Land Under Wave [Scottish Storytelling Centre, 27 Aug]

Young Edinburgh Storytellers weave music and Scottish legends in the bowels of the Netherbow Theatre transformed into the mythical Otherworld.

Mark Borthwick, Ailsa Dixon and David Hughes explore emergence, transformation and becoming in three stories performed for the audience; we’ve become fairy folk for the night, as Mark explains while we queue for the show.

Our three storytellers must win passage back to the human world, and their tales of sapphic kelpies, shapeshifting salmons and mysterious selkies are accompanied by a soundtrack that mixes dreamlike effect pedal-driven guitar, haunting cello and traditional bodhrán. The stories are mesmerising, drawing us into an underwater world of fantastic creatures; there’s a nice local touch too, when David explains their descent to Otherworld via the basement of CC Blooms.

Queerness and nature are woven throughout as themes. The damage caused to wildlife by excessive fishing, and the benefits of rewilding, are always hot topics in Scotland – and with a supernatural twist, the trio make a solid case for respecting the land and sea. It’s not all dark content, though; the innovative pine cone-based voting system was certainly something I’ve never seen at the Fringe!

Land Under Wave has just received the ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ award – the trophy was handed out after the performance I saw! – so I’m sure the fairy folk’s tales will be passed onto humans for many years to come.


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