Lyceum Edinburgh Christmas Tales Live - Review Friday 18th December 2020
The custom of telling ghost stories and tales of the supernatural is an old one, and one which we have sadly forgotten all too often in these modern times, and it is nice to see that The Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh is reviving this tradition.
This year of course, that enchantment and wonder of going into a wonderful period built theatre like The Lyceum is not possible, and the four stories here were presented as live digital streams. Nothing, particularly ghost stories, is better suited for the atmosphere of a live theatre, and although every one of these solo performances was at a very high standard, I hope that maybe one day it will be possible to experience them performed on a live stage from the comfort of my theatre seat.
What about our four stories then?
The Christmas Ghost - Written by Louise Ironside, Performed by Ryan Hunter
A Christmas ghost story with a twist that, although I have come across many variants of this central theme, was handled with subtlety and moved the story along without any drop of pace in the proceedings. I am not telling you the twist, find that one out for yourself when you book your on-line ticket.
Christmas with Angela Davis - Written by Jackie Kay, Performed by Helen Katamba
A charming tale in parts of how a child perceives Christmas day, and perhaps a little reminder of that wonder of anticipation that we all too often lose as adults. This story has a twist though too, and this child’s Christmas is wrapped up with her adoration of American political activist, Angela Davis. A little bit too political for me for my Christmas stories and at times straying a little too far into the realm of “The Snowman”. Having said that though, the story of Angela Davis is one that is crying out to be expanded into a full theatrical work at The Lyceum.
The Returning of the Light - Written by Lynda Radley, Performed by Kirsty Findlay
The old pagan myths fascinate me, and as the time of Christmas is built upon old pagan dates, this was not only an interesting take on a very old tale, but a reminder of the origins of this time of year.
A Cold Snap - Written by Shona Reppe, Performed by Irene Allan
Out of all four works, this was the one for me and “Christmas Carol” is such an engaging character that leaving this at just one story seems too little. A truly original piece of writing that was full of surprises and humour.
I hope you all enjoy your Lyceum Christmas Tales Live, but there is a touch of sadness here as I have been reminded just how much I enjoy live theatre, and just how much we all need live theatre as an art form.
Review by Tom King (c) 2020