The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro (4 stars)

Another perspective on migration from the past

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

credit: Alan McCredie

In the early 19th century, the Ettrick Valley in the Borders of Scotland was described as 'having no advantages' in a statistical survey. Which explains why, then, families might uproot everything to start a new life across the Atlantic in Canada; especially when they could stand atop Edinburgh's Castle Rock and be persuaded that 'the curvature of the earth' meant Canada looks as close as Fife? That Canada was Fife, in fact? Yet the journey proved to be lengthy and arduous, and irrevocably perspective changing for the simple people used to narrow horizons who are undertaking it.

Presented by Stellar Quines in association with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, this new adaptation of Alice Munro's novel by writer Linda McLean is well suited to a Festival crowd, a resonantly Scottish piece with a distinctly international flavour. Directed by Marilyn Imrie, it's a piece whose design and dialogue is resolutely period, yet whose outlook couldn't be more timely; in these characters – played by a quintet of fine Scottish talent including Lewis Howden, Sally Reid and Nicola Jo Curry – lies the early days of globalisation and of economic migration. Filling the altar and the aisles of this old church with electric energy, the piece reveals the pressures on family of uprooting across the world, and the newly unleashed role of women in the New World.

artSpace at St Marks, until 29 Aug (not 23), times vary, £15 (£12).

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

  • 4 stars

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Stellar Quines World premiere: a theatrical adaptation of Canadian Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro’s moving and enigmatic short stories of her Scottish ancestors’ emigration. Adapted by award-winning playwright Linda McLean. Directed by Marilyn Imrie.


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