This Week’s Edinburgh Theatre, Top Tickets

Anyone looking for top-notch theatrical entertainment is advised to catch the acclaimed James Plays, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, at the Festival Theatre, while those who enjoy musical theatre really should make a beeline for The Playhouse, where Willy Russell’s legendary Blood Brothers is back for a four-night run.

How You Gonna Live Your Dash

dashOne of Scotland’s most visionary theatre makers, Jenna Watt, presents her latest performance following the award-winning Flâneurs.

This shattering piece explores the life-altering decisions we make in order to get the most out of our time on earth: giving up a high-flying career, confronting an addiction, dropping it all and moving to a new continent.

Based on real life testimonies and featuring beautiful pyrotechnic effects, this epic performance looks at the moment we choose to detonate our own lives, the smokey fall out and how we piece together a new future.

Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, Thursday, 11 February to Saturday, 13 February 8pm, £16.50 (£13.50), 0131-228 1404

The Tailor of Inverness

tailorThe Tailor of Inverness is an unforgettable and moving story of displacement and survival in war-torn Europe, a powerful allegory for all victims of war.

Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First, the 2008 Stage Best Solo Performer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe and the 2009 Best Actor Award from the Scottish Critics.

Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, Wednesday, 10 February – Thursday, 11 February, 7.30pm, £16.50 (£13.50), 0131-228 1404

Blood Brothers

bloodWritten by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences.

Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award winning Blood Brothers. Bill Kenwright’s production surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone. It has been affectionately christened the ‘Standing Ovation Musical’, as inevitably it “brings the audience cheering to its feet and roaring its approval” (The Daily Mail).

Lyn Paul returns to the iconic role she has played many times in the West End, in fact she was the show’s final Mrs Johnstone when it closed at The Phoenix Theatre in 2012.

Lyn also starred in Bill Kenwright’s tour of Cabaret with Will Young in 2013 and rose to fame as a member of the pop group New Seekers whose numerous number one hits include I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, which sold over 20 million copies.

The superb score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.

Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, Tuesday, 9 February to Saturday 13 February, 7.30pm (Wednesday and Saturday matinees, 2.30pm), £12–£48.50, 0844-871 3014

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

JAMESBold and irreverent storytelling explores the complex character of this colourful Stewart king – a poet, a lover, a law-maker but also the product of a harsh political system.

James I of Scotland was captured when he was only 13 and became King of Scots in an English prison. 18 years later he’s finally delivered back home with a ransom on his head and a new English bride.

He’s returning to a poor nation, the royal coffers are empty and his nobles are a pack of wolves ready to tear him apart at the first sign of weakness.

But James has his own ideas about how to be a king and, after 18 years, he finally has the chance to realise them.

James is determined to bring the rule of law to a land riven by warring families, but that struggle will force him to make terrible choices if he is to save himself, his Queen and the crown.

Featuring Blythe Duff as Isabella of Lennox.

Please note this performance contains strong language, violent scenes, brief nudity and is not suitable for children. 

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, various times and prices, Wednesday, 3 February to Saturday, 13 February, call 0131-529 6000 or visit www.edtheatres.com for times and prices.

James II: Day of The Innocents

JAMES2In the second play of Rona Munro’s thrilling trilogy, innocent games merge with murderous intent in a violent royal playground of shifting realities and paranoia.

A six year old boy is crowned King of Scots. Soon James II is the prize in a vicious game between the country’s most powerful families, for whoever has the person of the boy king, controls the state. Seen through a child’s eyes, the Scottish court is a world of monsters with sharp teeth and long knives.

Growing up alone, abandoned by his mother and separated from his sisters, James II is little better than a puppet. There is only one relationship he can trust, his growing friendship with another lonely boy, William, the future Earl of Douglas. The two boys cling together as they try to survive the murder and mayhem that surrounds them.

But the independence and power of young adulthood bring James into an even more threatening world. He has to fight the feuding nobles who still want to control him, he has to make brutal choices about the people he loves best, he has to struggle to keep his tenuous grip on the security of the crown and on his sanity….while the nightmares and demons of his childhood rise up again with new and murderous intent.

Featuring Blythe Duff as Isabella of Lennox.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, various times and prices, Wednesday, 3 February to Saturday, 13 February, call 0131-529 6000 or visit www.edtheatres.com for times and prices.

James III: The True Mirror

JAMES3Like James III himself, the final instalment of Rona Munro’s extraordinary trilogy is colourful, brash and unpredictable. It turns its eye on the women of the royal court, both lowly and high born, who prove to be its beating heart.

James III of Scotland. He knows what he sees in his mirror. A man who’s irresistible, charismatic, a man of fashion and culture. A man with big dreams …and no budget to realise any of them. But he’s convinced a true king should never allow minor details like available cash to deprive his people of the magnificent European style court they deserve.

Obsessed with grandiose schemes that his nation can ill-afford and his restless nobles will no longer tolerate, James is loved and loathed in dangerously unstable proportions. But Scotland’s future will be decided by the woman who loves him best of all, his resourceful and resilient wife, Queen Margaret of Denmark.

As dreams battle brutal realities and the nation thunders dangerously close to regicide and civil war, her true love and clear vision offer the only protection that can save a fragile monarchy and rescue a struggling people. But the cost for Margaret herself may be too high…

Featuring Blythe Duff as Annabella Stewart.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, various times and prices, Wednesday, 3 February to Saturday, 13 February, call 0131-529 6000 or visit www.edtheatres.com for times and prices.