Skip to main content

Edinburgh festivals 2015 highlights

Paul Bright's Confessions of A Justified Sinner

When Stewart Laing's Untitled Projects, who were recently turned down by Creative Scotland for Regular Funding, brought this meticulously observed show to the stage in 2013, it ostensibly told the tale of a radical young theatre director who staged a production of James Hogg's novel, Confessions of A Justified Sinner, in the 1980s before vanishing from an increasingly safe artistic scene. In actual fact, its mix of film footage, archive material and a performance by actor George Anton tapped into a hidden history of underground theatre-making in Scotland that reclaimed it in the most playfully inventive of manners. Already acclaimed internationally, Paul Bright has now been picked up by the Edinburgh International Festival for dates in the Queen's Hall, a venue integral to Anton's story.
Edinburgh International Festival, Queens Hall, August 19th-22nd


Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

When Alan Warner's Saltire Society-winning novel, The Sopranos, appeared in 1998, it was one of the funniest, most potty-mouthed and ultimately tragic stories to come from any of the 1990s wave of writers. Following the adventures of a teenage schoolgirl choir from Oban over one day in Edinburgh, a film adaptation was mooted for several years, but has yet to appear. In light of a certain iconic TV show, this new stage version presented by the National Theatre of Scotland has seen Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall rename Warner's story for a production that marks former NTS artistic director Vicky Featherstone, now in charge of the Royal Court in London, return to the company for a play with music for a look at the lives of six devil-may-care young women on the verge of change.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Traverse Theatre, August 18th-30th, then on tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Musselburgh and Newcastle.


Viv Albertine with Ian Rankin – Words and Music: Memoirs of A Punk Rocker

The first time Viv Albertine came to Edinburgh was when she was the guitarist with The Slits, the all-female punk band who, along with Subway Sect, Buzzcocks and The Jam, supported The Clash at the Edinburgh Playhouse date of the headliners May 1977 White Riot tour which kick-started auld Reekie's own music scene into life. When her book, Clothes, Music, Boys, appeared, it may have charted that period with guileless candour, but it also told how Albertine dropped out of music completely for a life of domestic bliss before returning with equally warts and all album, The Vermilion Border. Albertine talks about all this and more in conversation with crime writing music fan Ian Rankin.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 23rd.


Tadeusz Kantor Inbetween Structures

Polish theatre director Tadeusz Kantor and his Cricot 2 company key figures of late twentieth century theatre and art. As was often the way of things in the 1960s and 1970s, Kantor was first brought to Edinburgh's attention by Richard Demarco, as a famous image of Kantor performing at Forest Hill Poorhouse in front of an audience who included a moustachioed Sean Connery makes clear. On the 100th anniversary of Kantor's birth, the Polish Institute and curator Dr Marc Glode look at the intersection between Kantor's performance and visual art work through assorted paintings, drawings, collages, gouaches,and photographs. At the show's centre, however is Attention....Painting!, a rarely seen film that won the prize for experimental film at the 1958 Venice Film Festival, and which here shows a master of what we now call cross-artform or intermedia practices, but which then saw Kantor blaze a trail as a maverick polymath in a show that follows its Edinburgh run with dates in Germany at the Polish Institute for Berlin Art.
Summerhall, August 5th-September 4th.

Bella Caledonia, June 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…