Edinburgh Theatre

The year 2015-2016 was a big year for me, coming to Edinburgh after working in the Middle East for several years. One of the first things I did was visit the Festival Theatre, where I fell in love with modern dance (I hate dancing, so don’t switch off if you are also not a dancer). Although I intend to continue visiting the Festival, I will also be trying out other venues, for modern dance, drama, ballet and opera.

Hearty by Emma Frankland

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Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
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Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

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Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...
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Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem

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Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem It starts with a heartbeat, the dancer-directors Lizzie and Ayden in slow-motion entry, setting the scene of a nightclub featuring two young transgender bodies who are in fact multiple. Sound Cistem is theatrical dance set to a series of pulsing, dance-floor rhythms and the voices of several trans interviewees projec...
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Drone by Harry Josephine Giles

Drone
Drone by Harry Josephine Giles The blurring of human and machine reiterates here in a comedically surreal, startling performance by the performance poet Harry Josephine Giles. Drawing on visual and aural effects, Giles presents the disturbingly evocative middle-class arc of the life of an electronic, military drone. With Giles as both narrator and ...
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Burgerz by Travis Alabanza

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Burgerz by Travis Alabanza Playing currently at the Traverse Theatre is Travis Alabanza's poignant and comic one-person show, a thought-provoking meditation created out of a jarring personal experience. Back in 2016, Alabanza, a non-binary person of colour, was abused in a London street, with a burger thrown at them by a stranger. The show's series...
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The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven

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The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven I entered a dark, candle-lit auditorium, finding a dining table stretching the length of the floor, draped in a pristine white tablecloth, with candles and cutlery. Audience members trickled in, free to sit in the auditorium or at the table as guests of a transgender Jesus. Queer, and just a bit contro...
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Resisting Whiteness

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Resisting Whiteness (Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh) Organized by a collective of queer and trans people of colour in Edinburgh and Glasgow, yesterday's Resisting Whiteness combined both conference and safe-space for people of colour to discuss generally (but not only) LGBTQIA+ issues seldom if ever discussed in white-majority spaces. A sell-out thre...
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Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival)

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Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival) A posh young aristo, singing lectures about fisting and 'man twats,' Sod's Law is a rather wonderful exploration of the history of homosexuality from the time of Henry VIII to the 21 st century. From the court of the English Tudor monarch through Molly Houses and Oscar Wilde, we get observations on various legislation...
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Trans Pennine

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Trans Pennine (Edinburgh Festival) A gentle, generally light, small-scale drama, Trans Pennine explores family life after the death of the wife/mother, and a suppressed secret that finally comes out. Of the three-person cast, an embittered husband/father is required to confront a past he'd rather not remember, with the aid of his grown-up son and d...
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Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival)

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Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival) You say 'punk,' I think of skinny men with psycho eyes, about to launch themselves at you with Doc Marten feet and broken beer bottles. Punk as frustrated patriarchy, turned in on itself, lashing out at anyone who comes near. I'm so glad, then, that I went to watch the mesmerizing Pussy Riot last n...
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Edinburgh Book Festival: Precarious Freedoms panel

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​ Precarious Freedoms: Queer Perspectives From Around The World (Edinburgh Book Festival) Last night I attended a panel event at the Edinburgh Book Festival, its importance too great not to write about. Though much was discussed, the theme of trans visibility and invisibility wound its way around much that brought anger, but also hope to the f...
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The Lady Boys of Bangkok (Edinburgh Festival)

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  The Lady Boys of Bangkok (Edinburgh Festival) Their Big Top tent is located on the waste ground between plush apartments and offices – a no-man's land of genderfuck exotica. You walk along Fountainbridge road to see the gathering throng of taxis and the groups of all ages, their glad-rags on. The people are on their Frida...
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Adam (Drama, Edinburgh Festival) 28.08.17

Adam
Adam (Drama, Edinburgh Festival) 28.08.17 This was a slick, creative piece of theatre, inventive in its use of characterisation, stage and language. The duality of particular words is turned into a key recurring theme, and language itself – English compared with Arabic – is explored in relation to gender. As I left the theatre, having been part of ...
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Eve (Theatre, Edinburgh Festival) 27.08.17

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Eve (Theatre, Edinburgh Festival) 27.08.17 Actress/writer Jo Clifford's telling of her life story, Eve , to the accompaniment of photos and occasional background music, produces the expected; it is poignant and sometimes sad, though ultimately has you feeling relieved for her. Like Kate O'Donnell's You've Changed , it charts the trans experience fr...
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Cirkopolis (Circus, Edinburgh Festival)

Cirkopolis
Cirkopolis (Circus, Edinburgh Festival) 21.08.17 Cirkopolis does not lack ambition. Filling a conference room on a daily basis in Edinburgh, drawing audiences with its eye-catching promotion of themes of dystopia set to acrobatics, it offers a conceptually alluring promise of extreme highs (literally) and a brutalist background of 1920s German sci-...
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Skin (Dance, Edinburgh Festival)

Skin
Skin (Dance, Edinburgh Festival) 19.08.17 Dark, smart and serious, Skin emerges like an urban sci-fi, combining euphoria with torment in low-lit orange lighting, the spotlights and the menace of the dancers. The ending is one of several moments that leave a lasting image: of balaclava'd figures, their backs turned to the audience and to the protago...
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You've Changed (Drama, Edinburgh Festival)

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You've Changed (Drama, Edinburgh Festival) 14.08.17 After the crude and clichéd anti-climax that was Testosterone , I approached Kate O'Donnell's one-woman show about her transgender transition with trepidation. You've Changed as it turns out is both less offensive and less of a risk-taker as a show; true, O'Donnell strips and presents her vagina a...
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Testosterone (Drama, Edinburgh Festival)

Testosterone
Testosterone (Drama, Edinburgh Festival) 12.08.17 It started well, a personal story by Kit Redstone about his trans journey to manhood. Then a moment came when one of his co-actors donned a blond wig, corset accompanied with tassles, sparkling underwear and black stilettos, in a narrow, sexualized expression of male-to-female gender cross...
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Summer in London: interview with Ash Palmisciano

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Summer in London is a play written and directed by celebrated playwright Rikki Beadle-Blair, and is currently being performed at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London (8-29 July). It features an all-trans cast, including up-and-coming star Ash Palmisciano, who has kindly agreed to be interviewed by me for Edinburgh Trance. Ash, first of all, c...
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Richard Alston Dance Company

Richard Alston Dance Company
23/09/16, The Richard Alston Dance Company at the Festival Theatre Modern dance is a new passion of mine. I came to Edinburgh in the autumn of 2015 and signed up to watch a series of shows at the Festival Theatre. The modern dance acts all through the year swept me away, so much more than ballet – which sticks to a story you kind-of have to follow....
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