Archive | November 2013

It’s a Wonderful Life – from movie to musical this Christmas

James Stewart - star of the Christmas classic

James Stewart – star of the Christmas classic

The Christmas movie to define all festive entertainment, “It’s a Wonderful Life”,  Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film starring James Stewart, is always worth an annual viewing in December.

Now the heart-warming, timeless fantasy tale has been adapted into a stage musical and the Scottish Premiere opens at Pitlochry Festival Theatre on 29th November.

From Movie to Musical

From Movie to Musical

The life-affirming Dickensian plot is an emotional tearjerker about friendship, family, love, redemption and the spirit of goodwill.  With the addition of music and lyrics, this has all the ingredients of a magical, feel good, festive show.  No wonder over 9,000 tickets have already been sold.

The narrative in brief: George Bailey has always lived in the small town of Bedford Falls, Upstate New York. Despite his dream to travel, he sacrificed personal ambition to settle down to marriage, children and work in a bank.  One Christmas Eve he is faced with financial disaster, but observing his suicidal despair is Clarence, a guardian angel who shows George a vision of his past and the extraordinary, selfless contribution he has made through his wonderful life.  

George and his guardian angel, Clarence

George and his guardian angel, Clarence

After the popular and critical success of White Christmas in 2012,  Artistic Director John Durnin returns to direct It’s a Wonderful Life, the musical.  The cast of fifteen actors, including many familiar PFT faces (Dougal Lee, Jacqueline Dutoit, Robin Harvey Edwards, Gillian Ford), is accompanied by a 6 piece orchestra.

To assist theatre goers with travel, Rabbie’s Trail Burners is offering a coach service from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Perth for matinée and evening performances.

Let Rabbie's Trail Burners  drive you by coach

Let Rabbie’s Trail Burners
drive you by coach from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Perth

It’s A Wonderful Life runs from 29th November until 22nd December. Wednesday to Sunday.  Box Office  01796 484626

Coincidentally it has just been announced that a sequel to the 1946 movie is being planned by Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions – It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story.  The film starring Karolyn Grimes, (who played George Bailey’s daughter in the original), is set for release in 2015.  However, Paramount apparently hold the copyright licence and no sequel can be made without their permission.   

Visit Pitlochry Festival Theatre for a Christmas treat

Visit Pitlochry Festival Theatre for a Christmas treat


Light Night switches on Christmas in Edinburgh

Light Night 24 November 2013

Light Night 24 November 2013

Saturday 23rd November – Day 2 of Edinburgh’s Christmas Winter Festival and the streets are busy and bustling with shoppers, families, rugby fans and international visitors.  There’s a wonderful atmosphere around the city with locals and tourists joining in the festive spirit.

The Big Wheel is turning, the skaters twirling on the ice and the markets are packed with stalls selling toys, candles, crafts, hats, scarves, tasty food and warming gluhwein.

Christmas Markets - gifts, food, gluhwein

Christmas Markets –
gifts, food, gluhwein

Walk up from Princes Street towards St. Andrew’s Square to experience much more fun and games for all ages at this new Festival venue with a market, Spiegeltent theatre and funfair rides.   Those brave enough to take a 60 metre trip on the Sky Flyer are virtually “flying” high up there and screaming loudly – with sheer delight I am sure, rather than fear.

Star Flyer on St. Andrew;s Square

Star Flyer on St. Andrew’ Square

For me, it was scary just looking up at it, but certainly very popular with people all queuing up to book a sky high ride for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Take a sky high flightt

Take a sky high flight

 This is a very exciting new attraction for the festival.  Meanwhile children are clambering on to Carousel horses for a gentle trot. 

Light Night takes place on George Street, on Sunday 24th November from 2.30pm to 5pm – and it’s sure to be a popular event.  Arlene Stuart of Radio Forth is the host with special guest Sir Chris Hoy appearing – perhaps arriving by bike!? – to turn on the Christmas Lights.

Chris Hoy will switch on   Edinburgh's Christmas

Chris Hoy will switch on
Edinburgh’s Christmas

George Street will be closed to traffic for the afternoon with a dozen stages set up for a diverse range of dance, music and song.  Over one thousand performers are taking part including school children,  bagpipers, African drummers, Gaelic singers and choirs singing carols –  a showcase of entertainment with the theme The 12 Days of Christmas.

Light Night is free to attend and celebrates the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas organised jointly by Underbelly and Unique Events.   The city will be sparkling for the next few weeks – the huge Christmas Tree on the Mound, glittering fairy lights in Princes Street gardens and festive decorations right along George Street.   

Join an estimated crowd of 18,000 people to witness the magic of Light Night on Sunday afternoon.  Christmas will then officially be switched on!

Edinburgh sparkles at  Christmas

Edinburgh sparkles at

Experience Edinburgh’s Winter Wonderland this Christmas

Family fun in Edinburgh this Christmas

Family fun in Edinburgh this Christmas

When the C word is first mentioned around October by friends and family and emblazoned across retail advertising, I shiver – not with the chill weather, but the thought of all that shopping and organisation.

But mention Edinburgh’s Christmas and I am in a warm nostalgic mood, the image of Princes Street Gardens transformed once again into a glittering Disney-style Winter Wonderland.

Produced jointly by Underbelly and Unique Events, Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2013 will be a bigger, brighter and better Festival of entertainment for all ages: Ferris Wheel, funfair rides, ice-rink, carol concerts, outdoor Markets, Santa’s grotto, cabaret, music,  theatre and pantomime.

The sparkling Festive city

The sparkling Festive city

Winter in the city is simply magical.  The Castle creates a fairytale backdrop for an adventure playground, with the giant Christmas tree (gifted from Norway since 1986) at the top of the Mound and the trees in Princes Street gardens sparkling with fairy lights.

Wrap up in hats and scarves for a whirl around the skating rink beside the Scott Monument, and book your tickets for the new, improved Big Ferris Wheel – now with cosy, enclosed 6 seater pods – an exhilerating skyride above Princes Street Gardens.  Another exciting attraction will be the Star Flyer in which you are “flown” 60 metres up in the air for spectacular city views.

This year more fun at the fair takes place in St. Andrew’s Square with a traditional Carousel and the huge Paradiso Spiegeltent arena where a diverse range of shows will be staged:

“Grabs you by the seat of your pants .. an irresistible cocktail of circus skills, live music and sexy humour”.

Limbo - Burlesque Circus Cabaret

Limbo – Burlesque Circus Cabaret

A reviewer raving about Limbo, which arrives in the Capital after thrilling audiences in Adelaide and London.  A new production of this burlesque circus-cabaret runs from 22nd November to 4 January with special VIP dinner /show tickets available for a great night out.

Captain Flinn

Captain Flinn

Kids will love two charming shows at the Spiegeltent – Captain Flinn and the Pirate dinosaurs (10 yrs +) and Little Red Riding Hood, ( 3+) with morning and afternoon performances.

These are just a few highlights taking place from a colourful programme of events which include several Christmas Markets, (Scottish food & drink, toys, gifts, traditional crafts), and Hot Dub Time Machine Dance Party nights.  And not forgetting great late night shopping, bars, pubs, restaurants, arts & culture around the city.

Scottish food, Children's and European craft markets

Christmas Markets for festive food, arts & crafts

And of course around town all the theatres are staging a wide choice of entertainment: Disney’s The Lion King at the Playhouse and transferring from movie to stage,  White Christmas, the all singing, all dancing musical at the Festival Theatre.   Peter Pan the Pantomime is at the King’s Theatre stars the usual trio, Grant Stott, Andy Gray and Allan Stewart for crazy family fun.   At the Royal Lyceum,  a dramatised version of  Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol,  the classic tale about the mean spirited Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Don’t be a Humbug and book tickets now for a Festive family treat. !

The Christmas magic begins on Sunday 24th November when Radio Forth presenter Arlene Stuart hosts the opening ceremony before local sports superstar, Sir Chris Hoy switches on the lights to launch Light Night with a theme of “12 Days of Christmas”.

Around 850 performers from schools and community groups will entertain the crowds with songs, music and dance on a series of stages along George Street. This fantastic free show will also have a spectacular display of fireworks so get there in good time to experience this magical afternoon from 2.30 – 5pm.

The city will surely fizz with true festive spirit for six weeks leading up to Edinburgh’s famous New Year party – the Home of Hogmanay – for the countdown to 2014. 

Edinburgh during the Winter Festivals was chosen by Patricia Shultz as one of the “1,000 Places to See Before you Die”,  her travel guide book of where to go for  a memorable experience.

“Life is not measured

by the number of breaths we take,

but by the places and moments

that take our breath away”

No wonder that thousands of UK and international visitors (from sixty countries) plan a trip here between November and January, all ensured of a warm, cheery welcome and festive atmosphere.

“I can’t think of anywhere more magical – my best memory of the city is the sound of the carousel mingling with the bagpipes.”  Kate , an American visitor.

Join in the sparkling Christmas and New Year celebrations in Edinburgh this winter!.

Skating in Princes Street Gardens

Skating in Princes Street Gardens

Join the Buzz at Moskito, Scottish Pub of the Year 2013


200 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4HG

t. 0141 331 1777

Open Sun-Thur,  12 noon – 2am.  Fri-Sat, 12 noon -3am.

Cosy, romantic booth  tables

Cosy, romantic booth

This is no any ordinary Glasgow Bar, but the Scottish Pub of the Year 2013, as voted by The Scottish Entertainment Guide Awards.

Having just come back from a trip to Africa, where I had to take malaria tablets and use insect spray to fight off the pesky blighters, (mosquitoes!), I am intrigued by the name, Moskito.  It’s actually one of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, which Richard Branson bought for £10 million in 2007, with plans to develop a luxury eco- resort.  He even wants to introduce African lemurs here ….

Conveniently located on Bath Street, the classy, cultural centre of Glasgow, Moskito is a welcoming place to eat, drink, socialise and party. With businesses nearby, office workers meet for lunch or evening drinks; the King’s Theatre is a five minute walk away, so come here before or after the show.

 If you are staying at one of the fine hotels – Blythswood Square and Malmaison –around the corner, call in for a relaxing drink after shopping/sightseeing and enjoy the buzz of this quirky Bar-Bistro.   Students love Moskito for its good vibe and cool drinks until the wee small hours. 

Down the steps, you enter a spacious ballroom-sized space with its walls lined by comfortable blue Booth seating all around – ideal for couples or groups of friends, and also Bar bench and stools.   There’s a Pool table and funky choice of music on the soundtrack.  The outdoor courtyard is popular with smokers and the place to be on warm, sunny days.

As this is foremost a Bar, let’s start with a drink.  Classic Cocktails – from  Margarita to Bloody Mary –  or a trendy Raspberry Mule (Absolut Vodka, raspberries, lime and ginger beer).

Pitchers too for a party night – the Moskito Mojito would be perfect to get the evening started.  Around 200 premium brand spirits, vodka, whisky, rum, gin, are served too.

Beer drinkers will be in heaven with dozens by bottle and draught including from the local West Brewery: St Mungo lager and Munich Red.  Selected house wines from a crisp, gooseberry New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to Spanish Rioja. And don’t forget the Bubbles with Champagne and Cava served by the glass and bottle.

Look out for the Drinks Specials (all day Sunday to Wednesday), with excellent, low priced drinks from wine to shots and cocktails.

The Food Menu has been well designed to suit all tastes and appetites day and night.  To accompany a few drinks, order some Bites (under £5) – haggis pakora, olives, risotto balls, fish goujons – lots of tasty tapas.   All the popular dishes are here, Nachos with chilli and cheese, flatbread wraps, and freshly made sandwiches stuffed with your choice of tuna or mozzarella and salad.

Something more substantial?  Burgers are 100% Scottish beef or chicken served with fries, or design your own Pizza with a list of toppings from Chorizo and feta cheese, to peppers and pineapple.   And homely dishes too – Fish and Chips, Macaroni Cheese and Steak.

Moskito is all about the Music for a lively party atmosphere: Live DJs play a gig almost every night including regulars, Mash, Stevie Sole and Chris Harris who have entertained clubbers worldwide but Moskito is their Glasgow home.

Visit Moskito soon whether for a leisurely lunch, a bottle of bubbly with the girls or a great night out with friends.   Cheers!