I am in Edinburgh. Definitely, properly in Edinburgh, despite the weather which is actually shit-I-wish I’d-packed-my sun-glasses summery, at least for now.
Since stepping off the slow-going National Express train yesterday afternoon, I have been charmed in a bar by a man with green skin and been given the obligatory complimentary lollipop by over-eager promoters outside the big purple cow. I have acquired many, many flyers and I have also been given several free mojitos. I like this part of the festival a lot.
My first production of the fest was CPT’s Icarus 2.0 at the Pleasance Courtyard. In Matt Ball’s devised piece, a father and his son, Icarus, live in isolation in a cramped flat. The son has been told that he is a clone, a creation of his scientist father, a thing grown in a jar, a product of love and genetic tinkering, and he is required to wear thick gloves and a gas mask whenever he ventures into the outside world to forage for their meagre meals.
The father is training his son up, physically and mentally, for the not too far away time when the boy will sprout wings and take to the sky. He will fly just like his name-sake, he will soar and the Queen will want to shake his hand.
It’s a small, strange and moving show, a bit Little Bulb in style and presentation and a tad unsettling at times. It contains some wonderful moments (the badminton game being one) but as poignant as it is, shot through with grief and misplaced paternal affection, it feels fuzzy and partially formed, like a pickled foetus in a bottle.
And now, as I type, outside my window drums are drumming, bagpipes are piping, firworks are exploding and some Scottish people are having a ‘heated debate’ about, possibly, shoes. Or maybe stews. Miles to go before I sleep…