Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A cricketers' guide to the Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival is now in full swing.  But Fantasy Bob warns that this year's programme has pretty thin pickings for cricketers.  There is not one major cricket based work in the whole thing.  This is more than regrettable but sadly continues a trend of recent years.  The theming of this year's programme to work from the Far East compounds this lacuna, for whatever merits Korea has, it is not a major cricket playing nation.  China neither - although the ICC is reported to be hard at work fostering the game there. 
FB took himself to the Kings Theatre to view Korea's celebrated Mokwha Reportory Company presenting an interpretation of The Tempest, a work FB has often thought would sit well in a cricket setting - apart from the shipwreck bit, and the Ariel circling the earth bit, and the Caliban bit, and the full fathom five bit, and the Miranda bit and the Trinculo and Stephano bit, and the now my charms are all o'erthrown bit, it is basically all about cricket.  A pity then that the Koreans didn't quite bring this aspect of the drama out.

FB attended yesterday evening a concert by the Sixteen - he must report that they cheated because there were twenty of them as they sneaked a few extra fielders on to the pitch.  They sang an all Handel concert.  That's George Frederick Handel, not Long or Short Handel.  His popular oratorio Dixit Umpire was the main work on the programme.

Perhaps other performances in the programme have a bit more to offer the cricketer?

Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring - a seminal work of 20th century music which depicts the ritual of the first outdoor nets of the season.  It caused a riot on its first performance, causing lots of politicians to cut short their holidays to appear on Newsnight.

Cricketers entering the field
 from the Peony Pavilion
The Peony Pavilion - FB is unsure why the Peony CC's pavilion deserves a special performance by the National Ballet of China.  It may be that it compares favourably with the new luxurious facilities at Edgbaston that have been the talk of the town during the recent Test Match.  Or it may be a more nostalgic setting with rotting wooden floorboards and rusty showers.  FB applauds this piece of programming because it not often that pavilions get their due attention.

A Vietnamese ensemble bring a dance piece Drought and Rain - FB's hopes that this would show doughty Vietnamese groundsmen facing up to the difficulty of preparing good cricket wickets in unpredicatble weather his hopes were disappointed as the programme suggests rather lamely that this meditates on the human cost of war and imperialism.

So thin pickings for the cricketer but there is lots of other good stuff which will keep FB entertained.  Just as well that there's a Mahler symphony next weekend.  That will be Test Match Quality.



  1. As an interesting, if irrelevant, side issue the possible confusion of Handel (originally Händel) only occurs because of a vowel shift in the English version of his name. The original pronunciation would only be mistaken for the non business end of a cricket bat by the denizens of Morningside or Kelvinside. Perhaps he changed his name to avoid association with snooty suburbs.

  2. Iain - indeed - being mistaken for a cricket bat in either Morningside or Kelvinside would not have done anything for his Water Music.