Join 18th century Will Crewe, war veteran and very possibly Ross Poldark’s long-lost Scottish cousin, for a walking tour into the darker parts of Edinburgh’s murky past. The second half of the show features actors bringing to life dramatic events which happened during the '45 Jacobite rebellion.
If you like your productions immersive with a sprinkling of grotty history thrown in, this may well be for you. Split into two distinct halves, the first is a walk around the Grassmarket area of the city, livened up with stories of horny monks and other characters from history. Subjects covered include how to hang, draw and quarter a traitor, and how much excrement you would have needed to wade through to buy a prize pig.
Part two throws the audience into a tense stand-off based on records from a diary written 250 years ago. A Q&A section at the very end of the two hours also reveals the performers' in-depth knowledge of the Jacobite era.
As a format it isn’t flawless though, and for me the two halves didn’t quite fit seamlessly together. Although some of the material overlapped, they could have easily been two distinct shows.
The tour had some good jokes, with the guide – Will – using vivid descriptions and some lively audience participation to keep the pace going. He also did well with the added distraction of heckling bystanders, drunk revellers and a fire show taking place just next to where he was speaking.
Throughout, the performers were at pains to emphasise that they were depicting the stories of real people, which certainly makes for an interesting premise. That said, on the tour there was a certain amount of poetic license taken with the history. I also recommend a coat. It may be August, but it is Scotland and the walk isn’t vigorous enough to warm you up.
It’s an entertaining two hours that works hard to bring history to life, and the performers are clearly enthusiastic about the past. Fans of all things Jacobite will very much enjoy this – but overall it may appeal more to tourists than locals.