Preview: Leith Festival

Leith Tattoo. Picture: Jon Savage
Leith Tattoo. Picture: Jon Savage
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A PAGEANT, a Gala Day, plus 53 events in 37 venues, it can only be the 2013 Leith Festival.

If it’s an evening of drama, music or comedy you’re looking for over the next ten days, you could do worse than to hop on a No 16 bus down to the Capital’s port where there’s something to satisfy every taste, whether that be an exhibition, tour or even a church service.

The Leith Festival never fails to bring together an eclectic mix of entertainment and this year is no different. The action kicks off tomorrow in the Links at 11am with the annual Gala Day, which will be joined by those who have taken part in the traditional Pageant, including Ghanaian drummers, pipes and drums and a walking boat, at 1.15pm.

A bouncy castle, kids assault course, street football, funfair, as well as Chaplin’s Boogie Bus, pony rides and 120 stalls promise to create a colourful start to the week-long celebration, which is brought to an end on Sunday 16 June with the Leith Tattoo.

In between, there are a host of shows and events well worth catching.

Here Evening News entertainment editor Liam Rudden picks his top 5 highlights.

Leith Festival, tomorrow-16 June, for full details visit www.leithfestival.com

MUSICAL: Sinatra: The Final Curtain

KINGDOM Theatre present the premier of this newly written stage production which is a must-see for all fans of Frank Sinatra.

Written by John Murray and Tony Delicata, this musical play, featuring classic Rat Pack favourites, will take you on an emotional journey. Set in his hospital room on the evening of May 14 1998, Ol’ Blue Eyes is living what were to be the final hours of his life. As he reminisces about the highs and lows of a much loved and much spoken about career, the past is never far away. Moray Innes stars as Old Sinatra, with Alan Murrie (Sinatra singer and front man of the band, The Columbos) as Young Sinatra.

Sinatra: The Final Curtain runs from next Thursday to Saturday at The Whitespace Gallery, which, just to confuse isn’t in Leith, but in Gayfield Square. Tickets are £7.50 and performances start at 8pm.

TOUR: Witches, Quacks and Painted Dames - A Walk On The Wild Side Of Leith’s History

FOR centuries, Leith was Scotland’s international arrival and departure lounge. Anyone who wanted to make a mark on Scotland had to come through its busiest port - and anyone who wanted to make a mark on the world left on a Leith berthed boat. And boy, were some of those folk weird.

Susan Morrison knows more about some fairly dodgy people that she cares to think, from ladies of the night, dancers on the run and dodgy doctors heading for London. To join in the fun meet outside the Leith Beer Company on the Shore next Friday or Saturday. Tours start at 7pm and lasts an hour and a half. Tickets £5.

JAZZ: Tempo - Smooth and Saxy

RELAX and enjoy an evening of music, mood and style in the Queen Charlotte Rooms, opposite Leith Police Station, as Edinburgh News Drama Award-winners Tempo, perform a classic selection of unforgettable melodies such as Come Fly With Me, Summertime, The Way You Look Tonight, Just In Time and My Baby Just Cares For Me. Entertainment is nightly from Monday at 8pm, until Friday.

MUSIC: The Leith Theatre Sessions @ Thomas Morton Hall

NEXT Saturday, head to Leith town hall on Ferry Road for an evening of music to raise funds for the Leith Theatre Trust. The evening features local singer/songwriter Dean Owens with his new band Deer Lake, also Nuala Kennedy, A J Roach, Cera Impala, William Douglas andTony Mottershead. Doors open 7.30pm. Tickets are £10.

EVENT: Leith Festival Tattoo, 2013

ON Sunday 16 June, on the Piazza on the Shore, just by Malmaison, hear the pipes and drums and other musical pleasures as this now traditional event brings another Leith Festival to an end. The tattoo, which is free starts at 7.15pm and runs until 9pm.

BEST OF THE FEST

star turns: Singer/songwriter Dean Owens and his new band Deer Lake play at Leith Town Hall on Ferry Road next Saturday, and below, Susan Morrison takes visitors on a walk on Leith’s wild side on her tour, Witches, Quacks and Painted Dames