It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, so if you’re new, feel free to look around and get in deep into the archive. If you’re into modern rock circa early 2000s, you’re likely to find something here you might like.
I’m also planning on releasing loads of well, unreleased photos very soon. I have loads of images (and gasp! even short videos) of shows I never reviewed, so I’ll be attempting a bit of a dump-a-thon over the next couple of months.
But now back to the matter at hand…
Today’s post is a bit unusual in that it’s not a straightforward music review. It’s of a local festival I attended featuring theater and spoken word…but there was a tiny bit of music, so I figure I’d still include it. Also, it’s my blog, so I figured I’d include it :D
I was able - through the generosity of my friend L., who won tixs through a Facebook contest - to attend the Hidden Door Festival over in Leith, Edinburgh. Now this was dead-handy, as I happen to pretty much live in Leith… Well, maybe literally on the border of the neighborhoods, but the point is, I live nearby. In fact, the festival was held in a quasi-abandoned theater, right behind my local library.
The Leith Theatre used to host big name acts like AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and Mott the Hoople. Sadly, it closed its doors back in 1988 and has stood empty ever since. But The Hidden Door Festival specializes in hosting great events in formerly derelict places and took over the theatre this Spring to host this great festival. The festival took place over ten days, from the 26th of May to June 4th.
My friend and I attended on May 31st. I didn’t exactly know what to expect as I’d never been to such a mixed use festival. It turned out to be much more fun than I could’ve anticipated.
The theatre hasn’t yet been renovated. There’s paint peeling from the walls and ceiling - so much so in places that it looks like it’s rained paint chips - and there’s a feeling of decay and neglect everywhere one goes. But there’s also a sense of fun and adventure and creativity everywhere. Go up some stairs and spot a little drawing of an imp. Walk down a corridor and spot a brilliant light installation.
|Work by Tracy McGovern and John Hall, amongst others.|
It keeps on surprising you and enchanting you, even as you’re simply wondering around looking for the loo.
|Wandering the halls.|
Our first performance stop was a play put on by the company Grid Iron, called South Bend. We came in a bit late and so were seated upstairs in the balcony. The balcony wasn’t quite set up for the type of performance - intimate - that this play turned out to be. If you weren’t tall or bendy, it was pretty painful trying to watch the two actors on stage.
But the performance itself was very passionate. The basic story concerns a Scottish boy who falls in love with a California girl and who flies over to see her when she’s involved in an accident… Except now she’s back in Indiana, thereby the title of the piece.
All the parts were played by two actors - a young man and woman - who did a stellar job of inhabiting (and differentiating) the characters. I’ll admit to sometimes not understanding the young man’s lines - my ears are still adjusting to Scottish tones - but it didn’t deter me from enjoying the performance.
|Grid iron on stage (Apologies for all the super brightness 😎)|
I thought the play dealt deftly with what it means to fall in love with someone who lives far away, the expectations therein, and the sometimes inevitable disappointments.
We then went wandering around and saw that a spoken word performance was taking place in the venue next door to the theatre. The place is filled with nooks and crannies and all sorts of extra performance places.
|Another venue? Yes!|
I came into a largeish hall with a stage at the end. Instead of regular rows of seats facing the stage, couches and cafe tables and chairs had been spread throughout the floor, making the space very welcoming and downright cozy.
The performance was organized by Andrew Blair and was titled The R-Pattz Factz.
It was already in progress by the time I came in, so I’m unsure of how many performers there were. I didn’t quite know what I’d gotten myself into at first.
The first performer I caught was Andrew Blair himself, reading a Sparksnote version of Gilgamesh…if Gilgamesh was Robert Pattinson, he of all the vampire/werewolf films 😉
|Andrew Blair reciting Gilgamesh...sort of.|
It was tremendous.
Then other performers came on stage, and quickly we realized the connection, and the name of the piece. All of the work was based on Robert Pattinson!
This made for an incredibly fun performance by all, with a special mention going to Harry Giles for his piece Trump/Pattison. He used @realDonaldTrump’s tweets from February 2017 and replaced all the proper nouns with “Robert Pattinson”. It was absurd, it was political, it was funny, and it was damn brilliant.
|Harry Giles and his Trump/Pattinson Sonnets (©Harry Giles).|
And this is where the music comes into play…
One of the performers sang “Born Slippy”, very apropos given its’ fame from the Trainspotting soundtrack, which is mainly set in Leith. He did this though, while wearing a Robert Pattinson mask.
It was all silly, camp, ridiculous, and probably the best time I’ve ever had at a spoken word performance.
After hearing the words “Robert Pattinson” repeated twelve-hundred times, it was hard to move on. But we knew there was another theater piece so we hurried back to the main venue to see Love performed by Ludens Ensemble.
There were three performers playing three separate characters, with one foot in Elizabethan England and one foot in modernity.
|Some paper crafting going on.|
The piece was a mix of dance, performance art, theater, crafting, puppetry, almost everything but the kitchen sink. It was all a bit messy and fun and kooky and a bit hard to describe.
|A living ladder.|
It was definitely engaging and not really the type of performance I’d usually go see but I was so glad to have had the chance to be there and experience it all.
|Some very sexy gyrations.|
It was a fantastic evening with great and surprising performances. Many thanks again to L. for the invite and I can’t wait for next year’s edition of the Hidden Door Festival.
P.S. Oh and I've moved to Scotland... Blog name notwithstanding. 😀