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David Edgar – Trying it On

In the summer of 1968, David Edgar came to Edinburgh as a twenty-year-old undergraduate to perform in a student production of The Mandrake, the only play by Italian renaissance philosopher and poet Niccolo Machiavelli, and here rewritten as a musical. Edgar played the Apothecary. Fifty-one years on, the veteran writer of epic state of the nation plays including Destiny and Maydays makes a belated return to the Edinburgh stage in his already successful solo piece, Trying it On.
In the play, the now seventy-one year-old Edgar is confronted by his younger and arguably more radical self, who arrived in Edinburgh fired up by the seismic events of 1968. The student uprisings in Paris, London and elsewhere, the Prague Spring, anti-Vietnam protests and the assassination of civil rights giant Martin Luther King had all left their mark. For a young man just starting out in the world, it was a lot to take in. It also proved to be an inspiration for everything that followed.
“There wasn’t a better…

A Game of Death and Chance

Gladstone’s Land, Edinburgh Three stars
Some countries have all the luck. This is something made abundantly clear in this second theatrical excursion by the National Trust for Scotland, which, following on from Enlightenment House in Charlotte Square, moves into another of the capital’s most historically charged but largely unsung buildings. Originally built in 1550 in the Lawnmarket, the six-storey tenement was redeveloped in the seventeenth century to become home for a variety of tenants from across the social classes.
In the hands of writer/director Ben Harrison, best known in these parts for his work with site-specific specialists Grid Iron, here working alongside co-director Allie Winton Butler, such a rich source becomes a series of thumbnail sketches of crucial moments in Scottish history. As the audience move from room to room in what feels like an Old Town approximation of the Chelsea Hotel, the twist here is that any one of three different stories can be presented in each scene…

Hanna Tuulikki – Deer Dancer

Edinburgh Printmakers, July 26-October 5
A Highland Fling is a lot more than looking good on the dance floor in Hanna Tullikki’s new work. Deer Dancer is the Glasgow-based visual artist, performer and composer’s new commission for Edinburgh Printmakers’ Edinburgh Art Festival programme, and is inspired by the influence of deer on dance across various cultures, including Scotland’s ceilidh favourite. In particular, Deer Dancer focuses on the connections between male preening and the creation of hyper-macho behaviour alongside how hunting mythologies impact the environment on a global scale.
“It’s been a project that’s been developing for a couple of years now,” says Tuulikki. “I received an artistic development attachment award from Magnetic North theatre company, which gave me the opportunity to do extensive research into the mimesis of deer dances.”
As well as the Highland Fling, the award enabled Tuulikki to embark on first-hand researches into how deer dances have been used across th…