City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland


By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 08 August 2007

Show details
Mike Maran Productions
Running time: 
Mike Maran, David Vernon (bagpipes)

Mike Maran and accompanying piper (David Vernon) march on to the stage of the Scottish Storytelling Centre where Maran proceeds to draw a series of amusing parallels between Scotland and Italy. 'Garibaldi!' is very much history as story, and certainly the central focus of Garibaldi's life, his key role in the unification of Italy in the mid nineteenth century contains
moments of great drama.

Maran tells the tale of Garaibaldi and the 'Thousand' he led across Sicily and on to victory against the Bourbon government in the south of the peninsula. It's a very personal take on historical events and it remains uncertain to this reviewer whether Garibaldi's Scottish batman and his relationship with the great man has any basis in fact or is simply a peg from
which the catalogue of events unfurls.

This seems something of a pity, as Maran's grasp of real events and personalities is otherwise very sure. For those whose historical education has begun with World War One, what is now Italy was until the mid-nineteenth century divided into principalities and kingdoms, the main ones
being Piedmont in the north, the Papal states in the centre and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, consisting of Sicily itself and much of the south.

A movement to unite the peninsula was led by the republican Mazzini, while a conservative approach was favoured by Cavour, Prime Minister in Piedmont, which was ruled by King Victor Emmanuel. Garibaldi was an idealistic military leader who had gained experience fighting in the Wars of Liberation, which had made independent states of a number of Spain's South American colonies.

Garibaldi's descent on Sicily was made with no outward support from Mazzini and Victor Emmanuel in Piedmont, but with their considerable covert aid. Maran's grasp of the details is prodigious, as his ability to hold an audience through some fairly complex diplomatic shenanigans
and military manouvres.

Maran clearly enjoys himself, which means audiences have a fair chance to do likewise, although even historians amongst them may find the detail at times a little overwhelming.

Time: 3.30pm, 4-19 August (not Sundays)

Copyright Bill Dunlop, published on 2007