Edinburgh Pantomime and Christmas Shows
If there's one time of year where theatres really go to town with their productions it's christmas. This year's crop of christmas shows at Edinburgh's main theatres spans the traditional panto - Aladdin at the King's Theatre - to a more adult-orientated theatrical version of the Witches of Eastwick at The Playhouse Theatre.
The King's production of Aladdin combines all the classic panto ingredients in its updated version of the well-known oriental tale of the Genie of the Lamp: flamboyant costumes, cross-dressing, audience participation and a mix of topical as well as excruciating humour. There's also a good smattering of television personalities in the cast - a hallmark of the modern panto - and a 3D genie (voiced by former Play School presenter Derek Griffiths). Members of the audience will be given 3D specs and then taken on a magic carpet ride and into a cave of riches.
Allan Stewart plays Widow Twankey (pictured), radio and television presenter Grant Stott plays the evil Abanazar, and comedian Johnny Mac is Aladdin. With a former Miss United Kingdom and Miss Scotland in Nieve Jennings, as the beautiful Princess Jasmine, and entertainer Tom Urie and the Jo Freer this is sure to hit the familiar festive notes. Aladdin runs at the King's until 18 January.
Bringing back Christmas
The Lyceum is usually guaranteed to deliver something memorable at this time of year with a reputation for inspired costumes and choreography. After following the yellow brick road with last year's Wizard of Oz, the Lyceum this year turns to CS Lewis's 1950 classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, still fresh in our collective memory after Disney's screen adapation. When four war time evacuees - Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter - step through the back of an old wardrobe they discover Narnia, a mysterious land where it’s always winter but never Christmas. The four siblings join forces with the creatures of the land to battle the tyranical White Witch and bring back happiness, and Christmas, to Narnia again. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs at the Lyceum to 3 January. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Review.
Stephen Greenhorn's successful Sunshine on Leith comes to the Festival Theatre this christmas. The story is of two squaddies who leave the army and return home to Leith and their families. Three love stories are intertwined with the music of The Proclaimers. Sunshine on Leith is at the Festival Theatre from 5 December to 3 January. Read Sunshine on Leith reviews
Witches in the Playhouse
The Playhouse's December and January shows cater to a variety of ages. You can still catch Mary Poppins the Musical Review until this Saturday. Then Wet, Wet, Wet frontman Marti Pellow stars as the devilish Darryl Van Horne in the Witches of Eastwick (10 December to 3 January). For very young children - over 3-year-olds - there's the kiddies' classic the Tiger that Came to Tea with magic, costumes and singalongs (12 to 27 December). Buy tickets here
Grown up christmas comedy
Stand-up comic Craig Hill will tap the festive season's supply of the kitsch and the camp with his Alternative Christmas, with musical characterisations, singlaongs, and improv. That's at the Traverse Theatre on 19 and 20 December.