Festival Blues- [12th Aug at Edinburgh Fringe Part 1]
I seem to have spent the day walking back and forth between venues, wet, blustered and flustered. I was determined to walk the half hour trek so that I could see and experience the city and what it has to offer on the way. I’ve taken in the architecture and bought some wonderfully smelling loose leaf tea and most importantly, chatted to flyering actors about their work, trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
First stop was “The Original Underground Tour” meeting outside the Tron Kirk. The Auld Reekie Tours promised to be more sophisticated and show you more of the vaults than the costumed actors selling the same tour next door. The tour was average, being a historian myself the facts could have been packed tighter and the legendary anecdotes highlighted in contrast. My guide was receptive to her audience however and took us beneath the bridge and into the dark vaults. It was great to see a hidden part of the city and imagine the dramas, murders and goings on that happened in the dark corners. They were damp with water dripping from the ceiling. With tails of famous killers to a contemporary wiccan groups and the stone circle that apparently scorched the hand of our guide and caused a former guide to collapse in its centre. Overall verdict- a little naff but the architecture speaks for itself.
Emerging back into the light I had hoped that the rain might have stopped but no it is here to stay. Next stop was Summerhall Festival Theatre for “Domestic Labour: A study in Love”. The tiled dissection room of Summerhall was filled with hoovers, wires, dust and three women who played and bounded about with their domestic weapons. The piece uses object play, visual tableaus and speech to draw together stories of strong women and how they are perceived. An old fashioned filmed is layered with a more personal story of love, children, husbands and housework. The piece portrays the women as empowered but not dominating and was an honest refreshing take on chores in the home. The hoovers are imaginatively used and underpin everything that happens both physically and narratively. Whisks whirr on top of helmets and dust clouds blow across the women’s faces. The trio’s use of voice has a flow that keeps me engaged and a presence that draws you into their world. This is a strong work that almost gave me tingles and probably would have done had I not been shivering and freezing cold.