From panto to rock opera, Edinburgh’s got a festive feast

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FOR some, the season of goodwill is the highlight of their theatrical year as producers and directors turn their thoughts to uplifting tales of the age-old battle between good and evil.

For others, it’s panto that tempts them to make their one and only trip to the theatre.

Luckily, this December, Edinburgh has something for everyone, so here is The Guide’s Guide to the Capital’s crackers over the next few weeks.

OUTDOOR: THE EDINBURGH NATIVITY

PASSION Plays and Nativity Plays are a growing phenomenon in Scotland. The Edinburgh Nativity will be staged in Festival Square, Lothian Road, this evening between 6pm and 7pm. If the weather is bad, the play will be held in St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road, where two consecutive performances will be given.

Festival Square, tonight, 6pm, free but ticketed, www.red shedtickets.com

PANTO: SINBAD THE SAILOR

Persian adventurer of the seas Sinbad the Sailor cuts a swathe through the curtains of St Serf’s Parish Church for a classic tale of swords and song, directed by Paul Reakes and presented by St Serf’s Players.

In this production, Sinbad’s action-packed forays into foreign lands plunder a wealth of material from the original stories of Sinbad’s seven voyages. Expect giant birds, giant snakes, giant beasts, giant eggs. There are also girls, pirates and treasure.

St Serf’s Church Hall, Clark Road, until Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm), £3-£7, 0131-249 4899

PLAY: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

THEY don’t do pantos at the Royal Lyceum. They do Christmas shows, and no-one writes a seasonal tale quite like Stuart Paterson. A merchant stumbles upon a castle and angers the beast who lives within. He is duty-bound to return or send another in his place. Brave Beauty vows to honour her father’s word and face the terrible monster.

Starring Ruth Milne as Beauty, and Mark McDonnell, Lewis Howden, Nicola Roy and Malcolm Shields.

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, December 31, various times, £18-£24, 0131-248 4848

PANTO: MOTHER GOOSE

EDINBURGH People’s Theatre return for their annual pantomime.

The Princess of Gooseland has to earn her “wings” by gaining earthly experience and learning the ways of mortals, before assuming her duties in the Magic Goose Royal Family.

All seems well, but what happens when the kindly Mother Goose and the evil Squire McGreedy get a whiff of untold riches?

Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road, December 23-31, 7pm (matinees 2.30pm), £10, www.ept.org.uk

MUSICAL: THE KING AND I

OVER at the Festival Theatre, the heart-warming story of the British governess brought to the court of Siam to tutor the King’s many children is the winter offering. Starring Ramon Tikaram as the The King Of Siam and featuring songs such as Shall We Dance.

Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, December 14-January 7, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £17.50-£33, 0131-529 6000

ROCK: WE WILL ROCK YOU!

ON the Earth of the future, a corporation led by Killer Queen sends computergenerated music to the population. However, a group of rebels strive to bring down the corporation.

Tonight’s Gala sees Queen legend Brian May join the cast, including Edinburgh girl Jenny Douglas.

Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, until January 7, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £17-£43.50, 0844-871 3014