gentle, pastoral movement which conjures up images of shepherds abiding with their flocks by night before the angels burst upon them with the good news of the Christ child’s birth.

The Christmas theme continued with O beata infantia [O blessed infant] by 12th centurty German abbess, visionary mystic and composer Hildegard von Bingen.  Mezzo-soprano Bethany Horak-Hallett stood at the back of the church – right beside where I was sitting – and poured out her clear, pure tone into the body of the church.  It didn’t matter what the words were – we were wrapped in the feeling of blessedness.

Contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s trisagion was written for the 500th anniversary of the Finnish Orthodox church dedicated to the prophet Elijah in Ilantsi.  It’s a wordless meditation on an Orthodox hymn in which the various sections of the score embody the different verses of the hymn.  Pärt’s music is mysterious, subdued, and spare.  Like the Hildegard von Bingen piece, trisagion invited us to let our minds and hearts flow free as we listened to the orchestral voices calling across vast open spaces – a plaintive, urgent melody, a sudden increase in tempo and rhythm, a high shivering solo call over a deep sombre voice, a warmer, fuller sound, a pulsating bass line rising in intensity before all the voices in unison slowly faded into silence.

After the interval, Purcell’s Chacony in G minor brought us another helping of joy.  Despite the minor key, and with occasional hints of Dido’s Lament, the constantly repeated bass line underpinned interweaving solo and choral voices.  Full of emotion, swelling and dying, the Sinfonia’s delicate precision encompassed the contrasts of texture and volume in a glorious piece contained in but not constrained by its simple form.

J S Bach’s solo church cantata Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut [BWV 199] brought Bethany Horak-Hallett to the church’s pulpit.  Raised high above the orchestra, she was ideally placed to let her voice soar out above the instruments: though on a couple of occasions her voice seemed trapped inside her, the rest of the time it rang out beautifully.  The title’s translation is My heart swims in blood: my German wasn’t up to understanding what was being sung, but again this didn’t really matter.  There was a fair amount of sorrow and metaphorical breast-beating, no doubt over the singer’s sinfulness, but it all ended cheerfully – even triumphantly – with forgiveness and reconciliation.  

Regardless of whether you buy into the theological niceties, it’s a magnificent work – opera but about God.  It’s passionate and dramatic, full of joy as well as sorrow, and affords opportunities for soloists from the Sinfonia to duet with the singer – not accompanists but equal partners in creation.  I couldn’t see the [seated] woodwind player who made outstanding contributions to the work [on oboe or bassoon?] but could clearly see and appreciate the viola player’s contribution.  Alas, I can’t name either of them, nor the second violin soloist – the programme didn’t name the members of the orchestra.  

I am, however, able to credit conductor Dinis Sousa on his impeccable direction of this superb chamber orchestra.  The applause throughout the evening was warm and generous, and indicated a great desire to see a return visit by the Royal Northern Sinfonia as soon as possible.  Many of us welcomed the opportunity to take part in the encore offered to help us recover from the intensity of the Bach cantata.  Two verses of In the bleak mid-winter reminded us of the Christmas message and braced us to leave the warmth of the church and emerge into Musselburgh’s starry, frosty darkness.

Royal Northern Sinfonia by candlelight, North Esk Church, Musselburgh, Run Ended

Mary Woodward Review

Tam O’Shanter, Tales & Whisky, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Review

**** (4 stars)

Stolen Elephant Theatre’s Tam O’Shanter, Tales & Whisky, which celebrates the poems and songs of Robert Burns alongside re-tellings of classic Scots folk tales, was first seen in the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and came to Musselburgh as part of the Saltire festival.  

Shian Denovan, Catherine Bisset, Karen Bartke and Andy Dickinson were joined by musicians Douglas McQueen Hunter and Douglas Caird who perform as The Court of Equity, celebrating Burns’ songs, when they’re not part of the folk rock band The Picts.

The Brunton’s Venue One is a large and versatile auditorium, which was packed for the recent National Theatre of Scotland show Enough of Him.  The wide spacing of the seats and their distance from the performing area [and the excessively enthusiastic air-conditioning] meant that the cast had to work harder to establish a rapport with their audience than they would have had to in a more intimate venue – but they did an superb job and kept us well entertained.

We were given very lively renditions of tales about the Witch of Fife, whose Guid Man was at first tolerant of her wild behaviour but came to an unpleasant end when he tried to join in; the Carter of Dunlop who went to extreme lengths to discourage upstarts challenging his monopoly of carting in the local area; and the eerie tale of the water elves who lived in the Haunted Ships.

Two of Rabbie Burns’ most famous poems – Death and Dr Hornbook, the Address to the Deil – were delivered with gruesome Gothic gusto: but the high point of the evening was Shian Denovan’s mesmerising performance of Tam O’ Shanter which nearly brought the house down and received the loudest and most enthusiastic applause of the evening.

Between all these the two Douglases performed a number of classic Burns songs – Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie, Ca’ the yowes to the knowes, Tibbie Fowler, Corn rigs and barley rigs, and John Anderson, my jo, my John – with a captivatingly lively twist to them that invited us to join in and clap: had we not been seated so respectably, I’m sure many of us would have got up and danced.  Guitarist Douglas sang and kept a strong rhythm going, while Duggi’s fingers flew about his piano accordion keyboard and gave us some beautifully decorated solo verses.  He also chilled our spines with an account of how he came to compose his piece the Saddlewood Chase – it’s a wonder we had the courage to leave the safety of the Brunton and venture out into the dark night!

I can quite see why Tam O’Shanter, Tales & Whisky was such a success in the Fringe!  Those who’d come with ‘hard copy’ tickets were able to claim a free whisky in the interval – alas, I wasn’t so lucky, having failed to collect a ticket before the show: I’ll know better next time!  With or without the alcoholic stimulus, this was a rare evening’s entertainment, greatly appreciated by the audience.  I’ve searched in vain to find a listing with tour dates, but did notice that the show will appear at the Traverse in Edinburgh in January.  Make an effort, search it out, and have a grand evening getting better acquainted with these wickedly entertaining works.

Tam O’Shanter, Tales & Whisky, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Run ended.

Mary Woodward Review

The Snow Queen, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review:

“a most enjoyable evening”

**** (4 stars)

This is the second time I’ve seen Artistic Director Christopher Hampson’s ballet loosely based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson.  It’s been slightly changed in some respects since last I saw it, but in many respects it’s still very much the same in both its excellences and slight disappointments.

In the Anderson story, Kay and Gerda are children: the Snow Queen puts an icicle in Kay’s heart, and it’s Gerda’s tears which melt it and bring him back to life.  In the Scottish Ballet version, Kai and Gerda are grown-ups who are in love, while the Snow Queen has a sister, the Summer Princess – a bit like Frozen’s Elsa and Anna, the former is hard and prickly and the latter warm and impulsive.  The sisters quarrel and the younger one leaves the Winter Palace to find the handsome young man she’s seen in her sister’s enchanted mirror.

The Summer Princess is now the pickpocket Lexi, plying her trade in a busy town: she sees Kai and recognises the man from her sister’s mirror.  She is horrified when Kai proposes to Gerda, who joyfully accepts.  The Snow Queen appears and freezes time: she begs her sister to return to the Winter Palace with her, but she refuses.  A circus arrives in town and begins a dazzling display: during this the Snow Queen spirits Kai away, hoping that her sister will follow.

Lexi does follow, but not quite in the way the Snow Queen intended – to her surprise she finds herself helping Gerda to find her fiancé.  They arrive at a gypsy encampment, where a fortune teller reveals that Kai has been stolen by the Snow Queen.  Lexi tells Gerda she will never break the Snow Queen’s power but, undaunted by the terrors of the forest and attacks by Jack Frosts, Snowflakes, and Snow Wolves, Gerda finds her way to the Winter Palace.

In the palace, Kai fails to recognise his sweetheart and gives all his attention to the Snow Queen.  She is about to attack Gerda but is diverted by the arrival of Lexi, who has transformed back to the Summer Princess and means to stay with her sister.  The Snow Queen’s power is broken, Kai recognises Gerda, and the two lovers dance happily.

It’s a lovely show for the Christmas audience, with a lot of lively action, colourful costumes, and the gorgeous music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, brilliantly played by the orchestra of Scottish Ballet under Jean-Claude Picard.  There’s icy drama and glittering frostiness to contrast with the lively scenes in the town and the gypsy encampment.  There’s a lot of fantastic dancing with some incredible lifts which made me think of this year’s Strictly’s Hamza as he picks up Jowita and tosses her, spinning, into the air.  The scene in the gypsy encampment is particularly memorable, both for the flamboyant, exuberant dancing and the superb onstage violin solo from Gillian Rissi, who strolls among the gypsies as though she was born in the camp.

The slight disappointment I felt was twofold.  Firstly, being unskilled in the art of reading dancers’ ways of communicating, I easily grasped that Gerda was delighted to receive Kai’s proposal and happily showed her engagement ring to everyone, but was much less clear about most of the rest of the story line. 

Secondly, I remember that last time I saw The Snow Queen I found the confrontation between the two sisters rather too long and not very credible: this time it was over almost before it began – the two sisters briefly appeared side by side at the back of the palace [if you blinked, you would have missed it] and then Kai came back to life and he and Gerda danced happily [and for quite some time] till the curtain came down.

That apart, it was a most enjoyable evening.  Constance Devernay-Laurence was once again a scarily spiky and vengeful Snow Queen, while Alice Kawalek was a glowing Summer Princess and a very agile pickpocket.  Roseanna Leney was first a warm and loving, and later a steely, determined, Gerda – nothing was going to keep her from Kai, superbly danced by Jerome Barnes.  Rimbaud Patron was a splendidly athletic Ringmaster Zach, introducing his glittering troupe of artistes – Strong Man Evan Loudon easily lifting his Ballerina, Claire Souet, impossibly high above his head, while Acrobats Anna Williams and Rishan Benjamin and Clowns Jamie Reid and Aaron Venegas had incredible fun getting in everyone’s way and tangled up with each other.  Grace Horler’s Fortune Teller first appeared with the other circus performers and really came into her own in the gypsy encampment, as she and Zach led the other dancers in a succession of fiery and passionate explosions of joy – even Gerda forgot her sorrows for a while and joined in.

Supporting these dancers were the incredible Artists of the company – the supply of talent seems endless and their ability staggering.  Together they made an opening night that was a joyful, energetic, and thoroughly entertaining way to lift our spirits and enable us to face the long dark nights of winter.  The audience applauded loud and long, and went out happily into the dark streets of Edinburgh.

Scottish Ballet, The Snow Queen, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, runs until 10th December for tickets go to: Scottish Ballet’s The Snow Queen (capitaltheatres.com)

 The production will then visit  Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.