September 21st 2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 5th September 2015

Curious Incident

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was originally a novel, written by Mark Haddon. The book involves Christopher John Francis Boone, the 15 year old protagonist, who is a maths genius but suffers from some behavioural issues (these issues may involve Aspergers syndrome however this is never stated in the book).

One evening, he finds his neighbours dog in the garden, murdered with a garden fork. This takes him on an adventure to reveal what actually happened to the dog.

The book translates on to the stage well. Audio and visual effects are used to highlight the distress Christopher feels when he has to interact with strangers, or is alone in an unfamiliar, crowded place- this was very effective. Chris Ashby did a fantastic job in portraying Christopher opposite his teacher Siobhan, played by Geraldine Alexander. The story has some unexpected plot twists (no spoilers here).

It’s an enjoyable piece of theatre that makes you think- the whole stage set-up seeks to show what the world is like from Christopher’s point of view. If you go to see it, stick around for the “encore” and revise your maths skills.

September 21st 2015

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 29th August 2015


Another trip to the Fringe of 2015. This time, I was on my own. The shows I went to….

Austentatious- An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Underbelly, George Square (Venue 300), 1.15pm
I’d heard rave reviews about the Austentatious team so I thought I’d give the show a go. Before entering the venue, you have to write down the title of a show you’d like performed. It can be anything- it doesn’t have to be related to a Jane Austen novel. Being an Adventure Time fan, I wrote down “Mr Wickham vs Duchess Gummy Buns”.

The title chosen for today (out of a hat) was “Pride and Prejudice and Facebook”. It’s basically Jane Austen themed improv and it was highly entertaining (just think about Twitter and Facebook discussed in the context of a Jane Austen novel). Great idea for a show and nicely executed. Hope to see this next year too.

Macbeth, New Town Theatre (Venue 7), 3.00pm
Macbeth but not as we know it. I’d studied Macbeth at school and disliked having to read it- it’s much better seeing it performed on stage. This was a slightly different version. A musical version with an industrial rock soundtrack, set in a dystopian future. The song lyrics were composed from the original text which was a nice touch. Great voices on some of the actors and the witches were particularly creepy.

Rent, Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152), 6.00pm
I love Rent and I didn’t think I’d get to see it at the Fringe. Then I noticed the NYC-based Uncompromising Artistry Productions version was being performed at St Augustines in the centre of town. Anthony Rapp (the original Mark) was serving as a Creative Consultant which was an added bonus.

The queue for the show started early and I ended up front row which was a little terrifying! The show was amazing though! Cast highlights include Johnny Newcomb as Roger Davis, Jonathan Christopher as Tom Collins, Janet Krupin as Maureen Johnson and Injoy Fountain in the ensemble. As a whole, a fantastically talented cast. I was fighting back tears at the end of this one. Superb.  Thank you Jonathan Larson.

September 21st 2015

Denmark and Sweden, 19th-23rd August 2015


It had been a long year and I needed a proper holiday. After looking online, I realised I could get a direct flight to Copenhagen from Aberdeen. I had an early morning flight with SAS, on a Bombardier CRJ900 plane- the flight was fantastic and I’d happily fly with SAS again. We landed around lunch time and I decided to take the train into the centre of Copenhagen. That was successful (didn’t get lost) and after a danish pastry, we wandered to our hotel.

That evening, we got our bearings and had a good wander around the centre, before having tea at Hard Rock cafe (the mac and cheese…amazing!).

On the Thursday, we had tickets for the City Sightseeing bus. This allowed us to visit spots such as the Little Mermaid, Kastellet, Nyhavn (where we stopped for lunch- Smørrebrød is brilliant). Friday was more of the same with another bus tour, a visit to the Nationalmuseet, the Lego store, and an evening spent in Tivoli Gardens, which is beautiful.

Saturday was a little different. We booked a day trip to Malmö in Sweden. A bus collected us, took us over the Øresund Link Bridge and dropped us off for a Rundan Sightseeing canal tour. It was very relaxing on the boat and the city was beautiful. We spent a few hours wandering around before it was time to go back to Denmark. We did more shopping in the evening, then stayed in Tivoli until late at night, leaving shortly before the concert and fireworks display began.

I was sad to leave on the Sunday. I thought Copenhagen was a friendly, safe, clean city. Good food (loved the seafood). I’d go back tomorrow.

September 21st 2015

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 17th August 2015

Royal Mile

Heading to the Edinburgh Fringe, and going to Hard Rock for lunch has become something of an annual tradition with my friends. This year was no different. Aside from taking in the madness of the Royal Mile and the various street performers, what else did we see?

Edinburgh International Book Festival
We stumbled upon this by accident when we left Hard Rock. I wish I’d known about it sooner because there were some fantastic events I’d loved to have gone to. We wandered around the square, and even spotted the legendary Nicholas Parsons on his way to an event. The rest of the time was spent in the book shop. I had to limit myself- I could have spent a lot of money in there. What did I buy? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while.

The Noise Next Door: The Really, Really Good Afternoon Show, Gilded Balloon (Venue 14), 2.45pm
Last year, we went to the Gilded Balloon for the first time (after figuring out how easy it was to book tickets- I’d witnessed the ticket fiasco of 2008 and was put off). This year we returned to see the improv group, The Noise Next Door. The entire show was built upon suggestions from the audience and was hilarious! Highlights included the reggae cheese song which was so very Gouda. I’d love to see these guys next year.

That Pair: Letting It Go, Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), 4.35pm
After wandering around some more, struggling what show to see next (so many choices!), we stopped by the Half-price Hut and bought tickets for That Pair. The person handing out the flyers described them as being a bit like French and Saunders (and I’ve been watching them on TV since I was young). The show itself was based on a Princess Party, and involved glitter, guitar and, and songs about feminism. It was generally very good, plenty of laughs however, I didn’t get all of the jokes. Specifically the one about Uber but then again, we don’t have that up here.

September 21st 2015

Inverness and Orkney, 7th-9th August 2015

Ring of Brodgar

I decided at see more of Scotland this year so my cousin and I took a trip to Inverness and Orkney. We booked a tour of Orkney for Saturday 8th August and stayed in Inverness the night before.

We left Inverness bus station at 7.15am on the Saturday morning, embarking on a 3 hour trip to John O’ Groats. The scenery was stunning and we passed places such as the Black Isle, Dingwall and Sutherland along the way. At around 10am, we arrived at John O’ Groats, giving us enough time to grab a snack and queue up for the ferry.

On boarding the ferry, we sat on the open top-deck, so we had a good view for the 40 min journey. It was absolutely freezing though. We could see land at all times and before we knew it, we’d arrived at Burwick, South Ronaldsay and the busses were there to take us around various islands.

We saw so much on the trip: block ships and the Churchill Barriers, The Italian Chapel (built by Italian Prisoners of war), Skara Brae (which was amazing- I did a project about it at school so it was fantastic to see it in real-life), the dig at Ness, Ring of Brodgar, Kirkwall, St Magnus Cathedral, Skaill House. The tour was excellent and the scenery was stunning but we didn’t get to spend enough time on the island- the ferry back to the mainland of Scotland was at 5pm. I think we’re going to visit again in the future and spend more time at each site.

On the Sunday, we had some time to kill in Inverness before catching the train home. Unfortunately places like the second-hand book shop and the museum were shut. We opted for the City Sightseeing tour bus but that was pretty boring. The rest of the day was spent sitting around in the shopping centre, waiting to go home.

It was an excellent trip and Orkney is steeped in history. I can’t wait to visit again!