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.

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. Modern dance is more abstract, allowing you to switch off subconsciously, or watch without focusing on what you think you should be focusing on. It kind-of lulls you, and on the more abstract canvas, perhaps more of yourself projects onto things. The music also tends to be more contemporary than ballet; last year's Richard Alston show included techno/trance music. It was one of my favourite shows of the year.

And this year? It was nice to be back at the Festival Theatre, with its Tiffany-styled lamps of an art-deco style; it makes me feel glamorous. I don't like all the breaks between acts, because it makes me spend more money. After the third act at nine o'clock, a man next to me left and didn't come back, and I wonder if he knew there was a fourth and final act. Even I had my bags with me, thinking that was that, when I heard ushers reminding customers there was one more act to go. If you didn't have a programme (usually around £4), it was difficult to follow.

Anyway. Act one had a French, aristocratic theme, all elegance. It included a fascinating new dancer I don't remember from last year, her style incorporated Indian or Thai styles of movement which were striking among the 'Louis XIV' vibe. Cliché alert: she moved like she was dancing on air, spinning gently in successions of graceful pirouettes before her signature Thai/Indian pose. You can see her in my accompanying photo in the middle, for those wishing to visualise her.

On that note, the blonde dancer is also interesting, they use her prominently for the Richard Alston promo photos (see at the front of the photo), she looks a bit like Lady Gaga, the same kind of oval face and aquiline nose. I guess some dancers have the X factor, and she's one of them – all the dancers are talented but she always grabs my attention. I admit I prefer looking at the female dancers.

This may explain my feelings about the show as a whole. Act one was the French aristocratic piece, all very pretty with its classical music. Then after the break (ice-cream: £3), two men dancing in a dance battle. I clapped politely and enjoyed my ice-cream (though not for long because you don't get much ice-cream in the quite-small tub). Act three was the best, edgy, the stage stripped of everything, with spotlights on stands, and the theatre's back wall of brick. The dancing too was edgy, and the music also, all strings like from a horror film or east European communist weirdness. I applauded enthusiastically – I think I was the first in the theatre to do so, I was so much into it. Then back to another break: crisps, £1.50. On top of the pint of cider at the beginning (£4.50), nearly ten pounds on refreshments. I'm tempted next time to sneak stuff in, but part of the fun of going to a place like the Festival Theatre is going to the bar and ordering stuff. I'm glad they don't have such shows so often. At the Cameo cinema, a film and a hot chocolate can be enjoyed for a tenner.

So to my conclusion: I didn't enjoy it as much as last year, but it was still good. I wish I had more money and wasn't sticking to such a tight budget these days. If I had more money, I would turn up at the Festival and sample their many wines, eat their luxury £1.50 crisps like they were going out of business. I would eat small tubs of ice-cream and not think to myself: fuck me, £3 is a lot for this small tub of ice-cream. And while I was thinking this, I would check my £4 programme to see how many acts there were. But seriously, £4 for a programme you'll probably never use afterwards? I think it's better to be confused and hope you don't walk out too early. For what it's worth, I didn't think the fourth and final act was anything special, and the man who'd sat next to me had got the best part of the show before he'd left, with that brilliant third act.
Summer in London: interview with Ash Palmisciano
The Festival’s Last Hours

Comments 1

Guest - Yesenia on Sunday, 25 September 2016 16:57

I've told you several times Gina, if you went vegan life would be much easier for you hehe no more expensive ice cream at cinemas, no more fire alarms going off at home
Love, Yesi

I've told you several times Gina, if you went vegan life would be much easier for you hehe no more expensive ice cream at cinemas, no more fire alarms going off at home :) Love, Yesi
Sunday, 17 November 2019

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

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...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

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...
August 13, 2019

Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem

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...
August 04, 2019

Drone by Harry Josephine Giles

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 ...
August 03, 2019

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza

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...
August 03, 2019

While transphobes get more hateful, I become more freckly

While transphobes got more hateful, I became more freckly Written weeks after the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International There's nothing good to say, even the films I enjoyed watching this past week, Midsommar and Apollo 11 , I've lost the Sunday will to write. Perhaps Brexit Britain will become like the village cult in Midsommar , bu...
June 09, 2019

Dark Phoenix, John Wick 3, Godzilla: my reflections

Three fantasy movies within three days: X Men: Dark Phoenix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Godzilla: King of the Monsters The Lacanian feminist Kaja Silverman says about cinema, we go because we need the affirmation, to see the things we hope to see and fail to see in the real world. In Lacanian-speak, Silverman says we go because 'the desire ...