Monday, January 25, 2016

I had high hopes of writing something by way of a blog post this morning but my bus journey to work has been taken up with emailing costume prospects for my Fringe show. I guess there's such a thing as doing too many things at once.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Edinburgh's wonderful. Aside from being beautiful, it offers all sorts of marvellousness at certain festive times of the year.

New Year's Day is one such. This year, we were treated to Scot:Lands.  A sort of treasure hunt which invited you to spin a compass and then directed to you to one of various and varied lands, located in landmark buildings about the city that you might not otherwise see. 

We piled - after an enormous queue around the stone clad quad of the Old(est) University building - into an impressive entrance hall with a staircase snaking around the circumference and up to an oil-painting clad landing. Following the snakey queue, we arrived in an enormous library lined with books and imperial columns and - delight - two mirror balls were suspended from the ceiling, revolving gently in the gloom.

Here we found our compasses and were guided then first to DanceBase, temporary home of the Edinburgh Film Festival, then to the National Museum of Scotland, temporary home of a piece of theatre by a company called Curious Seed involving two girls in white scraggy dresses dragging each other about an audience-adorned paper white stage to the accompaniment of a cello and an electric guitar, then to Greyfriars Kirk which was temporarily playing host - by the time of our arrival, to the Blazin' Fiddles. They introduced a gorgeous brilliant girl called Rachel Sermanni who sang wistfully with an accoustic guitar amidst the fiddle wildness. And we rounded off with a very scrappy stripping of the willow in the kirk's aisle. I wonder if the church has ever known such raggedy dancing.

We could have visited many more lands but I had started late on account of not being in the peak of health. So after the willow stripping, we set sail for home. But full of wonder that such a thing is here and available to us lucky ones that live here on every January 1st. Thanks, Edinburgh's Hogmanay.

Yesterday was topped up with the Lyceum's Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I admit to slight trepidation about this as I was underwhelmed - and so inevitably crushingly disappointed - by their BFG last year. But I had no need to worry as it was marvellous. I'm totally in love with the book which helps. As a bred if no longer practising Catholic, I obviously have some sort of weird inbred attraction to the parallel with the story of Jesus. But still cried like an agnostic when Father Christmas appears, signalling (spoiler alert!) the demise of the White Witch's reign and the advent of Aslan. I cried also - predictably - when Aslan was all laid out on the stone table at the very thought of the mice nibbling at the ropes that have bound him. And I wept a little again when Edmund sort of looks like he might want to apologise to Aslan for causing such a fuss in the first place.

But the story was done wonderful justice by a cracking inventive magical marvellous production from a brilliantly smartly used cast of ten. I don't know who wrote it but the script was pointed and just enough. The music was pretty much lovely. The choreography - and how nice (what a theatre snob) to see real proper choreography on the Lyceum stage - was excellent. The set - the seamlessness of it and the magic of it - was just stunning. Costumes lovely. Lighting clever and effective. It was great great great. Very occasionally, the storytelling stretched it a little thin - and I'm not sure that Aslan was cast for his innate understanding of movement - but these tiny points aside, I watched almost breathless. 

What finery to end a festive period. I'm a lucky girl.