Theatre Preview: Carmen, The Playhouse, Edinburgh

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ELLEN Kent has been touring accessible opera and ballet to the Edinburgh Playhouse for more than a decade now, always with an eye on the spectacular.

Her latest visit is no different, Carmen, which trots onto the stage of the Greenside Place venue today and tomorrow boasts Caspian the Andalucian stallion - a show-stealer if ever there was one.

However Caspian isn’t the only four-legged performer in the Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of Bizet’s sensuous tale of the downfall of Don Jose, a soldier who abandons both his childhood sweetheart and his military career when seduced by the fiery, beautiful and passionate gypsy Carmen.

Enter Baxter the donkey.

Kent says, “Incorporating a donkey into the production lends it a real taste of Spain. My mother used to run the equivalent of the RSPCA in Spain when I was growing up and the farm was full of 30 to 40 donkeys, the same number of dogs and even more cats.

“We used to travel miles across the countryside to festivals when they were planning to sacrifice a donkey. We’d buy the donkey off them and run – often chased by villagers. There was never a dull moment.”

Carmen, The Playhouse, Greenside Place, tonight and tomorrow, 7.30pm, £10-£35, 0844-871 3014

• CANDY floss and comedy in the same sentence. It can only mean one, the Portobello Comedy Night is set to take up residence once again, in Mum’s Cafe Bar and Lounge.

That’s the place to be tonight a selection of stand up, including Billy Kirkwood, Martin Bearne and special guest Susie McCabe, runner-up of the Scottish Comedian of the Year 2012.

Portobello Comedy Night, Mum’s Cafe Bar & Lounge, Portobello Indoor Bowls, Westbank Street, tonight, 8.30pm, £7, tickets on door