Three Days to Go
Written by Julian Lopez-Morillas   
Saturday, 11 August 2012 06:17

    We're nearing the end of our Fringe run, and the excitement of being here is still undiminished. Our houses have improved a bit in recent days, and we hope to finish strong on Monday. We keep seeing as much theatre as we can, a mixed bag as always; a highlight was last night when Mike McShane joined us to see a Scots Macbeth-- a full translation into the Scots language (not dialect, as any true Caledonian will remind you). For the uninitiated, this is a parallel development from Anglo-Saxon, with some French and Norse influences, heavy on burred R's and guttural CH's; for us, who know the original well, not difficult to follow. It was a production of Edinburgh Theatre Arts, with an RSC connection of some kind, with good acting but minimal design, in a cramped, close church hall hung with black duvetine-- that's become something of a cliche in Fringe productions we've seen. Some of the poetry lost in paraphrase, of course, but a fascinating experiment in language and I got a big kick out of it.

    We've picked up a car-- a Toyota hybrid-- for the next phase of our trip, and I'm beginning to master the white-knuckled panic of negotiating Edinburgh traffic (with its unpredictable one-way streets and closures due to construction of a tram system) adding to the anxiety of left-side-of-the-road, steering-wheel-on-the-right driving which faces every foreign driver here. It's much easier once you get out in the country, and yesterday Michael and I did just that, visiting Cairnpapple Hill southwest of here, a Neolithic ritual and burial site older than Stonehenge:



    And also Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots:



    The city itself still fascinates us, with its diversity, color and energy. We're glad we were here for a day at least before the Fringe really got started, because we had a taste of the quiet before the storm; 24 hours later the Festival had transformed all of Edinburgh into a 300-ring circus. It's exhilarating, but one also longs to savor the city's pleasures in a calmer time-- on some future visit.