Twas the night before Christmas …

Yes, Christmas is just around the corner now, the last two weeks zipped by so quickly. I did get some festive baking done, cinnamon cookies and Christmas crinkle cookies to make up for no cake. They are rather good if I do say so myself, others have said so too! Guzzled a few while out seeing Matilda the Musical, which was rather fine, worth going to see. I did think some of the singing vocals were a tad muffly against the music, were they trying for how stage musicals often sound?!

A new Christmas movie that’s lots of fun is Violent Night, oh boy, is it violent! David Harbour makes a great Santa Claus, world-weary, droll and a dab hand with a big hammer (think Thor but less of the god thing). Violent Night has a vibe of an 80s movie for me (oh, and it was directed by the guy who did Dead Snow, a great film), and it has fun referencing Die Hard and Home Alone and probably others that I missed. Yeah, I could easily watch it again; an addition to the roster of films that must be watched at Christmas.

Usually I go to the cinema the night before I head back to the old country for Christmas, this year I went to La Belle Angele for Blue Christmas, an evening of festive blues, R’n’B and rock’n’roll organised by Jed Potts. That mild-mannered janitor does have a lot of friends he can count on for such an event (all the proceeds go to charity, this year to the Simon Community). Of course, the delectable Nicole Smit was there, in a devine sparkly blue dress (there is a clip of the lady singing Santa Baby on my Instagram along with other snippets from the evening).

I really should dig out my old Elvis’ Christmas Album, I was reminded of it when Charlie Wild did Blue Christmas, erm, not quite as sultry as Elvis’ version. Hearing Rockin’ Robin had me puzzled but I suppose robins are quite a feature at Christmas time. It was a cracking evening, another worthy addition to my things-to-do-at-christmas list. Any blues fans planning a pre-Xmas trip to Edinburgh in future years should definitely check if it coincides with Blue Christmas, just saying.

Up until I set off on the long trek southwards, my December travels soundtrack was Mr Hankey’s Christmas Classics, but by the 21st I was South Park-ed out; as mighty fine as it is I needed a change. If you’ve never come across it, I should warn that it is very South Park – not for the easily offended or delicately dispositioned. I’d never heard O Holy Night before, and now I can never hear it without thinking, that’s not a patch on Cartman’s rendition; and his Swiss Colony Beef Log song is awesome. The production values on the album are amazing, and the big musical-type numbers are all wonderfully earwormy.

So after all that offensiveness, I headed homeward to the strains of Michael Bublé and the MonaLisa Twins, gotta say the twins’ version of Santa Baby knocks the socks off Bublé’s! There is something I don’t like about the man, but wow, his Christmas album is awesome, as is the MonaLisa Twins. Those and a flask of strong hot coffee kept me going! It was dark before I got over the moors, which is great at Christmas, seeing distant twinkling lights festooning remote farmhouses (and odd when you thought that bit was sky) with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas pouring out of the stereo.

I reckon I’ve been good this year, wonder if Santa concurs? Have a merry time wherever you are, and may your gods go with you.

I’ll leave you with a few recent pics….

Some charity shops are not like others!
Edinburgh Castle from Bruntsfield Links
Cockburn Street

Oh, those Russians!

If you’ve recently checked oot my Facebook doings (I’m Bruce T Moose, being proper, like) you’ll know the world just shrank a teensy bit more, when I was accosted by a gent flyering his show which also stars our mutual friend Will Seaward! Only very a unusual, warped intellect could have devised this show, I suspect over a jar or two in some drinking establishment! Why do a straightforward play? Why not bring in the contrariness of chance to keep the actors on their toes? Improv with a difference – a roulette wheel!

Russian Roulette is just that, a Russian play of chance; the first choice is between writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, twas Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the evening I went. Some victim from the audience becomes the croupier and whenever the bell sounds (apparently set up earlier using randomly picked times) he/she spins the wheel and calls out the number. We, the audience, had numbered lists to check and yell out (well those with the eyesight to read small print in semi-darkness,  I’d forgotten my reading glasses), cryptic instructions like “Borscht Surprise”, “Russian Dolls” or “I’m Stuffed”. Will and his co-host would explain what each meant and the actors had to incorporate it into the play. Hence, poor Princess Kitty spent a long while unable to move as she became stuffed! “Beard Ban” was tricky for two of the cast, did I mention there were penalties for failure!? This was obviously set up by some devious, dastardly mind who wouldn’t be actually caught up in this play of chance themselves! Will?!

Whilst thoroughly enjoying the fun I noticed some of the cast looked somehow familiar, I also noticed that every seat had a flyer for A Midsummer Night’s Droll, yeah, I completely failed to spot the connection – I’d seen their show Droll last year! (another smidgeon off the earth’s girth) At the end of a very entertaining hour, everyone did the usual plugging of their other shows, only then did I twig! And, being a moose of limited means, I went off to purchase a ticket for their last £10 show, at 10.05 in the morning!

If you like some fun with your Shakespeare and some top-notch comic acting to go with it, then I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. Yes, I know it breaks one of my rules, never recommend just say you liked it, but I fail to see how anyone who matches the aforementioned criteria could not love this show!!! Oh, and I noticed Princess Kitty in the audience looking charmingly unstuffed!

So that’s Russian Roulette at Just the Tonic: La Belle Angele and A Midsummer Night’s Droll at theSpace on the Mile. If you want to see a little culture this Fringe !  😊 🎭