Theatre in Scotland: January 2020 highlights

Your drinks may be dry this month, but your culture doesn't have to be – here's our pick of the month's best theatre

Preview by Eliza Gearty | 07 Jan 2020
  • The month in Scottish Theatre: January highlights

New Year's resolution to see more theatre? You chose the right year. Enthused by the start of a brand new decade, theatres have been programming exciting, vibrant new work for 2020. It all starts here... 

In Edinburgh, the Royal Lyceum are kicking off their 2020 season with Blood of the Young's Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), directed by Paul Brotherston and (re)written by Isobel McArthur (23 Jan-15 Feb). We know what you're thinking. 'Another interpretation of the done-to-death classic? Hardly ground-breaking.' But this one truly does sound different. It draws on 'over two-hundred years of romantic pop history' to tell the story of Jane Austen's beloved romance through the eyes of the servants. A sample quote: 'you can't have a romance without clean bedding.' That's probably as far from Colin-Firth-climbing-out-of-a-lake that you can get while telling the same story, so it has us curious. 

The wonderful Manipulate Festival returns to Scotland this month, showcasing the country's best puppetry and visual and physical theatre at Edinburgh's Summerhall. Manipulate is truly dynamic and innovative, and this year's programming doesn't disappoint: they're hosting the creative lab residency Rough Mix this year, featuring puppetry artists from Scottish company Magnetic North and Québec's Festival de Casteliers. Rough Mix opens its doors this week, and best of all, its free. Also on offer is Cirqulation, a special edition of the ongoing circus cabaret night, featuring Scottish and international guest performers (31 Jan, 9.30pm), and the brilliantly boundary-pushing Jordan & Skinner's critically acclaimed theatre piece, A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego (31 Jan, 8.30pm). Read more about this year's Manipulate programme here.

For dance fans based in Edinburgh who couldn't make it to Glasgow's wonderful DiG festival back in October, there's another chance to catch cheoreographer Emanuel Gat's The Circle as part of the Scottish Dance Theatre event at Festival Theatre (29 Jan). The evening also includes Process Day, by renowned choreographer Sharon Eyal – a 'sensory experience that transforms the dancers into sleek, nocturnal beings veiled by haze and shadow'. 

Over in Glasgow, family-friendly shows at The King's Theatre this month include Billionaire Boy, based on David Walliam's best-selling story (15-19 Jan) and The King & I (28 Jan-8 Feb). Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage hits the Theatre Royal on 27 January. Oor Wullie, Dundee Rep Ensemble's production of the adored comic strip, transfers to the Theatre Royal (20-25 Jan) and Glaswegians will also get their chance to catch Scottish Ballet's The Snow Queen at the same theatre (until 18 Jan). Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Scottish Ballet, it's sure to be a spectacle, especially considering its designed by the award-winning Lez Brotherston. Read our review of the show's Edinburgh run here.

Those in Aberdeen should check out Edward Albee's The Goat, or who is Sylvia?, arriving at Aberdeen Arts Centre on 29 January. Its a dramatic, darkly funny examination of the effects of one man's unusual affair on his family, and won the Tony Award in 2002.