Highlights hits the Fringe

I was pleased when I heard that Highlights had been awarded a NRTF bursary towards a visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and delighted to find out that I’d been chosen to receive this.  I go and see some shows which might be suitable for rural touring, and in return write a short review of each and a piece about my Edinburgh Experience? Deal!

I boarded an early train from County Durham, and was in the Scottish Capital by lunch time.

I headed over to the Scottish Storytelling Centre where I was due to meet Rosie from Highlights. On the way I saw some street theatre, and some singers of Fisherman’s Tales.

I absolutely loved The Man Who Planted Trees, by Puppet State Theatre. Based on a true story, this was a delightful show. We laughed, we cried. There were scents, there was rain. And there was a puppet dog helping to tell the story. I recommended this to my sister, who saw it with her children. She recommended it to her husband who saw it with his friend. If you get a chance, go and see this show.

In the evening we saw Winter Wilson, a Scots-English folk-rock duo. They sang covers and their own material, accompanied by several instruments, and chatted away between songs. I did enjoy this show, and thought it would sit very well in several Highlights venues.

By the time I got back to my sister’s house, it was late, so a quick catch up with her, and a big mug of tea. Up early the next morning and a lovely walk across The Meadows to see Great Grimm Tales by Box Tale Soup. BTS are well known to Highlights and this show didn’t disappoint. A show for grown-ups, dark tales retold. We spoke with the performers after the show; they’ll also offer Little Grimm, a show for children.

Later that evening, we were in a shipping container near the Assembly Rooms to see Yours Sincerely by Quick Duck Theatre. Will has ‘acquired’ 300 second class stamps and decides to resurrect the art of letter writing. Based on real life correspondence, this show was poignant and funny. Incorporating lip-syncing to Kylie and giant chocolate buttons, it was a delight.

The next day, I met with Kate from Highlights at Summerhall. First up was Islander – a New Musical. The two young women delivered a beautiful show, incorporating storytelling and evocative Scottish songs.

Then it was over to the Dance Centre for Six Feet, Three Shoes. This was an amazing combination of traditional Scottish dance, flamenco, and storytelling. Apparently, the full-length show concludes with a ceilidh, so this will definitely be on my list to see again.

Last up was some acapella and comedy with my family. All in all, my tally was ** 11 venues ** 14 shows ** 13 singers ** 11 storytellers ** 9 actors ** 6 musicians ** 4 dancers ** 2 exhibitions **.

If you have an opportunity to visit The Fringe, do go. There’s something for everyone, and you may be pleasantly surprised by something you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.

My top tips:

  1. Comfortable footwear – there’s lots of walking (and sometimes sprinting) between venues.
  2. Stay hydrated – a water bottle is an essential, and all venues will refill if you ask.
  3. Refillable coffee mug – if you like your hot drink, venues will give a discount of up to 50p if you don’t use a disposable cup.
  4. Half Price Hut – offers discounted tickets for performances happening on that day and following morning. You can check online which shows are offering tickets and pick them up at the stand at the bottom of The Mound.

Libby Thompson, Promoter
Mickleton Village Hall
Teesdale, County Durham

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