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Showing posts from November, 2018

Enlightenment House

The Georgian House, Edinburgh
Four stars
Things are getting strange inside number 7 Charlotte Square, the Edinburgh New Town des-res now under the care of the National Trust for Scotland as The Georgian House and marketed as a tourist attraction. The ghosts of philosophers past are gathering within such hallowed halls in Ben Harrison’s hour-long entertainment, which leads an audience of up to 30 from room to room. Harrison’s production serves up a taste of life when Edinburgh’s city fathers had something resembling vision and imagination which Edinburgh’s current misadventures in property developer friendly town planning are sorely lacking.

Greeted on the ornate stairwell by Mark Kydd’s portrayal of the building’s architect Robert Adam, Adam takes poetic pride in the elevated creation he never lived to see. In the dining room, David Hume and Adam Smith are arguing the toss about the meat on their respective plates before they become aware of those watching them. The pair pop up again la…

Catherine Makin, Ruth Easdale and Steve Small - Chrysalis

Catherine Makin never went to a youth theatre when she was growing up. As curator of Chrysalis, a three-day festival of work by young theatre companies that opens today at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, she is more than making up for that now. Makin has been projects co-ordinator of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland since 2017, and is overseeing the fourth edition of Chrysalis, which follows the differently styled summer’s National Festival of Youth Theatre. Where NFYT is a mass gathering of youth theatre clans, Chrysalis is a more public-facing platform of ambitious new work that plays with form and ideas in a professional theatre environment.
“Chrysalis is a festival of new work that’s been made over the last two years by young companies between the ages of about 14 to 25,” Makin explains. “It’s a bit different in form and content than what people might expect youth theatre to be. It’s maybe a bit more ambitious, and has to be of a really high quality, and to have stuff coming in by co…

David McLachlan and Peter Symes - The Tony Harrison Season

When a film version of Tony Harrison’s epic poem, V, was scheduled to be screened by Channel 4 in October 1987, it provoked a furore in both the press and parliament. Harrison’s poem, which described a visit to his parents’ vandalised grave in Leeds, was originally published in the London Review of Books, and made reference to the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike which was ongoing during the period it was written.
By this time, Harrison had long been a major poet and playwright of international repute. His verse adaptation of Aeschylus’ Greek trilogy, The Oresteia, directed by Peter Hall at the National Theatre with a score by Harrison Birtwistle, had also been screened by Channel 4. As too had Harrison’s adaptation of The Mysteries, also seen at the National Theatre in a production by Bill Bryden that cast Brian Glover as a Yorkshire-accented God in a fork-lift truck. It was V, however, that put Harrison on the front page of the tabloids.
“I first saw V when I was a student in Newcastle,” says D…