Skip to main content

White Christmas

Edinburgh Playhouse
4 stars
It may only be the fag-end of November, but the season of enforced frivolity, it seems, is already upon us. In the unlikely event of anything falling from the heavens that’s any whiter than drizzle, as an alternative to getting all Christmas card cosy by the fireside, you could do far worse than snuggling up to this vivid onstage remake of Michael Curtiz’s 1954 big-screen heart-warmer, which took its title from Irving Berlin’s song originally made legend twelve years earlier in Holiday Inn.

Because, all wrapped up in a snowflake dappled exterior as it is, the Technicolour heart of this unavoidably gooey showbiz romance is a cross-generational gift. Here’s a show that harks back to a time when the hits were born onstage rather than shoe-horned in with some ill-fitting yarn knocked out on the cheap. So while Berlin’s masterly score is the star here, as we follow the double act of Bob and Phil from army revues to Ed Sullivan headliners and the back-woods B&B being run into the ground by their old General, even the true love the guts find with all-gal duo Betty and Judy is inherently wholesome.

Craig McLachlan may be no Bing Crosby as Bob, but he and Tim Flavin as Phil are song and dance men to be reckoned with alongside Rachel Stanley and Kate Nelson as their sweethearts. As the blousy Martha, Lorna Luft adds some real-life Hollywood pzazz, and there’s many a grey-haired heart that still flutters over Ken Kercheval when they recall his turn as Cliff Barnes in Dallas. Leaving aside the army’s treatment of its veterans, this is a large-scale delight from start to finish. Just don’t be too disappointed by the rain outside afterwards.

The Herald, November 22nd 2007

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…