Jonathan Trew: Growing in skyscrapers may be answer

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TRANSLATING a novel into dance can’t be an easy feat. In fact, it brings to mind the Steve Martin quote (although it was probably Martin Mull who first said it) that “Writing about music is like dancing to architecture”.

So hats off to Northern Ballet, which has had a crack at portraying F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby through the medium of dance. The company has form in this area, having previously produced dance versions of Hamlet, The Three Musketeers and Dracula. Today’s matinee and evening performances are the last of the run at Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

Moving from the Roaring Twenties to the future, this is the opening weekend of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, an event which celebrates its quarter of a century this year. Since this writer always likes to know where his next few meals are coming from, one of today’s talks at the National Museum of Scotland auditorium seemed particularly appetising.

Titled Pie in the Sky, the event asks how the world is going to feed itself when it is predicted that 80 per cent of the global population will live in urban conurbations by 2050. Vertical farming or growing produce in skyscrapers may be the answer. Originator of the idea, Professor Dickson Despommier of the Columbia University New York, will be discussing what the future of food production may hold with Dr Chungui Lu, head of the vertical farming team at Nottingham University.

Tomorrow evening, in the same venue, comedian Robin Ince will be inviting distinguished guests to show and tell about their favourite objects from the world of science. Ince is a good comic, but he is also an enthusiastic evangelist for science.

At Glasgow’s King’s Theatre tomorrow night, Al Murray brings to life his wilfully thick comic creation, The Pub Landlord. Part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival, the show is called The Only Way is Epic Tour and promises to tread a fine line between satirising and celebrating the more absurd corners of British popular culture.