hThe Dark Carnival | What's On | Citizens Theatre

The Dark Carnival

Vanishing Point, in co-production with the Citizens Theatre, in association with Dundee Rep Ensemble
Newcomers to the afterlife discover that death is not actually the end
The Dark Carnival


A music and theatre spectacle, The Dark Carnival features sixteen performers and musicians. They tell the story of newcomers to the afterlife who discover that death is not actually the end. Incredulous at their continuity, they form their own necropolitan community where every night is party night: songs get sung, love gets made and whisky flows.

Above the ground, the cemetery brims with life. But a mysterious event throws the lives of the living into uncertainty. When news reaches the cemetery, an underground revolution begins, led by the stoical Mrs Mark and her band of necropolitans.

Created and performed by Vanishing Point and A New International, The Dark Carnival will transport audiences into an unexpected vision of the afterlife full of long-lost lovers, half-hearted ghosts, and songs. 

The Dark Carnival will be presented at Tramway whilst the Citizens Theatre building undergoes an exciting two year redevelopment. For details on how to get to Tramway click here


Behind the scenes with costume designer Kenneth Macleod

Audience reactions

    19 Feb7.30pm Preview
    20 Feb7.30pm Preview
    21 Feb7.30pm
    22 Feb7.30pm
    23 Feb2.30pm Audio Described
    23 Feb7.30pm
    26 Feb7.30pm
    27 Feb1.30pm
    27 Feb7.30pm
    28 Feb7.30pm Post-show Discussion
    1 Mar7.30pm
    2 Mar7.30pm Signed
  • Cast & Creative Team

    Conceived, written and directed by  Matthew Lenton

    Songs and lyrics by Biff Smith

    Music by A New International

    Set and Costume design by Kenneth MacLeod

    Lighting design by Simon Wilkinson 


    Olivia Barrowclough

    Malcolm Cumming (Robertson Trust Citizens Theatre Actor Intern)

    Elicia Daly

    Peter Kelly

    Natali McCleary

    Ramesh Meyyappan

    Ann Louise Ross 

    Laurie Scott


    Biff Smith

    Caroline Evens

    Craig Laurie

    Stephen McGourty

    Jo Shaw

    Harry Ward 

    Ross Bahlaj

    Euan Allardice


"a slow-burning meditation on life, death and the messy bits inbetween, where any chance of resting in peace is unlikely."
- The Herald review of The Dark Carnival

"a bleakly comic piece of cabaret theatre that packs emotional power"
- The Telegraph review of The Dark Carnival

"cleverly constructed and gorgeously presented piece of gig theatre"
- The Stage review of The Dark Carnival

"Funny, evocative and celebratory, the show has succeeded brilliantly in opening a window into the beautiful cosmos of Ivor Cutler."
- The Telegraph on The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

"It’s the voice of God you hear first in Vanishing Point’s exquisitely realised impressionistic evocation of the life and times of the poet and song-writer whose influence on popular culture over the last half century is only now being fully recognised…"
- The Herald on The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

"A splendid and charming tribute… Fortune’s musical arrangements are intelligent, wonderfully enjoyable extrapolations from Cutler’s own music."
- Sunday Herald on The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

"A triumphant tribute, which captures the true nature of its subject."
- The Stage on The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler

"A level of artistry that leaves audiences almost breathless"
- The Scotsman on Tomorrow


“It’s stunning, really beautiful,” says Smith. “It reminds me of Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd, dark with these bright colours; very sumptuous to look at.”

Biff Smith, A New International’s front man, speaks to Nadine McBay at The National about the premiere of The Dark Carnival

“a good night out – not a musical, but something between a theatre show and a gig, with great songs.”

Vanishing Point celebrates 20 years with The Dark Carnival

“It’s fun, lively and colourful. There’s a lot to feast on”

Elicia Daly speaks to The Herald’s Mark Brown about The Dark Carnival

"I love things with a dark sense of humour... Fagin always appealed"

​A New International’s Biff Smith talks to The Herald about their ‘unholy collaboration’ with Vanishing Point

"I've sort of described it to people as a musical tragi-comedy set in a cemetery."

​Vanishing Point’s Matthew Lenton and A New International’s Biff Smith talk to The Skinny about their so-called ‘hare-brained scheme

"Down here, the bar never closes, death is a cabaret and there will be a song or two to help us while away eternity."

Read more about The Dark Carnival which will transport audiences into an unexpected vision of the afterlife.


Photo Galleries

Running Time: Approx. 1 hour 40 mins