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Some Things for the Weekend

Boyle and ballet among weekend picks

Vlad headI’m writing this before flying down to London to do shows this weekend.  While we think of The Big Smoke as the entertainments hub of the UK, it strikes me that the quality of shows in Scotland this weekend is as high as anything you’ll find down south.  And it’s on your doorstep, and not a fifty-minute tube ride away.  Enjoy you’re weekend.

Comedy
FRANKIE BOYLE: “I’M BETTER THAN THAT”
Caird Hall, Dundee Sunday 22nd November

If you are likely to be offended, you are best staying away from this show. Bizarrely, some people actually do buy tickets to see Frankie Boyle and complain afterwards about his material being offensive, as if they hadn’t expected exactly that when they bought them.  To view Boyle as merely offensive is, however, to totally ignore the array of skills he can deploy. His surreal imagination, blistering wit and his skills as a wordsmith make him the equal of any comedian on the planet.

Comedy
DANIEL SLOSS: “DARK”
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh  Friday 20th 
Byre Theatre, St Andrews  Saturday 21st

As a 15-year-ol, Daniel Sloss did his school work experience block shadowing Frankie Boyle for a week during his run at the Edinburgh Fringe.  That was at least a decade ago now, and while he has developed his own unique comedy style, the influence of those early days is still apparent.  Now a major stand-up with an international profile, Sloss brings his 2015 Edinburgh show Dark to Musselburgh on Friday and St Andrews on Saturday

Theatre
KING CHARLES III
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh  Until Saturday 21st

Prince Charles has been heir-apparent for so long that he is now eleigible for his old-age pension before he actually begins the job that he was supposedly born to do. As such, there has been much speculation over the years as to what his reign will be like.  I reckon it will be quite short.  King Charles III which premiered at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2014 is a play in blank verse which centres on his accession to the throne.

Dance
MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY
Theatre Royal, Glasgow  Until Saturday 21st Nov 7.30 (and 2.30 Saturday)

This spectacular production of Sleeping Beauty has been a world-wide hit since its premiere three years ago, with its stunning choreography and sumptuous production values merely enhancing Tchaikovsky’s magnificent original score. There is likely to be high demand for tickets for the show’s brief Glasgow run before it transfers to Sadlers Well’s in London for eight weeks over the Festive Season.

Poetry
THE FOUR AGES CHALLENGE
Tron Theatre, Glasgow   Sunday 22nd November  2 pm

This is a poetry slam with an interesting twist.  Four teams of performance poets of different age groups battle it out on stage at The Tron.  The Bedwetters (16-to-23 year-olds) take on The Kidults (24-33), The Mortgage Squad (34-47) and The Bed-Blockers (48 plus).  All sounds fun, although I am a bit depressed to find out I know qualify to be regarded as a “bed-blocker” !!

Music
PRIDES
The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen   Sunday 22nd November  7.30

These guys come highly recommended by friends of mine who have seen them and are into this kind of music.  Scottish synthpop band Prides play Aberdeen for one night prior to the release of their debut album The Way Back Up

Events
BOTANIC LIGHTS – SEASONS IN COLOUR
Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh  Until Saturday 22nd Nov  Several shows daily

I have mentioned this event for two weeks running, but am recommending it again, on the off-chance that the weather this weekend will be dry enough to fully enjoy the experience of this outdoor festival of light at Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens ?  Back for a second year after 2014’s outstanding success, Botanic Lights promises to be bigger and better this year. The gardens re-open after dark, and visitors are able to follow a trail of magical light, accentuating the park’s stunning natural autumn colours. Pray for a dry night.

Comedy
BREAKNECK COMEDY: JANEY GODLEY, MARK NELSON & GAVIN WEBSTER
The Blue Lamp, Gallowgate, Aberdeen   Saturday 21st November  8.30

I would be very surprised if any comedy club in the UK will be putting on a stronger bill than this Saturday’s show at The Blue Lamp in Aberdeen. Not only is this line-up ooze comic quality, it is also exceedingly varied.  Janey Godley’s superb storytelling, the surreal Geordie whimsy of Gavin Webster are perfect counterpoints to Mark Nelson’s dark observational humour.  All hosted by that master of manic buffoonery, Gus Lymburn.

Vladimir McTavish is appearing at The Comedy Café Theatre in London on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November and at The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow on Monday 23rd at 8.30

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