Monday, 27 August 2012

Getting culturally improved in the Athens of the North

One of the great advantages of visiting Edinburgh at this time of year is being able to take advantage of the Festival, or more particularly of the Fringe.

As it happens, today seems to have been pretty much the last day. Since it is one of the great cultural events of this remarkable nation, we hurried into town while we still had (just) time, and took in a couple of shows.

The first we saw was a fine stage performance based on themes drawn from Shakespeare’s Tempest. A powerful tribute to one of the greatest figures not just of English but of world culture, it spoke directly to some of the deepest concerns of mankind’s psyche. OK, it was called The Magician's Daughter and had a cast of two supported by puppets but, hey, we had our granddaughter Aya with us and we had to find something that appealed to all present.

Ariel and Caliban: the Bard revisited for our time
We then climbed further into the esoteric by taking in a performance that ran through a series of metaphors on the human condition, involving juggling clubs, hula hoops, a trapeze and, at the very end, a pillow fight between the performers, Ken and Tina, and the audience.

Ken and Tina: revealing you have to climb high to
reach the peaks of culture offered by Edinburgh
It seemed only appropriate to round off the day with a visit to a bowling alley. After exploring the limits of our intellectual and aesthetic capacities, what could be more fitting than to put our physical skills to the test too?

Aya showing that the trials of her aesthetic sensibility
had done nothing to lessen her hand-eye coordination
The young man at reception in the bowling alley told us with great pride that he was Edinburgh born and bred, had lived there for 29 years (so far), and had never been to a single show at the Fringe. It wasnt many weeks ago that I mentioned my appreciation of the word curmudgeon so it was wonderful to come across so striking a living illustration of one today.

All in all we had an excellent day. Just goes to show that Edinburgh deserves its status as Athens of the North (and with little of the current economic unpleasantness of the Southern original). We who are privileged to live in the same country fail to take advantage of it to our great loss.

Aya rapt in 'Tumble Circus', her Dad rapt in Aya
Aya had a great time too.

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