Never less than spectacular: Cirque Eloizes Cirkopolis, inspired by Fritz Langs Metropolis. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images
Thats not right The taxi driver and I had been talking about Chill Habibi, the Arab-Scottish cabaret at Summerhall. Id repeated the comperes stories about the difficulties Arab artists are having getting visas. Its called the international festival, the driver said. Its meant to break down borders.
This turned out to be the theme of my festival week. Is it chance, unconscious selection or antennae to the zeitgeist? This year, almost all the shows Ive seen revolve around identity, belonging, rejection and acceptance; the breaking down of borders, real and imaginary. Between shows, the citys crowded streets come to seem like a celebration of togetherness when they arent a human barrier of leaflet-wavers, costume-wearers and punters blocking routes between venues.
Theyre beached. We have to help them. On a windy corner outside Assembly George Square theatre, a pod of Whales (in fact a group of volunteers in wet suits) flaps its fins. More volunteers spray them with water. This is the Wellington-based Binge Culture collective, part of a season celebrating New Zealand artists: Look them in the eyes, the speaker calls. Sing. Make contact. Voices join a haunting melody: Ng iwi e. Its a Mori song, someone tells me, about people pulling together and standing strong. The whales return to the ocean (or top of the steps). That was strangely moving, says a Scottish voice beside me.
I was at primary school when, in 1966, 116 children and 28 adults in the Welsh village of Aberfan were buried beneath colliery spoil. I shall never forget what I saw on television that day. Thats why I wanted to see Neil Anthony Dockings The Revlon Girl (Assembly Roxy). Now, I shall never forget the play either; its cloud-scuddingly fast changes between light and dark, laughter and tears. Based on the true story of bereaved Aberfan mothers who, ashamed to seem frivolous, secretly invited a Revlon sales rep to one of their weekly meetings to give them beauty tips, this is a study in the masks grief wears, and what it takes and what it might mean to put on a brave face. There are stupendous performances from the five actors, whose highly individual characters refract universal suffering and resilience.
Dundonian by dialect, Asian by birth, adolescent Jaimini is torn between cultures and obsessed by the spectre of Idi Amin, self-proclaimed last king of Scotland. When Amin expelled Asians from Uganda in 1972, the writer Jaimini Jethwa was just a child. Her family, forced to flee their comfortable home, eventually settled in the unfamiliar surroundings of a housing scheme in the D Dundee. The Last Queen of Scotland (Underbelly, Cowgate) is a fiction based around these real events. Jaiminis emotional journey back to Uganda, in search of her true self and her place in her community, is evoked by two women. Rehanna MacDonald is a confused, angry, questing Jaimina; singer-songwriter Patricia Panther plays supporting roles and, sitting at a computer, the live soundtrack. What the performance occasionally lacks in pace it makes up for in passionate intensity.
The world has turned grey. Until Jihans Smile (Summerhall) returns, the sun and moon cannot shine. Jihans father sends a talking bird to fetch experts from abroad to help bring back his daughters smile. But its the local boy who realises the answer does not lie outside but within. With five actors and a musician, puppets and masks, Al-Harah Theater based in the West Bank in Palestine perform this childrens tale in English and Arabic. Accompanying adults might enjoy the multiple levels in the story, but what about the youngsters? Did you like it, I ask a brother and sister of about seven and 11. Yes. Would you recommend it to your friends? Yes!
Manual Cinemas world is meant to be grey. On a huge screen the US company projects shadows created by puppets, actors and cut-outs. With these they create cinematic effects close-ups, long shots, etc in full view of the audience. In Lula del Ray (Underbelly Med Quad), these live manipulations unfurl the story of a young girls coming of age via conflict with her mother and disillusionment with pop idols (lovely live music). The artistry is exquisite but sometimes upstages a rather slow-moving storyline.
The colourful and lively conflicts between Auntie (Laughing Horse @ 48 Below), who hails from the pan-African state of Kengeria, and her gay, mixed-race, London-based son, Mtoto, are based around the experiences of their creator, Gavino di Vino. His characters are exuberantly idiosyncratic, yet their views on race and sexuality expose contemporary hypocrisies and reveal poignant pain. If di Vinos act feels, as yet, embryonic, I imagine Dame Edna Everage, on her first outings, would have made a similar impression: not quite formed, but brimming with wicked potential.
A man in a grey suit sits on a park bench flanked by a briefcase and sandwiches. He writes on a piece of paper, screws it up, discards it, begins to talk: Even as the sun... Gently he entices us into the world of Venus and Adonis (C-Primo) as imagined by Shakespeare, the goddess of love seeking sexual satisfaction from the youth who, rejecting the advances, pleads with her: Before I know myself, seek not to know me. Christopher Hunter is the narrator, the goddess, the boy, a stallion chasing a mare. I thought I would not see anything else so finely crafted, so movingly delivered for the rest of the fringe.
And then I saw Tash Marshall. Alone in an empty space she creates the world of an English village where I am that mixed-race kid... Around here Im about as black as it goes. Half Breed (Assembly George Square) is the semi-autobiographical story of a 17-year-old girl faced with choices facing up to prejudice and rejection, discovering within herself the person she might become. Vivid characters; split-second changes; intelligent analysis delivered with emotional intensity as writer and as performer, Marshall is breathtaking.
Exquisite artistry, often delivered at dizzying speed, is provided by the acrobats, jugglers, dancers and all-round extraordinary people who make up Quebecs Cirque loize. Cirkopolis (Pleasance at EICC) takes its visual inspiration from Fritz Langs 1927 expressionist film Metropolis. Against back projections of giant cogs and endless-seeming colonnaded corridors, stifling bureaucracy is subverted by untrammelled movement. At times the fast format and loud, pre-recorded soundtrack block contact between stage and auditorium, but the acts are never less than spectacular.
How to resist a play about football after the England teams near triumph last month? Offside (Pleasance Courtyard), by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, is not just a term to describe a rule in the beautiful game; its also a state of mind, a position in society. Three actors nimbly pass the action from pasts (1892 and 1921) to present as their characters tackle obstacles on and off the pitch. Issues covered include race, body image, mental health and media intrusion, but the team keep their eyes firmly fixed on their goal to engage and entertain.
Woman or beast? Captured in the forests of Borneo, after growing up in a pride of lions, and transported to 1861 Holland, Lilith: The Jungle Girl (Traverse) is torn between the human and animal kingdoms. Subjected to scientific examination in a lab; rejected by the big cats in the zoo, her only hope is the opera. This zany three-hander from Australias Sisters Grimm is gloriously absurd, but its promised satire slithers across too many targets to take hold.
Because nobody would cast them in the roles they believed they were destined to play, actors Helen Norton and Jonathan White took matters into their own hands and wrote To Hell in a Handbag (Assembly Rooms). This comic gem follows Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism beyond their exit from The Importance of Being Earnest, into their private worlds of secrets and lies. The dialogue, delivered with impeccable timing and modulation, is light, wicked, artful. Never straining to imitate Oscar, it strikes a satisfyingly Wildean tone. Altogether a hoot of an instant classic.
In a mayhem of computer-smashing cabaret only just contained by compere Miss Annabel Sings, Dive Queer Party celebrate fun (queer or otherwise). One speaker on their Rainbow Soapbox (Traverse) encourages: Take fun seriously and we just might change the world a fitting motto for this festival.
Read the rest here:
- Things Are Different Today, Back In Old New York - The Indypendent - August 10th, 2020
- Bari Weiss, Rose Ritch resign after harassed over their Jewish identities - The Jerusalem Post - August 10th, 2020
- Helen Reddy & Her '70s Feminist Anthem Roar in Trailer for I Am Woman - Advocate.com - August 10th, 2020
- Sheen and Carlin Had 2020 (In)Sight - LA Progressive - August 10th, 2020
- Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively 'deeply regret' their plantation wedding - The Loop - August 10th, 2020
- The Stand: How One Gesture Shook The World - Film Threat - August 9th, 2020
- Arcade Fires The Suburbs and Its Notorious Grammy Win, 10 Years Later - The Ringer - August 9th, 2020
- Wavves' "King Of The Beach' 10th Anniversary Review - Stereogum - August 9th, 2020
- Ulrich Beck Is the World's Most Important Pandemic Intellectual - Foreign Policy - August 7th, 2020
- HaKashaph: The Witchy Jewish Potential of BtVS: WILLOW #1 - Monkeys Fighting Robots - August 7th, 2020
- Why Generation Z are the fully digital pioneers [Q&A] - BetaNews - August 7th, 2020
- Asterisk or not, the 2020 NBA champions will be one to remember - Yahoo Sports - August 6th, 2020
- Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast: Richard Florida, Author, The Rise of the Creative Class - pittsburghquarterly.com - August 6th, 2020
- Scream queens: Remembering the short-lived queer villains of horror - The Independent - August 6th, 2020
- Quick-Take: A Look at the Thinline Anima, the New Rado Zeitgeist - Prestige Online - August 6th, 2020
- How Will Christians Answer This Moment in History? - Sojourners - August 6th, 2020
- We need full integration of black perspective in the telling of history - Big Issue - August 6th, 2020
- NBA: Black Lives Matter and basketballs role in discussion on racism - BBC Sport - August 6th, 2020
- Bonnie Whitmore Searches For Perspective With "Right/Wrong" (premiere + interview) - PopMatters - August 4th, 2020
- The Umbrella Academy cast teases time-bending season 2 | EW.com - Entertainment Weekly - August 4th, 2020
- Designer Handbag Restoration Before And After Pictures And Videos - GLAMOUR UK - August 4th, 2020
- July DVD Releases: Sorry We Missed You, You Dont Nomi - The Spool - August 4th, 2020
- 2021 Unicorn IPO: Unqork, The No Code Movement & Offending People With The Future - Forbes - August 1st, 2020
- Alanis Morissette: Fans would take my underwear. It was invasive - The Irish Times - August 1st, 2020
- Australian Jews' Israel ties sorely tested by saga of alleged sex abuser Leifer - The Times of Israel - August 1st, 2020
- Cate favourite to take out Emmy - Queensland Times - July 31st, 2020
- Why Trumpism won't outlive Trump - The Spectator USA - July 31st, 2020
- Carl F.Bucherer - A partnership between the brand and IGNIV restaurants - Arts and culture - WorldTempus - July 31st, 2020
- Advertising the Black Stuff in Ireland 1959-1999: through a Guinness glass brightly - The Irish Times - July 31st, 2020
- In Hong Kong, politics is inseparable from the art of filmmaking - Equal Times - July 29th, 2020
- The US has finally acknowledged the threat of violent white supremacy: What took so long? - Observer Research Foundation - July 29th, 2020
- What the Conservative Version of Cancel Culture Looks Like - The Bulwark - July 29th, 2020
- Alanis Morissette: 'Without therapy, I don't think I'd still be here' - The Guardian - July 29th, 2020
- Netanyahu has shattered the two-state pipe dream - Gulf Today - July 28th, 2020
- Blade Is One of the Most Influential Movies of the Last 25 Years - ScreenCrush - July 27th, 2020
- Zeitgeist of Now: Privacy in today's world & what it means for brands - MarkLives.com - July 26th, 2020
- I Have to Go in and Decolonize: Europes Black Theater Makers Discuss the Scene - The New York Times - July 26th, 2020
- From James Gunn to Danny Boyle: The 10 best horror films of the 2000s - Far Out Magazine - July 22nd, 2020
- Reviewing the legacy of racist scientists - swissinfo.ch - July 22nd, 2020
- 'Hamilton' has gone virtual on Disney+. What does that mean for the future of live theater? - News@Northeastern - July 22nd, 2020
- Parasite Joins Criterion in October with 4K Remaster, Black-and-White Edition, and More - IndieWire - July 22nd, 2020
- Talking to my children about racism has become much more complicated - The Globe and Mail - July 22nd, 2020
- From Curls to Canvas: Mark Bradford at the Modern in Fort Worth - National Review - July 22nd, 2020
- When the State Fears a Poet - Boston Review - July 21st, 2020
- Reviewing the legacy of racist scientists - SWI swissinfo.ch - swissinfo.ch - July 21st, 2020
- In a post-covid world, the past is no indication of whats in the future: Nandan Nilekani - Livemint - July 21st, 2020
- Israels Fauda vs Turkeys Ertugrul: In India, the battle between two hit TV series is more than a culture war - Haaretz - July 21st, 2020
- The Best Value in Watches Comes From These Brands - Gear Patrol - July 21st, 2020
- In opposition of the Badge Ban: why neutrality is no longer an option - Palatinate - July 19th, 2020
- Some Republicans Say Florida Convention Is a Risk You Have to Take - The New York Times - July 19th, 2020
- The 50 Best Albums From 2000 - Kerrang! - July 19th, 2020
- About | The Zeitgeist Movement - July 19th, 2020
- The Zeitgeist Movement - RationalWiki - July 19th, 2020
- The Zeitgeist Deception | Good Fight Ministries - July 19th, 2020
- The Zeitgeist Movement UK | A Global Grassroots Movement ... - July 19th, 2020
- TikTok: The Summation of 2020's Duality and Chaos - Harvard Political Review - July 18th, 2020
- 'We Need To Dream' - Maria Grazia Chiuri On The Role Of Fashion In Times Of Crisis - Grazia - July 18th, 2020
- Monclers latest digital initiative is all about giving fashion creatives a voice - i-D - July 18th, 2020
- The West Toronto Railpath is the city's hidden urban trail next to the train tracks - blogTO - July 18th, 2020
- Documentary About Controversial LuLaRoe Clothing Empire In Works From Fyre Fraud Team And Based On Media - Deadline - July 12th, 2020
- Enough with the empty platitudes, Football must address its racist culture - Varsity Online - July 12th, 2020
- With Skate 4 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Remastered leading the way, the second coming of skateboarding games is here - GamesRadar+ - July 12th, 2020
- Celebrate Past Olympics and More on The Criterion Channel in July - Cord Cutters News, LLC - July 12th, 2020
- Her Case To Be In Congress Is Unique. Shes Running Because She Doesn't Think It Should Be. - BuzzFeed News - July 12th, 2020
- Reframing cancel culture through the lens of celebrity gossip - LaineyGossip - July 12th, 2020
- Race, diversity, and Black ownership in the cannabis industry: A conversation with SC Labs CEO Jeff Gray - PotNetwork - July 12th, 2020
- The Morning Show Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw On Americas Cultural Awakening & The Road To A New Normal - Deadline - July 12th, 2020
- Finding Hope in Americas Pandemic Dystopia - The American Prospect - July 11th, 2020
- Why race will continue to vex American newsrooms - The Economist - June 22nd, 2020
- Belonging in Fashion, Equality in the Spotlight - Yahoo News - June 22nd, 2020
- The Zeitgeist Movement - Wikipedia - June 22nd, 2020
- This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Klausner and Scharplings Double Threat - Vulture - June 22nd, 2020
- BACK THE BLUE: Former Superman, UFC Hall of Famer join PPD as reserve officers - Idaho State Journal - June 22nd, 2020
- Voter Turnout in New York City Was Cratering; Then Came 2018 - Gotham Gazette - June 22nd, 2020
- Soulwax and the hunt for the EMS Synthi 100 - Engadget - June 22nd, 2020
- Where would menswear be without Black British designers? - i-D - June 22nd, 2020
- Even The Wii U Lived Longer Than The Confederacy - Kotaku - June 22nd, 2020
- The Killing of Rayshard Brooks Shows Police 'Reform' Is a Joke - Consortium News - June 22nd, 2020
- A woke new world: Who deemed the outdated attitudes on display in 2019s Aladdin movie unacceptable in 2020? - RT - June 22nd, 2020
- One last chance to binge-watch movies you've meant to watch - NOLA.com - May 11th, 2020