EIF 2016 SHAKE -adapted by Dan Jemmett from 12th Night by William Shakespeare

Singers, Bengal

Singers, Bengal

SHAKE is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Dan Jemmett and the Eat a Crocodile company have crafted a delightful show full of cultural nods – music hall, end of pier theatricals, cross-dressing set-piece humour, filmic song and dance routines – in French with side-titles.

Identical twins Sebastian and Viola are ship-wrecked and each thinks the other perished. Viola dresses as a man and seeks work as page to Orsini with whom she falls in love. Sebastian is looked after by Antonio, who harbours a hopeless love for him, and eventually Sebastian is married by the beautiful Olivia – who is the object of Orsini’s desire. Okay, still with it? Into the mix, we have Feste, yesterday’s jester, who tells jokes in American English, and Malvolio, the buttoned up steward and perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most well-defined character studies. Not forgetting Sir Toby and Sir Andrew – one of them is a music/pier show dummy and one a drunk.

The Eat a Crocodile company deliver a touching, humorous and polished show from a set of seaside bathing cabins. They sashay through two wonderful hours of acting, singing, dancing, costume changes, a ventriloquist’s dummy and more……….

Tickets for the two remaining performances Sat 13th  2.30 and Sat 13th 7.30 are here


And we have lift-off…

In-flight entertainment was provided by ‘Wee Hughie”s antics trying to get to Edinburgh for the Preview of Matthew Lenton’s Interiors presented by Vanishing Point.

He’d messed up, ‘Wee Hughie’ had  and the lady  whose telephone conversation with his mum/girlfriend/sister was broadcast on speaker phone to the whole Grand Circle was not pleased. The rest of us were much entertained, although very happy that it was all switched off in response to the authoritative voice from the outer darkness, ‘Switch it off now, Love, switch it off.

So following this, Lenton and Vanishing Point had ground to recover. And recover it they did with a warm, affectionate look at the frailties of both the human condition and a community living on the edge. The polar bears, the narrator informs us, are very hungry at this time of year. Where society is small, the individuals making it up have to get on, compromise and respect one another.

They might also entertain one another and there is a dance routine you should try not to miss.

Interiors is in rep with Vanishing Point’s The Destroyed Room at the Royal Lyceum theatre till Monday 8th August. Tickets from the EIF Ticketing Hub

Do you have my historical romance on your e-reader? Buy for kindle here

It’s Official (1)

ENCOUNTER by Simon McBurney and Complicite was the water into which I dipped my first toe of 2015.

When Dominic Cavendish interviewed McBurney for The Telegraph – with ten days to go – he claimed the show wasn’t finished. He claimed it was waking him up at 4am and the stage manager was clamouring for a script.


Complicite, Théatre de Complicite, is about collaboration, but it defies my understanding that a show of the complexity I saw performed last night was so unfinished ten days ago, it was wakening the creator and performer up. What did he mean?

Did he mean one or two loose ends needed tying? Did he mean he’d read the book, Amazon Beaming, some time ago and a few ideas were floating about? Clearly, there’s room for misunderstanding about what ‘finished’ means.

The evening begins with McBurney talking the audience into their individual headphones – ‘This is a conference centre, not a theatre.’ he says with a laugh. Then he wanders around his stage and introduces us to a head on a stand. The technicalities will be familiar to many, but binaural technology was new to me. So when he introduced us to noise in our left ear and noise in our right ear and later when there were mosquitoes buzzing around the back of my neck, I was hugely impressed. I kept my eyes closed for much of the two hours and missed the occasional visual joke, but the effect was all-encompassing.

Without the nausea of 3-D cinema, the effect is so realistic I was just stopping myself slapping the ants and running from the rising flood-water. It’s wonderful story-telling.

Amazon Beaming is a 1991 book by Romanian author Petru Popescu. It recounts the remarkable period American photographer Loren McIntyre spent, 20 years before, in the captivity of an Amazon tribe. This is what McBurney based Encounter on.

In addition, he personalizes the creation of the story and the telling of the story by introducing his sleepless daughter and her pointed questions. The child’s voice punctuates the arc of the main plot as the artist creating the work tries to create while baby-sitting, and introduces some levity into the profound nature of Loren McIntyre’s experience.

Two hours on and McBurney has earned a standing ovation. It all looked finished to me. He took time to commend his technical crew and I’d second that. Perfect cues, great stage-effects (I was looking sometimes) and sympathetic or dramatic lighting added hugely to the production. Highly recommended.

Run continues various dates till Sat 22nd 7.30pm and 4 matinées. Performance has no interval. Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Morrison Street.