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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Feet First review

Published in The Guardian © Mark Fisher

Feet First
High Street, Edinburgh
3 out of 5

It's not every show that sends you home with a duster, a cuddly rat and a certificate promising extreme optimism for the year ahead. Such is my haul from the Market of Optimism, a series of stalls trading in feel-good commodities purchased with 10 Neuro notes withdrawn (at no cost) from a human cash machine. I could have splashed out on a personal guardian angel or picked up a packet from the Spice Up Your Life stall, where the flavours include grace, passion and glamour.

The theme of hope is picked up all over the Royal Mile, where 18 companies have come together under the Feet First umbrella for a one-off night of street theatre. Whisper your desires into the extended ears of the Wish Gatherers, a trio of wicker creatures illuminated by fairy lights, and out pops a packet of Love Hearts. Wander into the courtyard of the City Chambers and see a collection of dreams projected on to the walls to a soundtrack of All You Need Is Love.

On the way there are curiosities such as the delightful Forest of Bells, a multitude of tinkling strings straddling an adjacent close, and Graham Tydeman's Aquaphon, an elaborate pipe organ powered by plumes of water. Joined by Orkestra del Sol, he gives an eccentric rendition of Midnight Sun Over the Black Sea.

Plenty of sideshow fun, then, but Feet First lacks a main event. Plutôt La Vie's Flik Flak, a good-versus-evil exchange across the street, is in severe need of a script; Cora Bissett's Deep Breath, a high-level musical vignette, is spirited but slight; and the finale, Wishbox, a huge white cube dangled from a crane, is an elaborate excuse for some ordinary aerial routines. In intimacy and variety it's a lively night, but it's short on punch.

© Mark Fisher

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