Skip to main content

White Christmas

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
4 stars
In terms of scene-setting, the snow-dappled Perthshire hills beyond the 
theatre already gave director John Durnin a head start for his 
production of the classic Irving Berlin-scored musical. While It’s 
remarkable that David Ives and Paul Blake’s stage version of Michael 
Curtiz’ 1954 big-screen vehicle for Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye has only 
been around since 2004, it’s a gift to see a show normally reserved for 
the commercial circuit in such refreshingly close-up form. Beyond the 
uber-slick song and dance routines from a twenty-strong cast plus an 
exuberant ten-piece band, it’s also a fascinatingly telling period 
piece.

Ex GIs turned big-time double act Bob and Phil wind up in an 
unseasonally sunny Vermont for Christmas with sisters Betty and Judy. 
With their former general’s hotel in hock, Bob and Phil conspire to put 
on a benefit gig for the old boy, doing the decent thing with the girls 
en route.

As Bob and Phil, Grant Neal and Simon Coulthard are matinee idol 
troupers to the last, with Martine McMenemy and Eleanor Brown equally 
game foils as Betty and Judy. While Jacqueline Dutoit’s hard-bitten 
Martha steals the show,it’s  Chris Stuart-Wilson’s choreography, Hilary 
Brooks’ musical arrangements and Adrian Rees’ perfectly 
colour-ordinated set and costumes that give the production its oomph.
On one level, this is a feel-good winter warmer originally designed to 
ease the post-World War Two fall-out for ex-service-men. As with any 
showbiz musical, there’s also something going on about how the power of 
song, dance and performance can enliven and inspire a community to 
rally together. Let’s hope the board of Creative Scotland who were in 
attendance on opening night got the message.

The Herald, December 11th 2012

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…