• John Murray

Spectacular White Christmas



The Edinburgh Playhouse have some great shows planned for 2022 and these include Waitress, Bat Out Of Hell, Dreamgirls and Disney’s The Lion King. The last big production for 2021 however is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical. That song is the very essence of Christmas and has been before all of us were born. I do remember hearing it first with the movie Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire which became a staple for years. Within that movie was the song White Christmas and at the time the biggest selling sheet music and subsequently the biggest selling record in its day. It also won the Oscar for Best Song in 1943 and that led the movie makers to write a movie surrounding the song and White Christmas the movie came to be in 1954 again with Bing but alongside Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.


The key to all the success was in the songs by Irving Berlin and he was responsible for the screenplay too. Fast forward to 2000 and a stage musical opening in St Louis written by Paul Blake and David Ives with stunning choreography by Randy Skinner gaining a Tony Award nomination in 2009. Touring the UK over winter periods we now find a new season opening this week at the Edinburgh Playhouse and this week I spoke to

Helensburgh born Duncan Smith who plays General Waverly and Sally Ann Triplett who plays Martha Watson. Duncan is a seasoned performer winning several awards along the way and Sally was immediately recognisable from her successful Eurovision hits as well as musical theatre. She starred on Broadway and West End with roles like Donna in Mamma Mia and Roxie in Chicago, but I remember her in Prima Donna coming 2nd then with Bardo with a huge hit One Step Further. Duncan echoed my thoughts on the evergreen songs like Sisters, I Love A Piano and Blue Skies but noted the dancing as a talking point and taken from the previous residency at the Dominion in London. Both were new to this tour and with just three weeks to rehearse they bonded immediately especially as Sally had not experienced such a schedule.

They both enthused about the story of the General buying an inn up in Vermont on his retiral only to find a December mild spell and no snow meant no visitors. A song and dance duo Bob Wallace & Phil Davis arrive to find their old general in financial troubles, so they help him by drafting in the troops to form the audience and meanwhile along the way they are pursuing two young ladies, the Haynes Sisters played by Jessica Daley and Emily Langham. Sally plays Martha Watson at the inn and her big solo is Let Me Sing And I’m Happy which was delivered with ease and perfection.



We know the story so well, but nothing can prepare you for the stage spectacle. A simple set moves between hotel reception to train and from barn to nightclub. The costumes look authentic 1950’s style and this adds to the pastel colours and greys to only enhance a festival of dance, tap and waltz as Matthew Jeans and Dan Burton lead the ladies and an impressive ensemble of youth and energy choreographed by Stephen Mear. The stunning finale of the full company in the title song was complemented by the closing I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm surrounded by continuing applause and something special.




White Christmas The Musical plays Edinburgh Playhouse until December 30th. Tickets HERE



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