Dispatches on the Red Dress

Rowan Rheingans at The Scottish Storytelling Centre

I almost missed this one. It can be too easy to lose sight of things in the tumult of the Fringe, even when you’d marked them down as things to see before it had even started.
I’m awfully glad I did get to see this, though, and I unreservedly recommend it to you as a must-see, whatever you’ve got marked down to go to, add this one in.
I was in no doubt of Rowan Rheingans’ musical credentials, having been fortunate enough to have seen the band Lady Maisery when they played Edinburgh a few years back. Here she takes that talent as a singer and multi-instrumentalist and adds an ability as a storyteller that leaves the audience entranced – this seemed like the quickest 75 minutes of the festival.
This is a very personal story, centred on the lives of her grandparents as children growing up in a village in 1940s Germany, where they still live and she still visits. Personal memories combine with the political, small acts of defiance and the sorrow of The Field of Misery intertwine. And of course, her grandmother’s red dress, and how it came to be made…a dress for a girl’s first dance, made from – ah, that would be telling.
I’m not about to give away the story here, go and see for yourselves, for this is a story that needs telling, and needs to be heard.
Jim Welsh

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