What gets you through that odd time between midnight and 4am (the most common time for people to die in their sleep – and known as the hour of souls)?
That’s what Cora Bissett explores in this part hilarious, part melancholic exploration of life in Glasgow, although it could be any city in the world really.
It came to the Edinburgh Fringe on the back of rave reviews and awards and I can tell you they are justified.
There was no programme handed out so I can’t be sure who was performing but they ranged from a babe in arms to a bunch of thirty/forty somethings.
This band of troubadors included actors, singers, musicians, dancers and gymnasts and feels like a modern day Chaucer’s tales. It’s all supported by a, sometimes beautiful, video backdrop that blends effortlessly into the action
I counted 22 performers at the curtain call (to a standing ovation) including the aforementioned Cora Bissett (Roadkill).
This is more of a polemic on life in Scotland and a curation of Scottish culture than a story as such.
And the result is a thing of great beauty.
“Chips and Cheese” a late night drinking song had me rolling in the aisles but the closing number that spelled the end of the night, and indeed life itself, was hauntingly beautiful.
The great and the good of Scottish music were involved in creating the show; Withered Hand, Emma Pollock, Ricky Ross, Rachel Sermani, Errors, Swimmer One, RM Hubbard to name but a few and it’s nothing if not eclectic. You might have thought that would make for a hotch potch of styles but it all knits together beautifully.
There are two moments of aerial acrobatics (in very different styles) that are simply breathtaking and in the second case deeply poignant.
Without ever reverting to kitsch or kailyard or tradition of any sort this performance brews up an homage to Scottish culture that is right on the money for the 21st century. It’s the sort of thing that, on a good day, National Theatre of Scotland embraces so well and this is right up there with the very best of what NToS does.
I eagerly await my trip to Dundee to see Bissett’s very different, and even more lauded, Roadkill in September.