Edinburgh welcomes big names: 2010 set to be an exciting year in entertainment

NOW that 2009 is so last year, it's time to look forward to what the next 12 months has in store. And it's already shaping up to be an exciting time for entertainment, with a string of big names having already confirmed appearances in the Capital, from Rod Stewart to Frankie Boyle.

There will be a feeling of 80s nostalgia in the air, with Simply Red and Les Miserables both staging 25th anniversary shows in Edinburgh, while former TV heart-throb Michael Praed (Robin of Sherwood) will be taking to the stage.

Fans of the late Ronnie Barker can also look forward to the intriguing prospect of his most famous comedy character being introduced to the stage.

Here's a taste of what you can look forward to:


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FAR and away the hottest gig ticket this year will be rocker Rod Stewart's two nights at Edinburgh Castle. The 64-year-old superstar, famous for tracks including Maggie May, Tonight's The Night and Sailing, will perform on the Esplanade on 14 and 15 July.

Superstar soul band Simply Red are another top act who will be playing Edinburgh Castle this summer.

The band, famous for hits including Holding Back The Years, Stars and Money's Too Tight (To Mention), take to the Esplanade stage as part of their 25th anniversary Greatest Hits tour on 18 July.

Other big names coming to town include Boyzone singer Ronan Keating (Usher Hall, 23 Feb), the legendary Chris Rea who will perform at the Festival Theatre in April, New York's Vampire Weekend (The Picture House, 14 Feb) and jazz-lite Jamie Cullum (Usher Hall, 8 May).


FOR those looking for a bit of theatre to keep them entertained in 2010, there's plenty of top notch drama on the way. Fans of Les Miserables can dream the dream at the Edinburgh Playhouse in April when the 25th anniversary production comes to town, with Welshman John Owen-Jones in the leading role, and Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates playing the romantic lead Marius.

Before that, the Calton Hill will be alive with The Sound Of Music later this month when one time Robin of Sherwood Michael Praed tours to the Edinburgh Playhouse as Captain Von Trapp to Connie Fisher's Maria.

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In March, watch out for Victoria Wood's hit BBC television series Dinnerladies, which tours to the King's Theatre in stage form.

Former EastEnder Shaun Williamson steps into the legendary Ronnie Barker's shoes in a production of the 70s TV classic Porridge, at the King's from 9-13 March. Williamson stars as Fletcher in this new stage version penned by original writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

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Before then, Lee Mead, winner of reality show Any Dream Will Do, makes his comedy debut in Lord Arthur Savile's Crime at the King's in February. Based on Oscar Wilde's short story, it also stars Gary Wilmot, Derren Nesbitt, David Ross and Kate O'Mara.


AS FAR as comedians go, they don't get much bigger than Dave Gorman, the double BAFTA award-winner who shot to fame after scouring the world for Google-whacks, namesakes and the meaning of life.

Now, he's back with Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up – a show which does what it says on the tin, quite literally.

In 2009, Gorman set off on a unique national tour. The intention: to cycle over 1,500 miles across Britain in 33 days – with a gig each night.

That explains the title, but demand for the show has been so high he's decided to keep performing – but this time without cycling from venue to venue.

He's obviously getting lazy, and you can heckle him about that when he comes to the Festival Theatre on Monday, 15 February.

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The same week, at the same venue, Stewart Lee follows-up his acclaimed BBC TV series with a new live show on Saturday, 20 February.

Lee Mack is another BAFTA-winning comedian returning to the live stage with a brand new stand-up show – Going Out.

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The star of BBC One's Not Going Out (see what's he's done here?) will be bringing his trademark brand of high-energy banter, well crafted gags and sharp one-liners to the Festival Theatre on Wednesday, 24 March.

Finally, Frankie Boyle just loves to stoke controversy and the title of his forthcoming show, I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face, suggests he's up to his old tricks again. Will you be brave enough to sit in the front row when the gruff Glaswegian hits the Festival Theatre for a four-night run starting on 30 September?

While the aforementioned are just some of the comedians to appear in the Capital in 2010, you can expect plenty more big names when the Fringe programme is announced later in the year.


SCOTTISH BALLET brings performances of The Nutcracker this month (6-9 January), and Romeo and Juliet in the spring. Both productions are on at the Festival Theatre.