Dust 

Suicide isn’t normally a great topic of conversation, let’s be honest, and typically we don’t get the full story.  Written and performed by Milly Thomas, Dust takes us on a fast paced, whirlwind journey as Alice finds herself stuck after she has killed herself… stuck to watch who she has left behind.

Up in the Big Belly of Cowgate, we are introduced to Alice in the minutes after she has left her corpse, as the doctors prod and poke away, and Alice watches in disgust. This is a ghost story but not as we once knew it… Full of crude sex stories, blunt sarcasm and quick retorts, Alice’s lifestyle will be familiar to a lot of audience members (but potentially not their parents!) as she tells of nights sliced with drugs and alcohol, and the people close to her. 

The highs are counteracted by the lows and as Alice’s depression is hinted at and explored to some extent, relationships break down and emotions run free between family and friends.  Switching from character to character, from Mum to best friend Ellie and others in between, Alice’s cold reaction in the face of grief and funeral planning is captivating to watch. Milly Thomas completely commands the space, and the harsh lighting and bass filled sound design work perfectly in sync to take us on a fly on the wall style trip through the aftermath of Alice’s death.

Fuelled by strong writing and fierce delivery, Dust is a must see. As the turbulence of the script takes its audience in to it’s rhythm, Milly Thomas is an absolute force to be reckoned with and the exploration of the life left behind you is honest and hard hitting. I urge you all to blag a ticket by any means possible. 

Dust | Underbelly Cowgate

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The tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck

There’s something lovely and relaxing about taking an hour out of the hustle and bustle of the festival to sit in a beautiful circus tent in the cenre of the Meadows whilst an orchestra masterfully plays its way through a children’s classic. The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck has been brought to the Underbelly Circus Hub by Children’s Classic Concerts this summer and the tent was full of families excitedly scribbling on activity sheets and looking forward to the show.

The Beatrix Potter books are often a staple in a family home, and as Michelle Todd arrives to the stage in Potter style dress, the stories begin and Todd sings and narrates her way through with the accompaniment of an on stage mini orchestra.  As Jemima Puddle-duck tries to find a spot to lay her eggs away from the farmer, and Peter Rabbit loses yet another blue jacket and shoes, the stories came audibly to life as all members of the family fell in to the Beatrix Potter world.

The music itself is beautiful but there were several restless moments and something visual to entertain the younger members of the audience could be of benefit here.  However, the score soars as danger approaches from the fox or Mr McGregor, and the stories are wonderfully told via classical music. There is no doubt that Todd’s voice is a brilliant addition to the instrumental backing. 

Whilst this performance lacked visual aids and interaction with the audience, CCC have created a brilliant introduction to classical music for children and the orchestra beautiful bob along between duck footprints and the sound of the nasty Mr McGregor approaching.

The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck | Underbelly Circus Hub