Some Things for the Weekend
Peerless Wilmot is a joy to watch
The Central Belt likes to think it is at the epicentre of Scotland’s artistic scene. However, per head of population, there can be few cities anywhere in the UK that can rival the creative output of Dundee.
The city that gave us Oor Wullie, The Broons, Grand Theft Auto, The View, Brian Cox, The Bash Street Kids and Desperate Dan, and was once home to the inimitable William McGonagle, has a vibrant cultural life belying its size.
Apart from the V&A Museum, rising on the city’s riverside, the High School of Dundee has received £16m to develop the former Post Office headquarters into a centre for the performing arts.
All that said, this week’s entertainment highlight is in Edinburgh, where one of the great unsung heroes of stand-up comedy makes one of his all-too-rare visits to Scotland’s capital.
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh Thursday 12th May to Saturday 14th May 9pm
In terms of circuit comedians playing live stand-up, there is probably no-one in the English-speaking world who is better than Mike Wilmot. His 30 years in the business have honed his curmudgeonly stage persona to perfection, yet he still exhibits a freshness in his writing that hints at his enduring enthusiasm for his craft. While many lesser talents have achieved global fame and fortune, Wilmot has gained that much more valuable prize of recognition by his peers. He is a true “comedians’ comedian”. He headlined the Glasgow Stand last weekend in a show I was hosting, and it was an utter delight to watch. While his material is beautifully scripted, he is a master at working the room and thinking on his feet. This larger-than-life Canadian stand-up does some of the most inventive, well-written, filthy routines I have ever heard. A joy to watch.
Breakneck Comedy, Blue Lamp, Aberdeen Saturday14th May 8.30
Nearly a decade on from his breakout year at the Edinburgh Fringe, Sheffield lad Tom Wrigglesworth is one of the most consistent comedians in the UK. Catch him in Aberdeen this weekend, along with up-and-coming Liam Withnail. Compere for the night is Gus Lymburn, a man so naturally funny he could get laughs for reading the bus timetable to Stonehaven.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
Dundee Rep Until 14th May Times Vary
The Dundee Rep company is one of the jewels in the crown of Scottish theatre. The award-winning Metta Theatre bring an exhilarating and interesting take on the Kipling classic, known to most of us through the Disney movie of the story. While nominally a children’s show, this will be a delightful night out for all ages.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Until 21st May
Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre is currently presenting a stage version of a musical made famous by Disney. This production is supposedly slightly darker than the sugary-sweet screen version, but all the songs will be familiar nonetheless.
Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh Until 14th May Times vary
Mark Thompson’s final production as artistic director of the Lyceum is an imaginative re-working of the timeless Greek myth by Homer. The strong ensemble cast includes Olivier award nominee Melody Grove and Scottish theatre stalwart Ron Donachie, who many may remember from the iconic 1980’s BBC Scotland comedy drama Tutti Frutti.
THIS RESTLESS HOUSE
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. Until Saturday 14th May Times Vary
Another contemporary interpretation of a Greek classic, proving that anything Edinburgh can do, Glasgow can do just as well, if not better. The Citizens’ re-working of Aeschylus’s Oresteia features a tremendous cast, including veteran of Scottish theatre Cliff Burnett.
THE IDEAL HUT SHOW
Royal Boracic Gardens Until 30th May
Fans of the garden shed will love this imaginative exhibition in Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden, which forms part of the Festival Of Architecture. Huts and sheds have been turned into art installations by artists as diverse as Andy Scott, designer of The Kelpies, and Benedetta Tagliabue, the architect of the Scottish Parliament. If you miss The Ideal Hut Show in Edinburgh this month, it moves on to Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness and Perth later in the spring.
Vladimir McTavish will be performing at The Portobello Comedy Club and Monkey Barrel Comedy, Edinburgh on Friday 13th May, and will be back again at Monkey Barrel Comedy on Saturday 14th.