Bondi posing on the bus; Next time just send a postcard
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Bondi posing on the bus; Next time just send a postcard
Event #41: Fuerzabruta
One enters a large black tent, even bigger than Demis Roussos' mumu, herded with about 400 other punters to watch an Argentinian spectacle of dance, acrobatic story vignettes, dreams tumbling in the air and curtains rolling across the crowd.
S(p)inning on the ceiling; wet dream
It's like an indoor rock-and-roll version of the performance spectacle I saw in Salamanca's Plaza Major in 2005.
That brings my first experience of the Edinburgh Festival, Fringe, Bookfest and Filmfest to a close. Definitely got the best bang for buck from the Fringe, with too many of the main Festival events disappointing either because of the nature of the performance or because the venues were too cramped, uncomfortable and poorly air-conditioned. If you're going to pay £50+ for a show or sit for 2 hours through an intellectually-challenging work, then the last thing you want to worry about is staying awake or keeping blood-supply to your feet.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Enjoying view from top of double-decker buses
Event #39: Potted Potter, the unauthorised Harry Potter experience
Potted Potter is primarily directed at children, but there's enough going on (and the show is short enough) to entertain adults as well. At one point the audience is divided into Gryffindor and Slytherin houses, so that a game of mock-Quidditch can be played out. My favourite line was when Dan tells a little girl in the front row that "you could have brought a broom with you, but you didn't ... and you've let everybody down."
I'm not going to count my attendance for the last 20 minutes of the final Seriously show. While intending to see the whole show, I had some car problems that prevented me getting there earlier, and I needed the car as I was bringing Bondi in to say hi to everyone.
Final bows: Anthony, Tania, Maria, Michael, Paul
Bondi checks out performance space as Seriously bumps out.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Artisan Roast, Broughton Street
A "dean" is a deep valley, and this old milling town lies way below the rest of Edinburgh, although not more than 2 minutes' drive from its heart.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is signposted as being off the walk to the west of the village, but after one sign after another saying it is always 1/4 mile away, you finally reach a sign that omits it, and you're still none the wiser as to where the gallery lies. I had to give directions on how to follow the Leith Path (due to the poor signage along the route) to one couple. He said "We've lived in Edinburgh for 74 years and it's ridiculous that you have to give us directions..."
Dean Bridge (Thomas Telford); St. Bernard's Well - ach is he now?
I don't know whose statue sits in the structure over St Bernard's Well. While the mineral waters have done wonders for St Bernard's skin, he looks more like a Bernadette to me.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Stumbling half way down the stairwell of a doubledecker bus as it lurched along Leith Walk, I jarred my back. Waking this morning, the lower area is so inflamed, I can't even put on shoes and socks without whimpering in pain.
Event #32: Yuri Bashmet & Oleg Maisenberg
Bashmet plays Benda
Back to the Queen's Hall for another classical recital. Pianist Maisenberg opened with Brahms' three Op117 Intermezzi, his approach to the piano a complete contrast to Mustonen's "never less than mezzoforte". Caressing the keys, he reminded me a bit of Richard Goode, another pianist known as much for his chamber as his solo perfomances.
Yuri Bashmet, currently the world's most acclaimed violist, joined him for Brahms' Viola Sonata in E-flat, a piece I know better in its form as clarinet sonata. Maisenberg was more to the fore here, yet a sensitive collaborator.
At the conclusion of this half of the program, my back was too to continue sitting in the cramped rows of this venue, so I went back home immediately. The pieces I missed were Britten's Lachrymae and Schostakovich's Sonata Op147.
Documentary on film-maker David Lynch should have held me spellbound, but walking into the darkened theatre I found myself struggling to stay awake. I wasn't sure whether I was conscious or dreaming some of the dialogue.
Event #34: The Bacchae / Black and White Rainbow
Another go around with Euripedes' The Bacchae, and a return to the Black and White Rainbow company. This highly compressed adaptation by Simon Evans, who also took the role of Pentheus sets the action in 1930s USA, with Dionysus a travelling magician. It's an interesting idea, but I'm very divided on the result. Broadly speaking you have two big things going on in The Bacchae: gods vs humanity, and passion vs reason. The supernatural aspect is completely taken out of this version, so there is no opener from Dionysus, nor the closing grief and shame of Agave. While this still leaves fertile ground, the characters of Dionysus and his mortal cousin Pentheus (now a prince of industry) are presented somewhat at odds with the qualities they represent. Pentheus (Simon Evans) is proud and angry, but all quivers and twitches. Dionysus (Miles Bullock, with Shakespearia clarity) is stern and aloof, commanding only his trio of vaudeville assistants, rather than a pack of warrior women.
Event #35: Famished
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Event #29: Symphony without Orchestra
Today's lunchtime concert was Tchaikowsky's Symphony No.6 "Pathetique", begun in February 1893 and premiered in October that year, one week before the composer's death. The four able hands at the piano belonged to Stefan Warzycki and Adrian Sims, who really delivered an exciting reading of the work, especially in the third movement. A special round of applause for that effort.
|My friend Rob put me onto the works of Jane Jacobs earlier this year. I just finished her slim but intensely rewarding volume "Cities and the Wealth of Nations" (1984). Really heady stuff, provocative and accessible. I have her "Dark Age Ahead"(2004) on my shelf, and look forward to reading her major work "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." (1961).|
Event #31: Dracula / Black & White Rainbow
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Event #28: Newley: The Singer and His Songs
One of the first movie musicals I remember is Doctor Dolittle, which featured Anthony Newley's songs (with music by Leslie Bricusse) Talk to the Animals, and My Friend the Doctor (sung by Newley as character Matthew Mugg, mugging to the audience?). Follow that up (for me) many years later with the music for Willy Wonka ( The Candy Man, Pure Imagination ) , or for that matter his lyrics for Goldfinger, or the song Feeling Good, covered by Nina Simone amongst many.
This show was neither a tribute, nor a bio-musical, but a curious musical reflection on the impact of Newley on performer David Boyle's own life. This is the stated intention of this one hour show, but it sometimes falls flat with too much emphasis on Newley's skill as a mime, and pauses for meaningful(?) reflection. Except for all the lovingly evoked renditions of Newley's songs, one could almost come away thinking the show was about another mime/actor/composer ... Charlie Chaplin.
Here's an excerpt from the show:
or try Newley himself (with Bob Downe!)
Man tries to escape from coat-hanger; dog confused.
Robert Henryson: Blessed be simple life
Blessed be simple life, withouten dreid;
Blessed be sober feast in quiete;
Who has enough, of no more has he need,
Though it be little into quantity.
Great abundance, and blind prosperity,
Ofttimes make an evil conclusion;
The sweetest life, therefore, in this country,
Is of sickerness*, with small possession.
Dinner at Hector's gastro pub