Category Archives: Edinburgh

Horse: Review of Careful, The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, August 2016 and Winter Tour Preview

2016HORSE_AVZ

“Be yourself, and others will find you”
 This stage show, shown at this year’s Edinburgh Festival was the story of Horse’s life. Born Sheena McDonald (the Sh-he-na part she hated), in one of Scotland’s market towns.
And as a fellow Lanarkian, the feeling of the town felt very familiar, but while I might have experienced the usual teenage angst, Horse’s experiences growing up were very different.
First of all the name that she hated. She decided she was going to be called Horse, she identified with those lovely majestic animals, and she knew in her heart she was different from the other girls, as she struggled with her sexuality, feeling misplaced in the world.
The set was minimal but effective. Two chairs on stage – representing her home life – one for mum and one for dad – both empty. Her parents, Vicky and Dugald, both passed within six months of each other, leaving Horse bereft. The experience somehow cemented even more firmly her compassion and ability to connect and empathise with other people.
During her show we hear about the simple things, and the things you remember growing up. We hear tales of her mum and dad and how they would sit in their chairs, drink tea and eat Rich Tea biscuits.
We hear about the angst of growing up in a small town where Horse stood out, was subjected to bullying and the odd advice from a lady on a train who tells her of a doctor she could go to to “help” sort out her problems.
There’s lots of laughter too among the tears, as Horse talks of her two tone loons “as experimental as it gets in Lanark” and having to go to the school disco in her mum’s Paisley patterned shirt.
 But there’s an escape and a sanctuary which Horse finds in music. Oddly not realising at first the gift she was born with. But then success comes as she appears on The Tube, gets the record deal and is asked to perform at the Stonewall gig at the Albert Hall.
There are still dark periods though – the operation for vocal nodes and the agonising wait as she fears she won’t be able to sing again.
And then we somehow come full circle. Horse meets her soulmate Alanna. she returns to her birthplace to marry, and she attends the equal marriage vote at the Scottish Parliament on 4th February 2014. And we feel a lovely sense of love, acceptance and peace.
This was a heartfelt and soul-baring play, delivered bravely by Horse, beautifully written by Lynn Ferguson and expertly directed by Maggie Kinloch.
While I know Horse and the town she grew up in, what would the couple from California I got talking to in the queue make of her? They visit Edinburgh every year and stay for the duration of the Festival, packing in as much as they can. They knew nothing about Horse, stumbled upon the play and decided to give it a go.
I met them afterwards. They were enthusiastic and moved to tears. The lady was desperate to get her hands on a Horse CD and loved the song Careful – which Horse sang and referenced throughout the show. I caught Horse’s play on the first night, and if this was anything to go by, all those festival goers who stumble upon shows will have felt like they discovered a little Edinburgh Festival gem.
Horse is now back at the “day job” and getting ready for a tour in November and word is that she’s going to be touring Careful next year.
Meanwhile catch her at:
Dundee Rep 5th November
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Music, Previews, Scotland, Theatre reviews

Maggie’s Culture Crawl – Edinburgh, 25th September, 2015

Maggie's Culture Crawl

Culture Crawls have been a part of Maggie’s cancer charity for a number of years, held very successfully in London and in other parts of the country.

Now the charity have brought this successful fundraiser to Scotland. They held their first Scottish Culture Crawl in the country’s capital through the organisation of Maggie’s Edinburgh, who have a centre at the Western General Hospital.

I’ve been a long-time admirer of the fantastic work this cancer charity does, and like so many people, I have friends whose lives have been affected by this cruel disease.

But I hesitated slightly when I realised the Culture Crawl involved walking 10 miles, my fitness levels aren’t what they used to be, or should be, but I signed up anyway and hoped for the best.

I liked the premise – enjoy some culture in Scotland’s capital city, get access to some of the city’s top arts venues and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

I was also assured there were lots of stops along the way and I wouldn’t even notice the mileage. I wasn’t convinced – but it was true.

The starting point was Edinburgh’s Fettes College, where we picked up t-shirts, snacks and a route map. We had a fun warm-up and a chat from author of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, who was supporting the event by gifting a specially written story. Then we went on our merry way.

2015-09-25 18.45.43

M CC

Our first stop. was at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. It proved warm and welcoming with free drams on offer, and for those driving, like myself, there were little tubs of whisky flavoured ice cream. 2015-09-25 19.45.48

Next up was the beautiful Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It was time for snacks and a lovely look around an eye-catching exhibition called Head to Head.

2015-09-25 20.01.21

2015-09-25 20.04.08

2015-09-25 20.03.07

2015-09-25 20.04.58

2015-09-25 20.05.59

2015-09-25 20.08.38

A little bit further on was Parliament Hall, where we had some more refuelling while we listened to a beautiful choir.

2015-09-25 21.06.33

Dovecot Studios was an interesting discovery and somewhere I’m already planning to revisit. We were met here with a welcoming delicious hot chocolate, yummy cake and a walk around this fascinating building. It used to be a swimming baths and it is now home to a tapestry studio. You can visit during the day, see the weavers at work and buy some of the lovely gifts on display, as well as spend some time in the cafe.2015-09-25 21.35.41

2015-09-25 21.37.37

2015-09-25 21.38.01

2015-09-25 21.38.48

2015-09-25 21.38.26

2015-09-25 21.39.57

A lovely touch at Dovecot Studios was the chance we got to be creative by making up Maggie’s hearts and saying what the charity means to us. It was a time for quiet reflection as well as a chat to some of the many Maggie’s volunteers who were in attendance all during the night, and who made sure we were well looked after. The heart-felt sentiments were collected and by the time we finished our walk, they were already on display at the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh.

2015-09-25 21.42.45

The next stop at Summerhall gave us an interesting chat with Pickering’s Gin and some tasting sessions.

2015-09-25 22.19.04-1

There was even time for some disco dancing – for those lucky people who still had some energy left in their legs!

2015-09-25 22.21.19

By this point we were on the home run, and I was starting to flag a little. So the pit stop at the Clydesdale Bank Plaza was a welcome chilled out zone. We were served teas, coffees, soups, and Tunnock’s snacks, while we listened to the lovely Christie Quartet. A couple even took to the middle of the plaza for some ballroom dancing.

2015-09-25 23.01.32

Another wonderful discovery was the Gallery of Modern Art, where we were met with the message across the building which said “Everything is going to be alright”. This was also a particularly poignant part of the trail, as we saw Charles Jencks illuminated “Landform”, a dedication to his late wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks – who the Maggie’s Centres are named after.

2015-09-25 23.25.38

2015-09-25 23.27.26

Then with the end in sight, we walked to our final destination – the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh. All 330 people who took part in the walk, were all safely counted back in again. We had a celebratory drink, either prosecco, tea, coffee, soft drinks, and delicious pizzas supplied by La Favourita. And there was a chill out zone which consisted of huge bean bags.

This was a fantastic event, extremely well organised, and great fun. I loved exploring the city at night time and discovering new treasures, while also raising money for a great cause. Although I’d signed up to walk on my own, I chatted to lots of people all along the way. I met people from Aberdeen and Newcastle, as well as those closer to home. Some were walking for people dear to them, and they all knew how important it is to keep supporting the fantastic work of the Maggie’s Centres.

Thank you Maggie’s and well done. I’ll be signing up for next year.

2015-09-26 00.16.172015-09-26 00.13.40

2015-09-26 00.26.02

  

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, Edinburgh, Events, Scotland