I was confronted

with severed limbs, corpses rotting in cages, whipped and mutilated witches, and every kind of torture implement.

p .H “ham-IN“

e a?

important writer on jurisprudence. and was responsible for founding what became the National Library of Scotland. None of this. however. is sexy. whereas the recent. much— hyped tales of a Mackenzie poltergeist at (lreyfriars are. If you instruct enough people to look out for a ghost the little girl of Mary King Close is another example it‘s a guaranteed bet that some of them will see one. or feel some kind of presence.

01' course. the Mackenzie poltergeist too is a continuation of a long tradition. but it would be a shame if this kind of history became all our history. I don't think it will -- and to be fair some of the tours doing the rounds of Edinburgh make a serious stab. if you’ll excuse the phrase. at informing as well as entertaining but we should not lose sight of the reality from which all these myths and legends come. In this respect. my sympathies went out to the woman who. three years ago. was fined £80 for assaulting a ghost on Victoria Terrace. Her motive? The nightly screams of the tourists kept waking her six- month-old baby. Her crime? Living a real life on the route of a fantasy one.

James Robertson’s The Fanatic is published by Fourth Estate £10


Playing away

From prowling the streets in a cape to shaking their stuff before royalty, performers end up in the strangest of places.

Words: Allan Radcliffe and Mark Fisher

’AT KINFAUNS I played a World War One RAF Captain battling the Red Baron and in love with the lady of the house,’ says Glasgow actor Stephen Bullock. His company, Tent Peg Murderers, which specialises in Cluedo-style murder mysteries, made its debut in Perthshire's Kinfauns Castle, an appropriately Gothic backdrop for a performance for a tenth anniversary reunion of RAF trainees.

It was a hit and the company is now preparing scripts for appearances in Edinburgh and Glasgow featuring all the essential macabre ingredients: the corpse in the library, the bloodthirsty vicar and the final denouement in the dining room. ’lt's all cheap laughs and crude jokes,’ admits Bullock. ’We interact with everybody and take the mickey out of them. The punters love it because they're right in the middle of everything.’

’I DON'T KNOW what I’m saying,’ says Glasgow’s Vanya Eadie as she prepares to perform before an international conference of business delegates in Belfast. 'There are lots of lines with words like "competitive", "collaborative" and "global market places”. It goes over my head, but hopefully not over theirs.’

Eadie is performing with Acting Up, a company established by Edinburgh actor Emma Currie to bring the arts into industry. The Challenge Of Change is not a play you'll be seeing in your local arts centre, but it went on to delight the Belfast suits. It follows a series of light- hearted mini-dramas with a business message including the memorably named Laptop Of The Gods created for an e-commerce conference. 'You usually find that the guys in the suits are very cynical when you first arrive,’ says fellow actor Paul Nivison. 'The biggest kick for me is when they say they'd been worried about it, but they thought it was really good. It’s great for them to see that we’re professional people as well.’

THE WORK OF Edinburgh’s Dance Base embraces every style from traditional Scottish to break- dancing, Cuban Salsa and Punjabi; a choreographic feast fit for a king.

Or, for that matter, a prince. Which is just as well because the company has been signed up by HRH himself to perform at the annual Ceremony of the Keys in which Edinburgh’s Lord Provost presents Prince Charles with the keys to the city on Friday 19 May.

’I pulled together various different forms and rolled them into a gorgeous ball of dance,’ laughs artistic director Morag Deyes about a piece that will play to an invited audience in the Piazza at Holyroodhouse. ’It reflects Scotland’s modern multi-culturalism, the changing nature of the arts in Scotland and, specifically, Dance Base’s own shifting character.’

11—25 May 2000 rucusr 27