Playwright/ director John Binnie has been a leading light in Scottish theatre for nearly 40 years. From his re-established Clyde Unity Theatre company, to writing the very first AIDS-related play (the poignant and beautiful KILLING ME SOFTLY, awarded at the 1985 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (where we first met and became friends), he has always been a writer to caringly uncover the poignant humanity pulsing within the authenticity of ordinary life.
Now his wide-ranging talents have lead to a film, written and directed by Binnie himself, entitled DAYS WITHOUT. Set during the first days of lockdown in 2020, Myrna, an elderly mum in a nursing home, and her middle-aged gay son Russ struggle with self-isolation in their own special ways.
Russ feels history repeating, recalling the AIDS pandemic of thirty years earlier and sees strong parallels between the suffering of his first love, Cal, and the impact of the current Covid pandemic on his mum’s well-being.
The film is written and directed by John Binnie, with Graham Crammond, Ann Scott Jones and Scott Miller. Director of photography was Kevin Walls, music by Tommie Travers, production design by Robin Mitchell, stage management by Linda Service, movement consultant Jane Simpson and dramaturgy by Mari Binnie.
The film was supported by Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.
You can watch the film by clicking the link below.
For the first time in 73 years, Edinburgh – the Festival City- is quiet this August. This would have been the opening weekend of the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival season. But of course, it’s not a normal year. With the necessity for safety impacting the necessity for artistic expression, the creative forces behind the Festival have specially commissioned MY LIGHT SHINES ON, a film full of brand new work from artists across genres, featuring famous faces from festivals across the years and exclusive collaborations with other Edinburgh August festivals. The film is available, free to watch, on the Festival’s YouTube channel throughout August. You can also find the film at the foot of this blog entry (while it remains available to view).
This unique broadcast launches a series of new recorded activity, also available on the Festival’s YouTube channel from tonight, and then throughout August.
As a part of the MY LIGHT SHINES ON Online Festival, Scotland’s major national artistic companies have been commissioned to create extraordinary works that audiences can enjoy from their own homes. In celebration of our Festival City, they bring light and life to sites that must stay empty this year with unique filmed performances and insights from artists. New shows will be added daily so do check back at the festival’s YouTube channel regularly.
Enjoy these lovingly created lights that still shine despite our current circumstances, helping us to find our way back to performances everyone can enjoy – and which remind us of why the arts are such a beloved and vital part of our culture.
Welcome to this extra section of show highlights. Here are a few shows which are worth seeing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Although I haven’t had much chance to see participating shows in the Fringe Festival, here are four I can definitely recommend as being worth a look.
Luke Rollason’s Infinite Content – at the Monkey Barrel, 12.00 noon Aug 2-25 (not 14)
Big laughs, where no two shows are ever the same.
Switch on your phones and switch off your brains, as one idiot enters the cloud and puts his mind on a spin cycle for your entertainment. Welcome to a slapstick Black Mirror that is guaranteed to make us all mutual friends. Viral nonsense from the ‘amazingly entertaining’ ***** (EdFestMag.com) celebrity internet nonentity Luke Rollason. Unlimited calls and texts and time and space and hope and everybody wins an iPad. ‘Made me cry with laughter’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Hugely entertaining’ (Chortle.co.uk). Tickets and information here
SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS – Underbelly, Cowgate at 1.30pm Aug 1-25 (not 12)
Uncovering the almost-lost achievements of an extraordinary woman.
In 1811, the daughter of a Lyme Regis carpenter discovered the world’s first Ichthyosaur. She was twelve. Before she was thirty, Mary Anning made discoveries that transformed our understanding of the universe. Then she was written out of history. Nearly. Scandal and Gallows bring their blend of movement and storytelling to this extraordinary story of genius, gender and dinosaurs. Previous work: ‘Riveting’ **** (Sunday Times). ‘A masterclass in theatrical storytelling’ **** (WhatsOnStage.com). Tickets and information here
TEACH – The Space at the Surgeon’s Hall, 4.05pm Aug 2-24 (not 11)
A vital lesson that we all need to learn from.
Matthew Roberts is a gifted, passionate and dedicated teacher of 16 years. But the system he has to work within consistently fails both teachers and students. Caught in the middle, teachers become our country’s social firefighters, with all the attendant stress, their dedication stretched to breaking point. Should he stay or leave teaching? Over the course of this show, the audience gets to decide. Tickets and information here
FULFILMENT – Underbelly, Cowgate at 3.40pm Aug 1-25 (not 12)
Who’s paying the true cost of your convenience?
Robox is your personal fulfilment device. The one-click wonder, the ultimate convenience. You dream it, he delivers it. Instant fulfilment. But fulfilment isn’t for everyone. Award-winning theatre company SharkLegs uncover the price people really pay for next-day delivery. Disarmingly funny and playful, the show is created live every day from your desires. Join us and let Robox discover what you need, what you want and what you dream of. Then let Robox provide the solution. A solution… Definitely a bit of a solution… Or a solution that other people who bought this solution also bought. . Tickets and information here