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From Highland folk to Scrooge in the city – What to see and hear this week

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Concerts by Candlelight, St John’s Kirk, Perth, tonight, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Tuesday, Caird Hall, Dundee, Wednesday, Wellington Church, Glasgow, Thursday

The Scottish Ensemble returns to venues around the country with their annual Concerts by Candlelight series. This year’s programme, curated by artistic director Jonathan Morton, takes in Bach, Thomas Ades, Caroline Shaw and Sally Norris among others.



Rob Newman, The Stand, Glasgow, Thursday

In the good old days (which might be considered the bad old days depending on what angle you’re looking from) Rob Newman was more likely to be found selling out Wembley Arena alongside David Baddiel than playing The Stand in Glasgow. This would have been back in the 1990s when comedy was the new rock’ n’ roll. We’re not sure what the new rock ’n’ roll is these days (angling? baking?), but Newman has long since retreated from the stadium era to forge a much more idiosyncratic and some might say interesting comedy career these days (with a bit of activism thrown in). His new show takes in dancing in prehistoric times, how spiders fly and life after fossil fuels.


An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until December 31

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The Royal Lyceum’s ongoing Christmas show (last seen in 2019) moves Dickens’s classic story to the Scottish capital. Well, folklore does suggest it was on a visit to Edinburgh that Dickens came across a tombstone for Ebenezer Scroggie and was suitably inspired. True or not, Tony Cownie has adapted the classic novel and given it a Caledonian flavour. Oh and Greyfriars Bobby may even make an appearance. Richard Conlon plays Rab Cratchit and Crawford Logan is Ebeneezer Scrooge.


Aviemore Folk Festival, Macdonald Aviemore resort, Monday to Friday

Running over four nights and three days at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort, this boutique festival returns for its second year with a programme that offers trad and folk as its main course but throws in a few reggae beats for flavour. Eddi Reader, Shooglenifty and Fara, pictured, represent Scotland on the bill and are joined by legendary Geordie folk-rock veterans Lindisfarne. Armagh singer-songwriter Janet Dowd is also in attendance, as is Edward II, a band who bring a uniquely English brand of roots reggae to the party.


Michael Head, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Tuesday

Of course in a better world a singer-songwriter of the stature of Michael Head would be playing larger venues than the Voodoo Rooms, charming as it is. The former Pale Fountains and Shack front man has overcome addiction and financial disaster to emerge battered but unbroken in recent years. His latest album, Dear Scott has been lauded to high heaven and was even named “album of the year” in Mojo Magazine (Uncut magazine placed it in the top three too). Proof that Liverpool is still the centre of the world when it comes to music.

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Decision to Leave, Mubi, from Friday

For anyone who missed Park Chan-wook’s strange, beautiful, beguiling and bewildering thriller when it was in cinemas it’s now about to stream exclusively on Mubi from Wednesday. We didn’t know quite what to think about it when we saw it at the GFT, but we’d be happy to watch it again, if only for Tang Wei’s performance as the widow being investigated for the death of her husband. It may be the best we’ve seen this year.

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