Scottish Theatre Highlights: December 2021
Fill your Christmas theatre calendar with festive delights and not-so-silent nights out
It's December, which can only mean one thing. Love 'em, hate 'em or simply love to hate 'em, pantos are all over the country this month. The famous King's Theatre Panto in Edinburgh makes a triumphant return this year in the form of Sleeping Beauty, featuring pantomime stalwarts Allan Stewart and Grant Stott as Queen Mary and the evil Carabosse (until 16 Jan). Glaswegian queen Elaine C. Smith is stepping back onto her home turf's King's Theatre stage this month, to take on the role of fairy godmother in Cinderella (until 2 Jan). Expect belly laughs and a stellar performance from one of the best dames in the business. Of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a pantomime in Glasgow with a Weegie twist, and this year the Òran Mór are staging Cinderella 2: I Married A Numpty (until 31 Dec). Check it out for a slightly less family-friendly, but definitely wickedly funny, alternative to the mainstream panto.
The winter season is traditionally a lovely time to take any kids in your life to the theatre, and there are lots of magical shows this month bound to entertain no matter your age. White Christmas: The Musical is a guaranteed fun and family-friendly night out at the Edinburgh Playhouse (14 Dec-2 Jan). Also in Edinburgh, children and young people's company Lyra are staging their first Christmas show Once Upon a Snowstorm at their multi-arts venue ArtSpace in Craigmillar (15-31 Dec). Olive The Other Reindeer at Glasgow's Tron Theatre is a slightly more rowdy-sounding children's show about a rebellious reindeer who is determined to get rid of Santa's 'naughty list' (14-24 Dec). For a Christmas classic, don't miss Scottish Ballet's The Nutcracker, playing at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre (1-31 Dec) before touring elsewhere.
A Christmas Carol might be the ultimate Christmas story, and that could be why there's not one but two versions of it taking place on Scottish stages this year. After successful runs in 2014 and 2018, the Citizens Theatre is returning with its acclaimed production of Charles Dickens' classic, this time at the Tramway (3-24 Dec). Dundee Rep have got together with musical theatre writers Noisemaker to create a brand new musical version of the tale, directed by the Rep's Artistic Director Andrew Panton (until 31 Dec). In Edinburgh, The Lyceum and Catherine Wheels Theatre Company are putting on Rob Alan Evans' new play, Christmas Dinner. Its about a stage manager called Lesley who expects 'not to have a Christmas this year' – until a troupe of festive spirits suddenly burst from the theatre's costume closet. It sounds like a fun, fresh and slightly different Christmas show.