Sunday’s New York Times travel section has a 36-hour guide to what to do and see in Edinburgh. Unfortunately it’s terrible, listing rotten pubs and feeble restaurants. Though it’s a) questionable how much attention people pay to this sort of mini-guide anyway and b) I can’t hope to defeat the NYT, let me say that I’ll provide a much better personalised weekend guide to Auld Reekie to any reader who happens to be visiting the city this summer/fall/winter. Can’t say fairer than that, can you?
PS: The NYT opens its guide to the city thus:
EVERY August, the global theatrical community — well, at least the part that is drawn to an all-male, musical version of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” — heads to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh for a monthlong celebration of the dramatic arts, from world premieres by celebrated authors to one-man shows by unknown novices.
This amuses me since way back in 1998, I actually reviewed a gay, musical version of The Three Sisters for The Scotsman. It was sensational. Yes, I’d approached it with a degree of trepidation, fearing that the play (which had, I think, an 11pm slot at the French Institute on Randolph Crescent) might epitomise the worst type of Fringe festival, er, exhuberance. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A quick google reveals that Nick Salamone’s Moscow was… "Witty, tender, sophisticated. A wonderful, delicate fusion of music theatre, song and emotion… By turns warm, wise, funny and moving, but always compelling entertainment."
No wonder it won a coveted Fringe First award. No great surprise, either, to learn that it was a monster hit when it returned for a longer run at a bigger venue in 2001. But that’s the beauty of the Edinburgh Festival: you can still find magic in the most surprising places.