Hidden Door Festival: SURGE - The Mash Collective @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh 26th-28th May 2017
The Hidden Door Festival is an annual non-profit multi-arts festival in Edinburgh, now in its fourth year. This year it is taking place from 26th May to 4th June in the long-derelict old Leith Theatre, a venue currently undergoing restoration. For more details visit the website: http://hiddendoorblog.org.
If you hung around the Leith Theatre venue at any time during the evening’s entertainments on Friday 26th or Saturday 27th between about 18:30 and 20:30 pm (or this afternoon’s entertainments on Sunday 28th) you would have almost certainly caught a collective of dapper, grey-suited mimes engaged in various bizarre antics both outdoors and inside the theatre, complete with an eclectic musical accompaniment. Perhaps you saw them outside, playing tag amid the theatre facade’s pillars, and wondered whether one of the outdoor bar staff had stealthily slipped something into your beer? You might have caught them ballroom dancing right in the centre of the auditorium, or popping up to hand-signal each other across the upper circle. Maybe you were randomly high-fived by one of them as they darted back and forth in the main auditorium?
This bunch are known as SURGE, a physical theatre group whose website is here: http://www.surge.scot. Their show over these three days has been one of the highlights: a seemingly-random (but, no doubt, intricately-choreographed) piece of public space spectacle with a warm, playful air. However, while their performance was unremittingly joyous, their silent, come-and-go presence was redolent of ghostly visions that hearken, misty-eyed, back to an era of entertainments past - one lost around the original closure of the theatre nearly 30 years ago in 1988. As such, they provided a satisfying coherence and grounded context to the festival, tying together the diverse art forms on offer throughout the schedule as one huge contiguous piece.