With the final Edinburgh Festival performances of his new show, 887, in a custom-built theatre in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre this afternoon and tomorrow evening, Quebecois theatre-maker Robert Lepage is today awarded a Herald Archangel for his sustained contribution to the Festival and the arts in Scotland.

Over twenty years ago, Lepage brought his Seven Streams of the River Ota to Meadowbank stadium, and his return visit with a response to Hamlet, Elsinore, famously failed to go ahead at the King’s the following year because of technical problems. However, the theatre of Robert Lepage had also enjoyed a long and influential presence in Glasgow from its year as European City of Culture in 1990 onwards, and 887, an exquisitely-staged memoir of his childhood in Quebec City, has been a triumph this year, re-establishing his place in the affectations of Scottish theatre audiences.

Tomorrow in the Usher Hall, in an unusually timed early evening event, conductor Richard Egarr directs a Scottish Opera company and a fine cast of British singers in a concert performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore. It is the third in a triumvirate of appearances in the EIF programme by the musician, who is also a regular guest conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. For his “high-octane, muscular” approach to Bach (to quote Kate Molleson’s Herald review) in a solo harpsichord recital at the Queen’s Hall this week, and in particular for his presence at the heart of the superb ensemble accompanying countertenor Iestyn Davies the following morning, Egarr wins a Herald Angel.

Another returning favourite, with connections to the Glasgow arts scene and its much-missed Mayfest, is Penny Arcade, whose Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore! show announced her presence in Scotland back in the 1980s. Returning to the Underbelly on the Fringe this year, New York’s mouthiest, best-connected performer rails against the decline and fall of the city she moved to in search of sin in Longing Lasts Longer. Her hour of carefully sound-tracked reasoning on the danger of the human race taking comfort in the cup-cake is required listening, and an Angel-worthy follow-up to the Little Devil she won on the Fringe in 2001.

The musicians of Kande survived the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004 to play for the survivors of the Aceh land, maintaining the Acehnese music and combining its range of percussion with Western instruments. Now the eight-piece band has brought its music to C Venue in Chamber Street with the show Aceh Meukondore, the last word translating as “if not us” and speaking of their good fortune. It is “an uplifting celebration of life in the face of tragedy and political turmoil”, according to our music critic Rob Adams. Hearing their exciting sound at the Fringe is our good fortune, and they receive a Herald Angel by way of thanks.

The founding artistic director and chief executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, Vicky Featherstone, has returned to the company to see through a project that began in a conversation a conversation with Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall. The NTS and Newcastle’s Live Theatre have co-produced Out Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Hall’s adaptation of Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos, directed by Featherstone. Looking set to be a huge hit when it tours following its Fringe run at the Traverse, this story of a gang of young women off the leash in the big city is “a getting of wisdom that celebrates life even as it breaks your heart”, as theatre critic Neil Cooper writes in The Herald review published today.


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