Liam Rudden: 2018 will be another great year for spectacular shows

Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Sam Womack as Morticia
Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Sam Womack as Morticia
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THEY’RE creepy and they’re kooky and they brought the stage of the Festival Theatre to life at the start of 2017 – The Addams Family Musical was a long time coming but well worth the wait.

Watching Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and company bringing Morticia, Uncle Fester and all the other members of the gothic family that first graced TV screens back in the Sixties – before that they appeared in comic strip form – was great fun. And it was all the more so because the show was co-produced by the Festival Theatre.

It was one of 2017’s stage highlights and one of my top two shows of the year. The other hasn’t been to the Capital yet but I predict it will soon arrive.

Right now the first stage adaptation of Seventies’ supernatural horror The Exorcist is scaring the wits out of folk in London’s West End.

With Peter Bowles in the title role, it plays every trick in the book to have you jumping out of your skin. Perfect for touring, it’s like The Woman In Black on steroids. I could see it going down well at The King’s.

Choosing my favourite production of the year proved impossible, which is why The Addams Family and The Exorcist jointly topped my theatre treats.

Looking ahead, plenty of great shows to look forward to in Edinburgh’s theatres have already been announced for 2018.

Cameron Mackintosh brings back Miss Saigon, eschewing The Playhouse in favour of The Festival Theatre. It’s a mammoth undertaking and very different to previous versions that have toured to the Capital – for one thing, the famous helicopter scene, in which the aforementioned vehicle lands centre stage, is back to its dramatic best.

I caught it in Dublin, and even though it’s not one of my favourite musicals, its epic scale make it inherently watchable.

Another exciting production premiering in Scotland in 2018 is Sting’s Broadway musical The Last Ship, which also comes to The Festival Theatre. It had mixed reactions in the States and has had a bit of a rewrite in the intervening years, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out here.

At The Playhouse, one of the shows to watch out for is Kinky Boots. I saw it in London when it premiered in the West End a couple of years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. A working class tale of a shoemaking factory that is saved from closure by a drag queen, it’s a high energy, camp spectacle that never loses its humour and humanity. With songs by Cyndi Lauper, you know you’re guaranteed quality.

Finally, I had hoped Cameron Mackintosh’s other iconic musical, Les Miserables, would be on my 2018 list, but my spies tell me it won’t be back in the city until 2019. Watch this space.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Evening News over the next couple of days for 12 shows to see in 2018.

There’s one for each month of the year, and again, it wasn’t an easy choice. There really are some great shows heading to town. Let’s hope they all live up to expectations – if they don’t, I’ll be sure to let you know in my reviews.