Autumn shows not to be missed

Susan Boyle's story is told in 'I Dreamed a Dream'
Susan Boyle's story is told in 'I Dreamed a Dream'
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ENTERTAINMENT editor Liam Rudden picks the shows not to miss in Edinburgh this autumn.

THE dark nights are closing in, which means Edinburgh’s theatres are about to awaken from their post-Festival slumbers.

It has to be said that over the next three months or so there’s no lack of choice, with everything from hit musicals to classic comedies and the odd murder mystery set to entertain.

However, at a time when everyone is on a budget, how do you decide what’s worth seeing? Well, here are my Top Five shows not to miss over the coming months - every one’s a winner.

1 I DREAMED A DREAM - Festival Theatre, Sep 21-29

SUSAN BOYLE touched hearts around the world when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. From Newington to New York, she quickly became an internet hit. The story of the Blackburn lass the audience laughed at went viral in hours.

Now that story comes to the stage with the ever-popular Elaine C Smith taking on the role of the singer.

Charting Boyle’s humble origins, singing karaoke in the small mining village she called home, to her global domination, while tackling the sensitive subject of her learning difficulties, the musical features a number of the songs that made her famous.

Having seen the opening night of the tour in Newcastle, I can tell you that I Dreamed A Dream boasts a brilliant performance from Smith, who seldom leaves the stage, and is joined in the action by King’s panto favourite Andy Gray.

2 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - The Playhouse, Sep 19-Oct 20

THE last time Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical played the Capital in 1999, it enjoyed a 12 week run.

It returns later this month, albeit for a shorter stay, with West End star John Owen Jones donning the famous half-mask.

With a new design and new staging, the 25th anniversary tour is overseen by choreographer Matthew Bourne and producer Cameron Mackintosh himself. As such, it’s guaranteed to be one of the biggest theatrical events of Edinburgh’s year.

3 9 TO 5 - The Playhouse, Nov 26-Dec 1

DOLLY PARTON, who can forget her catchiest hit, 9 To 5. Based on the 1980 hit movie of the same name, the musical tells the story of three working women living out their fantasy of getting even with their sexist boss.

Complete with new songs by Parton, the tour stars Bonnie Langford, last seen at The Playhouse as the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, The Bill’s Ben Richards and Natalie Casey of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps fame (pictured right), and promises to be one of the most fun nights out in the city this autumn.

4 THE MOUSETRAP - King’s Theatre, Oct 29-Nov3

SIXTY years is a long time by anyone’s standards, a lifetime by many’s. That’s how long Agatha Christie’s legendary whodunit has been running on London’s West End.

To celebrate that achievement, the first ever touring production arrives in town next month.

At Monkswell Manor guest house, in the year 1952, a woman has just been murdered. The suspect is one of the other guests. But which one?

Head along and play detective... but don’t reveal the outcome. The murderer’s identity is the best kept secret in the theatre world.

5 THE LADYKILLERS - King’s Theatre, Nov 5-10

COMEDY doesn’t come darker than a gang of criminal misfits plotting to murder a sweet old lady. That’s the premise of Ealing Film’s most famous release, The Ladykillers.

If you loved the old black and white movie, trust me, you’ll adore the new stage version. When I caught it on the West End, Graham Linehan’s adaptation was sharper, wittier and faster than the original, but then, what else would you expect from the writer of Father Ted.

The touring production stars a host of familiar faces including ex-EastEnder Shaun Williamson, Casualty’s Clive Mantle and Michelle Dotrice, Betty in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em, as the sweet old lady, Mrs Wilberforce.