We managed to squeeze in quite a few trips to Edinburgh to catch the festival action this year. A lot of our interest centred on the visual arts, including a visit to the newly opened though somewhat underwhelming Jupiter Artland.
The highlight was a performance by the Royal Ballet of Flanders of Return of Ulysses which was mesmerizing, powerful yet stark. Scottish enfant terrible Michael Clark’s New Work – was suitably mad yet lack coherence and felt forced and overly stylised.
As per usual most fringe acts didn’t seem worth the entry price although Kristen Schaal of Flight of the Conchords fame was quite entertaining!
We caught ‘Ashes’ the final installment of a trio of dance pieces by Belgian company Les Ballets C de la B at the Tramway. It was a rhythmic, mesmerising piece with a very architectural set. The piece made significant use of the acoustics of the set with a live quartet that moved strategically around the stage – while the dancers slammed into walls, slapped each other and pounded the floor.
We made a quick trip to Edinburgh on Friday night to see a performance of Moon Water by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Based on tai-chi it was a slow senuous piece enlived by water which seeps across the stage for the final scene allowing the dancers to splash and slide about, and creating powerful reflections of their movement. Overall, despite being quite magical at times the piece felt a little monotone, and wasn’t helped by the austerity of the musical accompaniment – Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello. Some of the movements also felt a little forced or awkward as the music moved at such a slow pace. There were brilliant moments however inluding a solo from one of the female dancers who stayed in the one spot in the centre of the stage with an intense focus of light intensifying her movements.