Spotlight on . . .
YOU wouldn't believe the random items and emails that arrive on the desk of an entertainment editor. In Spotlight on... I'll highlight the ones that might otherwise slip under the radar, have some cult value or simply just be worth mentioning again. This week ...
AWAKENINGS TOUR 2011
THE flu pandemic of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people - about five per cent of the human race. It was the worst pandemic in recorded history.
The 'Spanish' flu attacked mostly healthy young adults and was followed by a mysterious encephalitic sleeping sickness that affected a further five million people.
Of those, a third died. The others lived on, but often in strange somnolent states, many virtually frozen, like human statues, for decades.
In 1969 Oliver Sacks, then a young doctor in New York, encountered a few dozen of these survivors and gave them an experimental drug which enabled many of them to 'awaken' after 50 years of immobility.
Strange as it may seem, Sacks' book, Awakenings, based on those true life stories, is the inspiration for the latest work from Rambert Dance Company, which comes to the Festival Theatre next week.
So, just how do you create a dynamic dance work when sleeping sickness lies at the heart of the story? Three of the world's finest creative talents have collaborated with Rambert's 22 dancers to find out.
British choreographer Aletta Collins, American composer Tobias Picker and designer Miriam Buetherv were the triumvirate charged with the task.
Discover their solution to the challenge when the Rambert return to the Capital, where they will also perform the world premiere of Monolith (pictured) by Tim Rushton and the Scottish premiere of Cardoon Club by Henrietta Horn, a light-hearted colourful review.
Rambert Awakenings Tour 2011, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Wednesday-Friday, 7.30pm, 12-26.50, 0131-529 6000
TRUTH lies at the heart of every great performance. A sense of being, if you like, rather than pretending.
Maria Callas believed that, and from her portrayal of opera's greatest diva in Master Class at The King's this week, it's obvious that Dynasty star Stephanie Beacham shares that belief.
I sat spellbound for two hours on Tuesday night as the 63-year-old held her audience rapt, in what is basically a one-woman show with a grand piano and a few supporting cast for dressing. Of course, Terrence McNally's script is a gift to any actress with enough, to quote Callas, 'balls' to pull it off.
It's also a must-see for any aspiring performers, be they actors or singers. Combined with Beacham's inspired tour de force, the advice McNally channels through Callas is priceless.
In every sense, Master Class is indeed a masterclass.
You have until Saturday to see it. Tuesday's standing ovation for Beacham suggests you should.
Master Class, King's Theatre, Leven Street, until Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm), 14.50-23, 0131-529 6000
ONE down, two to go. With the announcement this week that Canadian alt rockers Arcade Fire are to headline the first of 2011's three Castle Concerts, the focus has turned to the final two dates.
Who can fill Edinburgh Castle? A challenge that in the past has been taken up by the likes of Debbie Harry and Blondie, Rod Stewart and Boyzone.
The buzz this year is that promoters are looking to entice a younger audience, so who might they look to? Well, The Killers have yet to make it onto the Esplanade as have The Strokes - who just happen to have a new album out next month.
Then there's JLS or even Jedward - no, that was a joke. But Dizzee Rascal might manage to shift the 8000 or so tickets it takes to fill the venue.
Or maybe the timeless David Bowie might be up for the gig. Watch this space.
One thing I've been assured is that my own favourite won't be one of them... What do you mean Toyah couldn't fill the Castle? Not that I can complain. Well, Duran Duran and Simple Minds did finally get to play a Castle Concert each last year.
Both are headliners that will be hard to beat... if you're of a certain age of course .
Arcade Fire, Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, 1 September, 32.50-37.50, on sale tomorrow, 9am, from 0871-220 0260
HOW TO THINK LIKE A BAT: AND 34 OTHER REALLY INTERESTING USES OF PHILOSOPHY
LONGEST title of the week goes to Peter Cave's new collection of essays, which among other things address such basic questions as how do you know that you exist? What does it mean to have a future? Are you the same thing as your brain? What does it mean to be free? How can you know what knowledge is? This witty and engaging book might not help you to think like a bat, but it should help you to think like a philosopher.
How to Think Like a Bat: And 34 Other Really Interesting Uses of Philosophy, by Peter Cave, published in hardback by Quercus, 9.99
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