Edinburgh 2013: Whatever Gets You Through the Night - Vignettes striving to illustrate Scotland's character
Tuesday 27 August 2013
An ambitious multimedia project pulled together by director Cora Bissett and lent direction by the dramaturgy of playwright David Greig, Whatever Gets You Through the Night is an anthology of theatrical and musical vignettes which strives to illustrate the character of Scotland after dark, of the convergence of hope, despond and a sense of being out of oneself that being up and awake while the world sleeps brings.
As essentially an episodic series of sketches created without reference to one another, the ninety-minute piece builds a symphonic ebb and flow of emotional resonances, assisted by the musical curation of Edinburgh electronic trio Swimmer One, the other key partners here. Already presented at the Arches in Glasgow and as a filmed version at the Fringe last year, this series of live shows is obviously a huge logistical undertaking, but the tight and seamless result is something unique and emotionally resonant.
It's at its best when styles come together and cross-pollinate, for example the sparse and haunting solo piano melody of Seafieldroad's "The Palace of Light" soundtracking a spellbinding display of silk acrobatics by Jen Paterson, the singer of Edinburgh's Meursault Neil Pennycook ripping the heart open with "A Kind of Cure" while a young woman (the marvellous Frances Thorburn) waits by her PC for an internet date who will never log on, and Bigg Taj and Wounded Knee's beatboxed "Club Scene" accurately reflecting an underground sound of Glasgow that's perhaps underrepresented here. The dark night of the soul is most prevalent though, from new compositions by Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross and the Vaselines' Eugene Kelly (the latter celebrating Glasgow post-pub speciality chips 'n' cheese) performed by the company to Isabel Wright's devastatingly understated portrait of a woman giving birth on her own at 2am.
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