Tag Archives: Edinburgh

WHAT’S ON NOVEMBER: Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse to be narrated live by Juliet Stevenson with Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Michael Morpurgo’s emotionally-charged story is to be narrated live at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall by the multi award-winning author, with specially arranged music performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

The tragedy of war, the beauty of peace – and the enduring power of friendship.

Award-winning author Michael Morpurgo will read his heart-breaking War Horse live at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Sunday 18 November as part of the venue’s Sunday Classics series. He will be joined by co-narrator, the BAFTA Award nominee and much-loved English actress Juliet Stevenson. Alongside the narration will be specially composed music performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and live drawing by acclaimed artist Rae Smith. Vocal soloist Ben Murray will also join, following his own appearance in the National Theatre’s production of War Horse.

When young Albert’s beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped to the horrific brutality of First World War France, the boy embarks on a perilous mission to find him again – and bring him home.

Michael Morpurgo’s captivating novel has touched the hearts of millions with its tale of deep friendship surviving amid the horrors of war. It has been transformed into both an award-winning stage show by the National Theatre, and a critically acclaimed film directed by Steven Spielberg.

In the month marking the centenary of the end of the conflict, this special event returns War Horse to its original conception. The author himself reads his emotionally charged story live, with a specially arranged score by Adrian Sutton inspired by music from the National Theatre production, and songs by John Tams. Award-winning British designer Rae Smith recreates live her exquisite illustrations from Morpurgo’s book.

This is an extraordinary event for children, adults and families alike, celebrating the power of friendship in the darkest of times.

With a history dating back to 1871, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has played an integral part in Scotland’s musical life, including performing at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament building in 2004. Led by Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård, who was appointed RSNO Music Director earlier this year, the orchestra are renowned both at home and worldwide. There’s no better group of musicians to take Scottish audiences on Michael Morpurgo’s emotional journey to the Western Front, almost exactly 100 years since the First World War came to an End.

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Vice-Convenor, Culture & Communities Committee said: “As we prepare to mark the centenary of the Armistice, this performance will provide a fitting and particularly touching reminder. We’re delighted to welcome Michael Morpurgo to read his enthralling tale live at the Usher Hall for this unique event which, along with a specially arranged score performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and live drawing from talented illustrator Rae Smith, is set to bring War Horse to life spectacularly.”

War Horse: The Story in Concert – Centenary Concert

with Michael Morpurgo, Juliet Stevenson and Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Sunday Classics at the Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

4:00pm, Sunday 18 November

 

NEWS: Full casting announced for UK tour of Les Mis

Cameron Mackintosh has announced full casting for the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of his acclaimed production of the Boublil and Schönberg musical “LES MISÉRABLES” playing at Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Tuesday 22 January – Saturday 16 February 2019.

Joining the previously announced Killian Donnelly as ‘Jean Valjean’ will be Nic Greenshields as ‘Javert’, Katie Hall as ‘Fantine’, Martin Ball as ‘Thénardier’, Sophie-Louise Dann as ‘Madame Thénardier’, Harry Apps as ‘Marius’, Tegan Bannister as ‘Eponine’, Will Richardson as ‘Enjolras’ and Bronwen Hanson as ‘Cosette’.

Completing the cast will be Joseph Anthony, Helen Aylott, Jamie Birkett, Keoni Blockx, Michael Burgen, Nicholas Carter, Mary-Jean Caldwell, Danny Colligan, Nicholas Corre, Megan Gardiner, Zac Hamilton, Jessie Hart, Teleri Hughes,  Brian James Leys, Ruby Lyon, Leo Miles, Shane O’Riordan, Lee Ormsby, Jordan Simon Pollard, Corrine Priest, Aaron Pryce-Lewis, Janne Snellen, Ruben Van keer and Emma Warren.

Killian Donnelly recently played the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in the West End production of “Les Misérables”. Prior to his run in “Les Misérables”, he played the role of ‘Charlie Price’ in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, a role he originated at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in 2015, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. His other theatre credits include ‘Huey’ in the original London cast of “Memphis” at the Shaftesbury Theatre for which he was also nominated for an Olivier Award.  He created the role of ‘Deco’ in “The Commitments” at the Palace Theatre and has also played ‘Tony’ in “Billy Elliot” at the Victoria Palace Theatre as well as ‘Raoul’ in “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre. He first joined the company of “Les Misérables” in 2008, going onto play the role of ‘Enjolras’ from 2009 to 2011. In 2010, he played the role of ‘Courfeyrac’ in the “25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables” at The O2 Arena and also played the role of ‘Combeferre’ in the multi-award-winning film of the show, released in 2012.

Nic Greenshields most recently appeared in “Young Frankenstein” at the Garrick Theatre. His many other West End credits include “Les Misérables” at both the Queen’s and Palace Theatres, “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre, “Billy Elliot” at the Victoria Palace Theatre and “Miss Saigon” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Katie Hall’s numerous credits include playing ‘Cosette’ in this production of “Les Misérables” in 2009. She has also played the role at the Queen’s Theatre and in the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2. Her other credits include ‘Christine’ in “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End and on tour, ‘Johanna’ in “Sweeney Todd” at the London Coliseum and ‘Maria’ in the national tour of “West Side Story”.

Martin Ball has previously appeared as ‘Thénardier’ in “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Monsieur André’ in “The Phantom of the Opera”, ‘Harry’ in “Mamma Mia!” and the original cast of “Wicked”. He appeared as ‘Mr Banks’ in the first national tour of “Mary Poppins”. His other credits include “Top Hat” in both the West End and on tour.

Sophie-Louise Dann’s many West End credits include ’Celia’ in “The Girls” at the Phoenix Theatre (Olivier Award nomination), ‘Barbara Castle’ in “Made in Dagenham” at the Adelphi Theatre, “Jolson” at the Victoria Palace Theatre and ‘Diana Divane’ in “Lend Me a Tenor” at the Gielgud Theatre, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Harry Apps makes his professional debut as ‘Marius’ having successfully auditioned at the recent open auditions for the show.

Tegan Bannister’s West End credits include ‘Young Nala’ in “The Lion King” at the Lyceum Theatre and “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre.

Will Richardson has appeared as ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ in “Cats” and ‘Rolf’ in “The Sound of Music”, both on international tour.

Bronwen Hanson has appeared in “Broken Wings” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Whilst training her credits include ‘Sally Bowles’ in “Cabaret”.

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this new production of “Les Misérables” in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary it has taken the world by storm. Originally touring the UK throughout 2009/10, and concluding with 22 performances at the Barbican, this production was hailed by audiences and critics alike.

This production inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. This brilliant new staging has scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and has to date already been seen in North America, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, Dubai and Broadway.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of “LES MISÉRABLES” includes the songs, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, “Stars”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “Master Of The House” and many more.  Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, “LES MISÉRABLES” is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.

 

NEWS: Line-Up Announced For Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals Tour

With Strictly fever about to hit new heights, as the 16th series of the smash hit award-winning BBC One show returns to Saturday and Sunday night TV, fans will be delighted to hear that tickets for the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals UK Tour are now on sale.

Starring 10 of the hugely popular and much-loved professional dancers from the Strictly Come Dancing television series, the 35-date tour kicks off at Salford’s Lowry Theatre on 3 May next year and will then dance its way around the country stopping at Edinburgh Playhouse on 10th – 11th May 2019.

The exciting line-up of magnificent dancers and Strictly TV favourites performing on the tour are: reigning Strictly champion Katya Jones; 2017 semi-finalist AJ Pritchard; two-time Strictly finalist Giovanni Pernice; 2016 Strictly finalist Oti Mabuse; Australian Open Champion Dianne Buswell; Professional World Mambo Champion and former Strictly finalist Karen Clifton; Two-time Ballroom and Latin World Champion Nadiya Bychkova; undefeated four-time British National Champion Neil Jones; three time Strictly semi-finalist Pasha Kovalev and 2017 Strictly finalist Gorka Marquez.

Audiences nationwide will enjoy the incredible talent of these multi award-winning world-class dancers as they perform stunningly choreographed Ballroom and Latin routines in exquisite costumes, with all the glitz, glamour, sequins and sparkle of the TV show – live on stage.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see this spectacular dance extravaganza as Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals returns to a venue near you next year for a Strictly limited engagement!

LISTING INFORMATION

STRICTLY COME DANCING – THE PROFESSIONALS

EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE

Greenside Place,

Edinburgh,

EH1 3AA

FRI 10 – SAT 11 MAY 2019

Eves 7.30pm | Sat Mat 2.30pm

HOW TO BOOK

Online: atgtickets.com/Edinburgh

Box Office: 0844 871 3014*

*fees apply.

 

WHAT’S ON OCTOBER: Barry Douglas joins the Russian State Symphony Orchestra for all-Russian programme at Usher Hall

Usher Hall gets its new Sunday Classics season off to a roaring start with some of the finest Russian music from one of the nation’s standout orchestras

Tickets range from £13.50 – £35, £10 student tickets are also available and under 16s can get a free ticket when booked with an adult.

A mighty all-Russian programme from one of Russia’s foremost orchestras kicks off the Usher Hall’s 2018-19 Sunday Classics concerts in spectacular style. The Russian State Symphony Orchestra will take audiences on a spellbinding journey of heart-stopping romance; mischievous wit; and one of the most moving tales in the whole of ballet. They will be joined in part from the world-renowned Belfast pianist, Barry Douglas.

The Moscow-based orchestra has a peerless pedigree in the stirring, deeply expressive music of its homeland, with a rich, noble sound that’s matched by the players’ incisive energy. Under conductor Valentin Uryupin, one of the most exciting young talents emerging from Russia’s fiercely competitive classical world, it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Uryupin and his Orchestra open with the unforgettable melancholy of one of the world’s best-loved ballet scores: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The dancers at the ballet’s premiere in 1877 protested at the piece’s difficulty to dance to – it was too rich and extensive to complement their movement. Despite this, today the piece is adored the world-over.

The Orchestra will also be joined by the multi-award-winning Belfast-born pianist Barry Douglas, who famously won the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition back in 1986 and has forged a global career with his remarkable mix of muscular power and exquisite poetry. His musical talents also extend away from the classical music world with his work with Celtic Orbit – a group he set up to play traditional music from Scotland, Ireland and Brittany.

He’s the soloist in Shostakovich’s sunny, funny Second Piano Concerto, a touching birthday present from the composer to his 19-year-old son, which sandwiches a soulful, dreamy slow movement between two movements of sparkling wit and vivacious energy. It’s one of the composer’s standout works, and is a departure from much of his music that is often characterised by angst, fear and defiance in response to the oppression that he experienced under the communist regime. Shostakovich himself visited the Usher Hall in 1962 as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, and his music has been welcome addition to any programme in the venue ever since.

The afternoon of music closes with the overwhelming opulence of Rachmaninov’s epic Second Symphony, overflowing with outpourings of ecstatic melody, and charting a passionate journey through breath-taking romance to blazing triumph.

Listings information:

Sunday 14 Oct 2018, 3pm

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valentin Uryupin  Conductor

Barry Douglas  Piano

 

Tchaikovsky  Swan Lake Suite

Shostakovich  Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninov  Symphony No. 2

 

Tickets available at www.usherhall.co.uk

 

Prices

£35 | £29 | £24 | £18 | £13.50

Concessions available

Full time students are entitled to tickets for £10 which can be booked in advance

Under 16s are entitled to free tickets when booked with a paying adult

**Please note a £1.50 transaction fee applies on the overall booking when purchasing online or over the phone (non-refundable)**

NEWS: Tim Minchin Comes To Glasgow and Edinburgh in 2019 As Part Of New UK Tour

TIM MINCHIN, award-winning comedian, actor and composer, will return to the stage for his first UK tour dates since 2011.

The UK premiere of BACK will commence in October 2019 and includes performances in Oxford, Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester, Plymouth, Cardiff, Portsmouth, London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Brighton and Southend.

BACK is billed as Old Songs, New Songs, F*** You Songs, hinting at a set list of material from all corners of Minchin’s eclectic – and often iconoclastic – repertoire.

It will be the long-awaited follow up to his sold-out national arena tour of Tim Minchin and his Orchestra in 2010-2011.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster and venue box offices on Thursday 6 September at 10am GMT.

Fans will be given priority access to tickets via Ticketmaster Verified FanTM registration. Registration to become a Ticketmaster Verified FanTM will be open until 11:59pm, Sunday 2nd September. Successful fans will receive a unique code for Ticketmaster Verified FanTM pre-sale which will open at 10am Wednesday 5 September for 24 hours.

The music virtuoso also announced that profit from a number of top price seats will be donated to a UK charity – details of which will be announced through his website soon.

Minchin has been celebrated globally for writing the music and lyrics for Matilda the Musical, which has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed musicals of the last 20 years, winning a record seven Olivier Awards, 13 Helpmann Awards and five Tony Awards. It continues to run in the West End and has already played in over 50 cities worldwide. He also wrote music and lyrics for the musical adaption of Groundhog Day, which after an acclaimed limited run at The Old Vic in London in 2016, debuted on Broadway in April 2017 and won the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2017.

Meanwhile, Minchin has ruffled feathers in Australia with his ARIA-nominated charity single, Come Home Cardinal Pell and the Marriage Equality parody, I Still Call Australia Homophobic. His UWA Graduation speech has been watched by tens of millions of people worldwide.

BACK will mark Minchin’s return to the stage, following several film and TV appearances which earned him a handful of acting accolades, including the Qantas Orry-Kelly Award at the 2017 Australians in Film Awards and a 2016 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor for The Secret River.

He most recently starred in the ABC 2018 comedy series Squinters and will appear as Friar Tuck in the upcoming Hollywood release Robin Hood in cinemas November 2018. In 2019 he will also star in UPRIGHT, a new eight-part drama series, which he will co-write with The Chaser’s Chris Taylor, actor-writers Leon Ford and Kate Mulvaney, and coproduce with Lingo Pictures for Foxtel and Sky UK.

REVIEW: Sinatra Raw – Bier Keller Frankenstein’s Pub, Edinburgh

This isn’t the Sinatra who screaming Bobby-soxer’s threw themselves at, nor the rose-tinted twilight years legend, this is Palm Springs, 1971, Frank Sinatra is in the biggest decline of his illustrious career. The era of Glam Rock beckons and retirement looms. We’re gathered here for one, last, intimate show.

This is a night filled with memories, both bitter and brilliant. Behind-the-headlines anecdotes intersperse this collection of greatest hits. British-born, now Las Vegas based Richard Shelton delivers this brand new, self-written play with both sass and class. There’s meat on the bones of this show, the memories private and painful, show a little seen side of the showbiz Titan, illuminating the breadth and depth of Sinatra’s many grudges and regrets. Hugely entertaining, this is a classy little number housed in the basement of a tatty Edinburgh pub.

Shelton is a class act and this play a little gem.

 

 

REVIEW: Maxim Vengerov with the Würth Philharmonic – Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Arguably, the greatest living string player in the world, and undoubtedly the most in-demand musician in all of classical music, Maxim Vengerov returns to Edinburgh as both soloist and conductor in this finale to the Usher Hall’s season of Sunday Classics.

In the first half, Vengerov performs one of the most popular violin concertos in the classical repertoire, and one of the best works of the Romantic period, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Op. 26, in the second, conducting the newly formed Würth Philharmonic in Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony. In addition we are treated to Strauss’ Die Fledermaus Overture and Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

Under the confident baton of Stamatia Karampini, the Würth Philharmonic begin the afternoon gloriously with the overture of J. Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, the smiles that appear instantaneously on the faces of the audience, testament to both the popularity of the piece and the virtuosity with which it is played by this stunning orchestra.

When Vengerov takes to the stage, the ex-Kreutzer Stradivari in his hand, there’s no doubt who everyone is here to see, and boy does he deliver. Bruch’s Violin Concerto is already one of the greatest loved works in the repertoire, but in the hands of a maestro it is utterly ravishing. While there’s a theatricality in his playing style, there’s little interaction with the audience, that said, there’s no need, this traditional approach takes nothing away from the musical experience, and Vengerov radiates sincerity and enthusiasm from every pore. His finger work as close to perfection as it’s possible to get. As he leaves the stage at the end of the first act there’s no greater compliment than the reaction of the audience, a rousing ovation and smiles, smiles everywhere you look, proof that music has the power to change your mood, to make you feel alive.

In the second half Vengerov takes the baton, conducting the Würth in Shostakovich’s rousing Symphony No.10. Created in 2017, the 72 piece from mainly European countries, the orchestra aims to unite young musicians across the world form a virtuosic symphony orchestra and on this first hearing they have achieved this. The power of Shostakovich’s rings out throughout the auditorium, stirring the soul.

A concert programme and performance of infinite quality. A fitting end to the Usher Hall’s Sunday Classics International Concert Series, a programme of work that stirs and inspires and leaves you wanting more.

NEWS: LES MISÉRABLES TO RETURN TO EDINBURGH IN 2019

After nearly a decade since the last UK tour sold out in only a few days, Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce his acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical “LES MISÉRABLES” will be at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 22 January – 16 February 2019.

Cameron Mackintosh said, “Since I first conceived the new production of “Les Misérables” to celebrate the shows 25th anniversary in 2009, this production has taken the world by storm – more than matching the success of the original, which can now only be seen in London.  I am thrilled that modern audiences have embraced this production as Les Mis for the 21st century and it is playing to packed houses all over the world in many languages. It also inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.

This latest version comes hot from its recent Broadway triumph (now once again on a sell-out tour of North America) and is even more spectacular than the original.  I am very proud that this extraordinary Boublil and Schönberg musical remains as fresh, thrilling and exciting as ever – and people are still storming the barricades for a ticket.”

This brilliant new staging has scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and has been seen in North America, South America, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, Dubai and Broadway.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of “LES MISÉRABLES” includes the songs, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, “Stars”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “Master Of The House” and many more.  Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, “LES MISÉRABLES” is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.

TUESDAY 22 JANUARY – SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2019

FESTIVAL THEATRE EDINBURGH

edtheatres.com – 0131 529 6000

ON GENERAL SALE 12 MARCH 2018; ON SALE TO FRIENDS FROM 26 FEB; ON SALE TO GROUPS FROM 5 MARCH

REVIEW: Love Song To Lavender Menace – Platform, Glasgow

It’s easy to forget about Section 28 and it’s ramifications, living life closeted in the shadows, the Gay scene largely, if not entirely underground, the height of the AIDS crisis and the fact that homosexuality was illegal in Scotland until 1980. While things aren’t exactly perfect now, a lot has changed.

James Ley hadn’t even heard of Lavender Menace, the Edinburgh LGBT bookshop founded by Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielson, that existed from 1982 to 1986, when he won a LGBT History Month Cultural Comission to write a new play.

But that is exactly the subject matter of his celebratory play, Love Song to Lavender Menace.

Bookshop workers Lewis (Pierce Reid) and Glen (Matthew McVarish) spend the last night of Lavender Menace packing up the remaining stock while rehearsing their “homage” to Bob and Sigrid. The dreaded ‘W’ word – Waterstones is moving to town, LGBT literature is becoming available in mainstream bookshops, and Bob and Sigrid are moving on. With every book packed away comes a memory, from the early days as a bookstall in the cloakroom of Princes Street nightclub, Fire Island, through life as a Gay man in Edinburgh in the 80s, to the spectre of Section 28, which looms on the horizon. All the while, exploring the significance of some seminal pieces of LGBT writing, and all done with humour and pathos.

This is a tiny slice of life, from a very specific time and place, and because of that, all the more engaging and relatable. While the tone can be almost flippant at times, its serves as a timely reminder of the groundwork that has gone in to raising the profile of the LGBTIQ community in the public eye. Pierce Reid is mercurial as the idealistic Lewis, Matthew McVarish endearing as the more pragmatic Glen. Pierce in particular looks to have a glittering career ahead of him.

Charming, amusing, though-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. A worthwhile work, written and performed in such a way that it will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It also leaves you wanting to see what’s next for playwright Ley and these talented actors.

Images: Aly Wight

REVIEW: An Audience With…- Festival Theatre Empire Rooms, Edinburgh

A more life-affirming, moving and ultimately inspiring “happening” (in the words of the performers), you are unlikely to experience than An Audience With… Created after choreographer and dance-maker Janice Parker put a call out to dancers from the Variety era who had performed on the stage of the Empire (now Festival) Theatre in Edinburgh. Answering that call from Parker were: Marie Duthie (94), June Don Murray (90) and Doreen Leighton-Ward (85), all seasoned stars of the Variety stage.

June Don Murray, Janice Parker, Marie Duthie, Doreen Leighton-Ward, Daisy Douglas and Katie Miller

Their rich lives and legacy are the core of this promenade performance. And oh, what lives they’ve lived. Their memories of the golden age of Scottish variety are a glimpse into an almost lost world.

June Don Murray still shows the spark that served her so well as a performer. Born into a family of performers and theatre managers (one of her father’s illustrations adorns the walls of the performance space, an illustration that the theatre knew no backstory to, until June herself spotted it), she takes us through our paces in a dance lesson, performs a dying swan ballet sequence and recounts some of the hair-raising feats she performed. Along with being a Moxon Girl, Scotland’s answer to the Tiller Girls, June was Australian illusionist The Great Levante’s assistant and was shot out of a cannon into a basket in the gallery of the theatre on a nightly basis.

June Don Murray

Doreen Leighton-Ward as well as being acclaimed for her dancing skills, organised a strike to obtain a pay rise and better contracts and conditions for Scottish dancers. An act that led one spiteful theatre manager to sack her, however, this quiet, but strong woman, expresses no regrets.

Marie Duthie née Pyper, began her dancing career as a toddler at her father’s amateur concert parties. In 1932, at the age of 9, she performed the dying swan solo and Edinburgh’s Evening Dispatch newspaper said, “memories of Pavlova are brought to mind”. By 1940 she toured the country with The Ganjou Brothers and Juanita and in 1942 became one half of The Raymond Sisters, extensively touring the UK on the renowned Moss Empire Circuit, ending the act in a mini kilt singing and tap dancing to Macphersin’ is Rehearsin’ to Swing.

The Ganjou Brothers and Jaunita with whom Marie Duthie toured.

We are led through the private corridors and side rooms of the theatre, experiencing different aspects of these remarkable women’s careers. They are joined by two more generations of dancers, creator Janice Parker, and two young dancers, Daisy Douglas and Katie Miller, whom the women are teaching to tap dance.

These women have never stopped dancing, and to this day are still passing on their techniques and wisdom to a new generation of dancers. Their legacy too, is getting the recognition it deserves with a book and film due next year.

Celebratory, moving and inspirational in turn, the joy in the room is palpable. The enthusiasm they transmit for dance is measured by the scrum to don tap shoes and take part in a lesson at the end. This life-affirming production proves that love for, and participation in dance, has no age limit, it will leave you with a song in your heart and wings on your heels. Truly joyous.

There are further performances of An Audience With… on 26 and 28 October 2017 at The Empire Rooms in Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

Header image: Niall Walker

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