Friday, September 03, 2010

Edinburgh Festivals 2010

3 September 2010

We had a great week at the Edinburgh festivals: we managed to get to 24 shows, most of which were of a really high standard. Highlights included Midori playing Bernstein’s ‘Serenade’ with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the Usher Hall, the Aberdeen Performing Arts/His Majesty’s Theatre production of ‘Sunset Song’, adapted from the classic novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon by Alastair Cording, at the Assembly Rooms, and the Bear Trap Theatre production of ‘Bound’ by Jesse Briton at Zoo Southside. ‘Bound’ was a quintessential fringe theatre show – six men in sou'westers evoking the gritty reality of life on a fishing trawler in a tiny studio theatre, using only some chairs, a table and a swinging lightbulb with some great sea shanties interspersing the scenes. We also enjoyed the amazing juggling of Belgian clowns ‘Pas Perdus’ (thanks Kelly!), Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman performing hip-hop versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Kalevala and Beowulf, Tom Wainwright’s dream narrative ‘Pedestrian’ and ‘Invisible Atom’, Anthony Black's one-man show encompassing quantum physics, free market economics and philosophy – with hilarious consequences! Tim Crouch’s ‘The Author’ at the Traverse was a fascinating, impressive and deeply uncomfortable experience: two sets of raked seating forced the audience to face itself with no stage in between and there was a lot of silent uncertainty before actors planted in the audience began to reveal themselves and a story very slowly started to emerge in a disjointed and non-linear way. The show tests the patience of the audience – and several people walked out when we saw it. For those who persevered the narrative did come to a conclusion but one which was shocking and unsettling. ‘The Author’ is a very powerful piece of theatre that plays with the boundaries between actors and audience, fiction and reality.

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