Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” – a musical Winter Wonderland comes to Edinburgh
Do you feel a little like saying “Bah Humbug!,” at this stressful time of year?
Well, get yourself along to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre to see this sparkling, glamorous, 6 star Broadway-style show. You’ll come out singing and skipping down the street full of festive spirit in your heart.
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” is a stage version of the classic 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. It seems extraordinary that the Musical did not transfer from screen to stage until 2004, since when it’s been performed from Broadway to Australia and around the UK.
This multi-million pound production features a full scale orchestra, ambitious sets, stunning costumes and and top notch cast led by Steven Houghton, Wendi Peters and Graham Cole.
The story begins in 1944 at an American Army base in Europe, where Bob Wallace, Phil Davis and fellow soldiers are putting on a Christmas show. General Waverly addresses the troops, offering them the hope that the War may be over within another year.
Fast forward to 1954 and Wallace and Davis are a song and dance double act, touring Vaudeville Theatres. The narrative takes us on an emotional journey after the boys meet Betty and Judy, a musical duo, all seeking both stage success and true love.
With amazing quick changing scenes from train to Country Inn, New York piano bar to a Vermont Barn, it’s a charming tale of loyal Army friendships and sweet romance against a 1950s vintage period setting.
Even if you think you don’t know the songbook of Irving Berlin, here are some familiar songs, (Sisters, How Deep is the Ocean, I love a Piano), flowing in and out of the dramatic plot.
Steven Houghton and Jayde Westaby are simply terrific as Bob and Judy, as are Wendi Peters and Graham Cole as Martha and Henry Waverly: this is a flawless show with polished performances from the entire ensemble. A gold star to young Emily Balderston as the General’s feisty grand-daughter Susan.
The choreography by Randy Skinner is simply breathtaking, slick poetry in motion. Highlights include the stunning routine for Blue Skies, with the company dressed in white suits and fedora hats, tap dancing their way across the stage in perfect precision.
The finale – a Winter Wonderland scene is like a giant, glittering Christmas card for the classic Festive song, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Sentimental, romantic, heart-warming. This show is in two words, Pure Magic.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 29 November, 2013 – 4th January, 2014.
http://www.edtheatres.com Box office, 0131 529 6000