Scottish Theatre Guide: December 2017

Perhaps understandably, December is panto season in theatre land, but the 12th month brings about a number of really interesting shows across the country, with no dames, no tinsel, and lots of excellent theatre talent

Preview by Amy Taylor | 01 Dec 2017
  • The Nutcracker by Scottish Ballet

Beginning with a visual spectacular in the form of La Clique Noël, the latest circus show from La Clique runs until 6 January at the Spiegeltent in Edinburgh's Festival Square. This special festive version of the show, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004, features company favourites such as Scotty The Blue Bunny, Heather Holliday, Vicki Butterfly, a live band and special festive guests. Expect comedy, cabaret, circus, burlesque and much, much more.  

In Cumbernauld, tradition reigns with a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic fable A Christmas Carol at Cumbernauld Theatre. Beginning on 30 November, and running until Christmas Eve, this production, directed by Ed Robson, boasts a cast of just five actors, including Kern Falconer as Scrooge. 

This month, The Art School in Glasgow plays host to a revival of Liz Lochhead’s Dracula, courtesy of Student Theatre at Glasgow (STAG), the University of Glasgow’s theatre society. Running 4-6 December, and directed by Hanni Shinton, this piece pushes Dracula to the side in order to explore the role of women within the vampire myth, and explores women's relationship with men and power in wider society, which could not be more relevant for 2017. 

Moving to Giffnock, The Carmichael Hall is set to present just two performances of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play on Stage. Taking place on 9 December, at 3pm and 7.30pm, this 'alternative Christmas night out' from No Nonsense Productions features six actors telling the classic Christmas tale in the style of a 1940s radio play in front of a live audience. Every ticket comes with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine! 

Over in Edinburgh, December also marks the premiere of The Sunnyside Centre, the very first full theatre production from Leith’s Village Pub Theatre, and also sees the company work in a new venue, The Hibs Supporters Club, for this new site-responsive work comprised of five small plays. Taking place from 11-14 December (not 13th), this new piece follows a group of people taking shelter after an Earth-jolting event; written by Tim Barrow, Sophie Good, Louise E Knowles, James Ley and Helen Shutt. 

Continuing on the theme of new work, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre’s How to Disappear, written by Morna Pearson, runs 8-23 December. Directed by Gareth Nicholls, the Traverse’s Associate Director, the play follows the consequences of austerity on agoraphobic Robert (Owen Whitelaw), his sister and carer, Isla (Kirsty Mackay) and their benefits assessor, Jessica (Sally Reid).

Staying in Edinburgh, Scottish Ballet returns to the Festival Theatre with that festive favourite, The Nutcracker, which runs 9-30 December, before touring Scotland in the New Year. This version by Peter Darrell is loosely based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a fairytale written in 1816 by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann, which has been adapted several times as a ballet and is recognised as one of the most popular ballets in the world.