City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh News

Fear of a Brown Planet Review

Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman

Their stand-ups fill venues three times as big in Australia; not surprising, considering a good chunk of their material focuses on the racism of their homeland, whom it seems the show is tailored t

Fringe Previews: C Venues, Gilded Balloon, Bedlam Theatre

Fascinating Aida

Day one of the Fringe: it's been a warm, bright day in Edinburgh today.

Film of the Week: Super 8

Super 8

Belying its low budget title, this must be the most expensive love letter to Steven Spielberg ever concocted. It’s a big old-fashioned widescreen epic set around a small town and pays notable tribute to Close Encounters, E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park. Not one trademark touch or visual motif by the ultimate movie brat has been left on the cutting room floor.

Ironically, as co-producer, perhaps Spielberg made sure his latest protege got his tribute right, perhaps even adding a few whilst on set. I can see JJ Abrams rushing to his mentor’s side asking ‘did I get this right?’ Still, the director’s identity is stamped all over it for every night scene is awash with his trademark penchant for lens flare, added to give cinematic depth and a sense of the epic. All that’s missing are fake scratches.

And alongside all the big-eyed wonder of people turning to look at an unseen spectacle or conversely a horrifying abomination is a profound love of the movie making process and clearly, fond childhood memories of growing up with Spielberg’s classics.

Shame then, that as enjoyable as it is, it all turns out to be a bit muddled. This is a film that’s almost brilliant but just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Perhaps trimming a couple of unnecessary characters and subplots might have helped it to become the emotional rollercoaster and nail biting thrill ride that its early scenes promised.

As a result this is one you might enjoy more if you’re one of the few punters on the planet who hasn’t seen the trailer. Far too much was revealed and if I hadn’t seen it myself, I would have been in much more suspense rather than adding the dots together thinking ‘ok the next scene must be the bit with the…..’ I’ll try then not to add to that dilemma.

In a small Mid West town in the late 70’s, a bunch of adolescent kids are making a gory zombie home movie on Super 8. During an illicit late night shoot; this motley crew of enthusiastic amateurs have to abandon their creative vision and run for their lives when a passing train crashes nearby, spilling a top-secret mysterious cargo.

They miraculously survive this never-ending crash and I mean it’s a miracle. There’s no way on God’s earth you could run beside this ear splitting exploding twisting carnage and live. But some realism persists as at least the kids are visibly traumatised, throwing up, shaking and initially fearful that one of them has perished.

Of course their abandoned camera has continued to record something they haven’t yet seen and the government wants to make sure it stays that way. And so the army shows up, seals off the town and sets about covering up the truth. Naturally the kids spoil their gameplan as one adventure and revelation follows another.

This is a film that didn’t need to go any further than that. Somehow, too much gets added along the way. It’s a shame because the first hour is engrossing right from the opening whose unexpectedly sombre scenes are beautifully done. They quickly and cleverly introduce us to the principal characters and emotional dilemmas that run throughout.

Lights! Camera! Improvise! Review

The Scat Pack

Improvisational comedy can be a very hit and miss affair. The ability to create and follow a train of dialogue that is both coherent and funny and do it with only milliseconds to spare is not a talent many people have or can develop. Fortunately 'The Scat Pack' have found a bunch of them, seven to be precise with one master of ceremony.

A Sentimental Journey – The Story of Doris Day Review

Doris Day

Waiting in a queue for a show is part of the Fringe experience, but being told that the running time is to be 2 hours after a 45 minute wait does not fill your heart with joy, especially with a hungry child as companion. However, it was a pleasant evening and CSoco staff came out regularly to make appeasing noises and one of the Company handed out programmes so before we knew it we were in the plush red seats of the part of CSoco that has the trappings of a traditional theatre, stage and all.

The Two Wrongies - World Of Wrong

Two Wrongies

Take two very talented ladies, select your subject ingredients very carefully, add comedy, physical theatre, dance , mime, vaudeville, video tape and you are part of the way to explaining this unique and thought provoking show. This production shouts at you experimental Fringe theatre of the finest quality, it is the very essence of what the Edinburgh Fringe is really all about.

Fringe 2011: Just the Tonic and Underbelly Mix It Up

Worbey & Farrell play Für Elise while making cocktail

Fringe minus 1. It's late, and a few hours from now more venues start rolling out their preview shows: Thursday sees previews from C Venues, the Bedlam, Zoo, and the Gilded Balloon to name a few. So I should be in bed.

The Little Prince Review

Little Prince

Making one’s way to Studio 2a at C Soco was like being in a scene from Flann O’ Brien’s book, The Third Policeman, where said officer had a private station in the walls of a building to save on the rates. You have to climb forgotten stairs, pass by walls saddened with the want of repair, creep along created corridors till you reach the almost secret performance space high in the building.

Book Review: Organs of Edinburgh

Organs of Edinburgh

As the Festival Season begins it is sometimes easy to forget just how dependent Edinburgh is on its many fine churches and concert halls. They are home to a rich variety of pipe organs, each made by a different organ builder and most, with a few exceptions, no more than one hundred and fifty years old. Some were built and have stayed put, others have moved to their current building.

Tour De Edinburgh Fringe Venues Around Midnight

Arches going up on the high Street

It has begun. The Edinburgh Fringe is upon us. Officially the Fringe doesn't kick off until the 5th August, but there is already a multitude of preview shows on at Gilded Balloon Teviot, The Pleasance, C Venues, Assembly George Square, to name a few of the venues.

Art Review: David Mach - Precious Light

David Mach - The Agony and The Ecstasy, Precious Light

The City Art Centre unveiled its latest exhibition at the end of July, the David Mach RA RSA presentation Precious Light: a celebration of the King James Bible 1611-2011, an exhibition in sculpture and collage. There is also an exhibition of historic Bibles, in particular the King James Bible which is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year, and a demonstration of how the English-language bible has so influenced how and what we say in every day speech.

RoS Q1 2011/12: Edinburgh House Prices Drop 2.7%

New Town from Edinburgh Castle battlements

Registers of Scotland published statistics today showing that the average price of a residential property in Edinburgh dropped 2.7% during the first quarter (April to June) of the financial year 2011/12 compared with the same period the previous year.

Edinburgh Trams Continue their Unabated Waste of Money

It scarcely seems possible that at a time when the Edinburgh tram project is under such scrutiny for its profligate spending, that news emerges that the

Classical Music in the Fringe 2011

The 2011 Fringe Programme lists over one hundred classical music events - some with multiple performances; in all about 200 tempting possibilities.

Film of the Week: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: First Avenger

 ‘Arrogance isn’t a uniquely American trait….’, sneers Hydra, a renta-pantomime Nazi super-villain during a fiery standoff, ‘but I have to admit you do it rather

Elizabeth Blackadder Restrospective at National Gallery of Scotland

Dame Elizabeth Blackadder is now 80 and this is her first major retrospective. It takes up all the rooms in the Scottish National Gallery starting from her student days to the present.

Lord Provost Sends Condolences to Norway

Lord Provost at Edinburgh Jazz Festival

Edinburgh's Lord Provost has sent letters of condolence to Norway in the wake of the tragic killing of 76 people by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik last week.

National Museum of Scotland Unveils Dramatic Transformation

NMS Hall

The National Museum of Scotland has its public opening ceremony tomorrow (29 July), following a £47.4 million transformation which has created one of the world’s great museums, presenting the sciences, humanities and culture, all under one roof.

EJBF: Hidden Orchestra, Red Snapper, Queen's Hall, Review

Hidden Orchestra

I had no idea what to expect of this evening concert, but it was recommended by a friend and that was enough to swing me in the direction of the Queen's Hall for my first Edinburgh Jazz Festival gig.

Edinburgh Tops Credit Card Expenditure - Forget Edinburgh Trams!

It was reported today that Edinburgh City Council has topped the UK league table for credit card expenditure for public bodies with a sum of £355,000 as an average spend  for each of its 171 cards!   This puts it way top of the league of card expenditure with the next highest being Kent County Council with a meagre £108,400 per card.

George Square's Triple-tented Nostalgia Trip

Spiegel Tent in George Square

With the sun still with us it seemed like an opportune time to investigate the recently erected tented village at George Square.