I was listening to Radio 3 earlier in the week and a fellow listener had rung or emailed in to sing the praises of an Edinburgh Fringe production, The Tempest in the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh is currently staggering under the weight of 23,000 performers plus thousands of visitors to the Edinburgh Festival, Book Festival and all the various Fringe events. The Royal Mile is just buzzing with wandering minstrels, musicians, actors doing odd things, meandering tourists and others charging in and out of the Fringe Ticket Office to get their tickets for their next performance of the day. It is all completely mad.
I was very taken with the idea of going to The Tempest in the Firth of Forth. It takes place on the beach next to the estate at Hopetoun House, just beyond the two bridges across the Forth. About 45 of us travelled by coach to Hopetoun, lute music played throughout the journey and on arrival we were greeted by the players from St Andrews University Mermaids Theatre Society. They led us down to the shore where story was played out.
Tiny waves gently broke in the background and there was the winnowing sound of curlews calling from the water's edge. Oyster catchers cried out and gulls flew overhead.
'Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.'
We moved back and forth along the beach with the players and during that time the tide silently crept up behind us, in perfect harmony with the text.
Begins to swell, and the approaching tide
Will shortly fill the reasonable shore'
The cast was excellent, the setting was perfect and accompanying music from a harp, violin and lute completed a really wonderful production.