Some Things for the Weekend

Squeeze in a show to lighten dark nights

Vlad againEvery so often, an “expert” will tell as that a certain day of a certain month (for example the third Tuesday in February) is “the most depressing day of the year” and will conjure up a raft of tenuous reasons and bogus-sounding statistics to back up their claim. 

However, in the contest for depressing days of the year, few days in the calendar can rival this coming Sunday, the first day of Winter Time. The clocks go back an hour and it’s suddenly night time at five o’clock in the afternoon. 

Thankfully, there is some stunning entertainment this weekend to bring a glimmer of light to even the darkest of nights.

Visual Art
National Portrait Gallery, Queens Street, Edinburgh  10th Oct until 28th Feb 2016

One of my favourite museums in Edinburgh, The National Portrait Gallery is an oasis of peace in the heart of the city.  From now until next February it hosts the BP portrait Awards, in addition to its own impressive permanent collection.  It’s open until 7 pm on Thursday evenings too, so it can be your first port-of-call on an evening out.

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow   Friday 23rd October  7.30

Thirty years ago, as a student in Newcastle, I saw Squeeze’s farewell tour at the City Hall.  A couple of years later, having graduated by this time, I saw them again at the same venue.  They’re back again, or at least Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are still here.  Funnily enough, they seem to have dropped the “Farewell” title from this tour.  If they are anything like half as good as they were in the 1980’s, this will be a truly memorable night out.  Catch them now before they retire yet again !

Dundee Rep, Tay Square, Dundee    Saturday 24th October 7.30

Shaw’s classic suffers from being known as “the play that inspired My Fair Lady”.  Yet it is a scathingly hilarious satire of snobbery and social mores, every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first produced a century ago.  This modern re-working of the play, set in the “swinging sixties’, is both a re-interpretation of Shaw’s original, and a re-visiting of a decade of seismic social change.

The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen   Saturday 24th October 8.30

It’s seldom I recommend a show where I am appearing, but in this case I will make an exception, as Saturday night’s bill in Aberdeen’s premier comedy venue features one of the most unique acts on the UK comedy circuit.  Lee Ridley, aka “The Lost Voice Guy” is unable to talk due to suffering from cerebral palsy, so performs his set with the aid of a text-to-speech app on his iPad.  Technological assistance aside, he writes some side-splitting comedy. The night is hosted by one of my favourite acts in Scotland, the manic buffoon that is Gus Lymburn

The Customs House, Leith   Until Saturday 24th, then touring

Ground-breaking site-specific theatre company Grid Iron take the audience on a journey into the culinary underworld of Jim Crace’s teasingly dark novella, through narrative episode, story-telling, live music and song. After this weekend, the show tours to a series of stunning locations around Scotland.

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen   Friday 23rd   6 pm

If you’ve never been sure about whether you would enjoy a night at the opera, here’s a chance to dip your toe in the water, and see if it’s your thing or not. In Opera Unwrapped, Scottish Opera present an hour-long taster of their shows, in this case Carmen.  And it’s free, although best to reserve with the box office in advance.  If you enjoy the expeience, you can come back on Saturday at 7.30 to watch the opera in its entirety, although this time you will have to pay.

Vladimir McTavish will be appearing at Breakneck Comedy in Aberdeen on Saturday 24th October and at The Stand comedy Club, Newcastle on Monday 28th at 8.30

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