Showing @ various venues across Edinburgh, see below for full listings

The weather outside is starting to get frightful, and while the fire might be quite delightful, it’s time to get the wellies out, layer up and brave the outdoors; panto season is upon us. Oh, yes it is. Expect a foray of festive frolics, boos, hisses and happily-ever-afters this Christmas, in what’s billed to be “the greatest panto of them all”, Cinderella at the King’s, Edinburgh. Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott return for what will be another ridiculous – and probably hilarious – retelling of a Wicked Stepmother’s (Stott, in drag) attempts to repress poor Cinderella and stop her going to the ball (in the big cardboard tram from last year, or a pumpkin, I wonder?) and falling in love with our rich and handsome hero, Prince Charming. Just as she gets her knickers in a twist, the great Dame (Stewart) and her no virry weel sidekick Buttons (Gray) will no doubt save the day (or at least confuse and abuse the plot along the way).

If a bit of “it’s behind you” doesn’t tickle your fancy, Leicester Curve’s revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I will be at the Festival Theatre for something more classically theatrical. A lavish set and an unforgettable love story will surely make for a spectacular evening. At the Lyceum, where no-one’s ever sure if it’s just a Christmas show or if it’s a panto, Beauty & The Beast will have a heartwarming run. This is the cliché-inducing fairytale theatre that will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling; it’s a family show with a thread of poignancy and will doubtless receive solid star ratings from the press.

Like the Festival Theatre, the Traverse also seems to have reverted back from their family-friendly fun last year to more have-a-night-out-without-the-kids type theatre alongside a children’s show, Lost Sock Princess from Puppet Lab. With their devised piece, they are running informal workshops beforehand. And as exciting and appealing as that is to me long after being seven, it’s  Jo Clifford’s commission The Tree of Knowledge will be the talking point in the Trav Bar this Christmas. Set in Edinburgh with philosopher David Hume and economist Adam Smith, it examines free market capitalism and the prospect of utopia in a funny and frank hour-long piece directed by Grid Iron’s Ben Harrison. Clifford’s Losing Venice has long since been recognised as a piece that helped establish the Traverse’s reputation in the 80s. Let’s hope The Tree of Knowledge sows the seed of a similar successful future.


Showing @ King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 3 Dec 2011 – Sun 22 Jan 2012
0131 529 6000

The King and I
Showing @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 14 Dec 2011 – Sat 7 Jan 2012
0131 529 6000

Lost Sock Princess
Showing @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 14 – Fri 23 Dec
0131 228 1404

Beauty and the Beast
Showing @ Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 25 Nov – Sat 31 Dec
0131 248 4848