Weekend Life: Lamps will be rubbed, spells broken and beanstalks mounted

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AND so it begins. Aladdin opened at Motherwell Theatre this week, the first of the major pantomimes to launch its Christmas run.

From here on in, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, with Cinderella, Mother Goose and assorted Twankeys all set to unleash their catchphrases on the nation’s schoolchildren over the next week or so. Lamps will be rubbed, spells broken and beanstalks mounted as the panto pandemic sweeps the country. The pantophobic should take cover until January.

More hip-hop than “he’s behind you” is Breakin’ Convention’s Open Art Surgery show at Edinburgh’s Traverse this evening. Artistic director Jonzi D will lead artists such as Silvertongue and the Heavy Smokers in a showcase of hip-hop theatre. An aftershow party in the bar means that the audience can meet the artists. DJ Ritchie Ruftone will man the decks – if DJs still use such 20th-century technology.

Going back in time to the 19th century, the National Museum of Scotland has just launched an exhibition looking at the life and legacy of the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. Dr Livingstone, I Presume? celebrates the bicentenary of the Scot’s birth by showing a collection of his personal belongings such as maps, sketches from his travels, and even the hat he wore when he met Henry Morton Stanley at Lake Tanganyika.

These days, despite Livingstone’s enthusiasm for emancipation, his motto of “Christianity, commerce and civilisation” is less likely to meet with the universal approval than it would have in Victorian Britain, but it seems churlish to judge him by today’s codes of conduct. Interestingly, the exhibition will examine how the links Livingstone forged between Scotland and Malawi remain today.

More noisy fun can be had at Oran Mor in Glasgow tomorrow night when Dirty Three take the stage. They sound like a witches’ coven having a punch-up in a thunderstorm. Excellent stuff.

www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk; www.breakinconvention.com; www.nms.ac.uk; www.oran-mor.co.uk