11-22 Aug (not 16), 2115 (2215) @ Leith Links (West)
As the sky darkens over Leith Links, an audience is soaked to the skin. But for once this is not down to the legendary Scottish “summer”. Here, pirates are running amok with their hand-held cannon, drenching a sea of blue poncho-ed people who ebb and swirl in their wake.
Cargo is the story of people adrift on the high seas, needing to find a place to call home. It was developed in conjunction with Edinburgh Mela and in some aspects has a distinctly community theatre feel – but if that sounds negative, think again. Rather it is theatre well-suited to its setting in Edinburgh’s historic port, utilising a cast who are obviously of mixed abilities and backgrounds but absolutely playing to their strengths, and with props which are visibly created from scraps of random bits and bobs and found objects, but done on a large scale and with a great amount of skill.
The story is wordless, a physical piece where, it must be said, what is happening is not always clear. And yet the spectacle is such, the staging so impressive, the cast so energetic, the music so evocative, that any ambiguity in the story is happily overlooked. This is a magical experience of pirates, fishermen, glittering shoals of fish which swim through the crowd, battles on the high seas, even a giant lobster!
In terms of staging, this is absolutely professional, with an impressive score augmented by live musicians, dramatic light effects and the sheer scale of the visuals. It has the feel of the large-scale street performances more often associated with European companies, but the slightly homespun touches are a reminder that this was created in Scotland, for Leith.
There are bound to be plenty of people attending this spectacular show, one can only hope that plenty of Scottish folk make it along to Leith Links to see what has been created in their midst.