Edinburgh Fringe #5 – In The Mood

Tally ho chaps! Whilst I was in Edinburgh I went to some jolly good 1940s themed events and I simply had to share them with you. So keep calm, pour yourself a lovely cup of tea and carry on reading…

Bal Moderne, a simply marvellous Belgian-based dance company, hosted the exclusive event Escaping War as part of the Edinburgh International Festival – and I was lucky enough to secure a ticket. So my sweetheart and I hotfooted it down to The Hub to escape the Blitz – I mean, the crowds – for an afternoon of original documentary film, singing accompanied by live piano and of course dancing, all in a beautiful hall decked in bunting and patriotic posters. The first routine we learnt, to the Alabama Song, was a marvellous Busby Berkeley group number with tea cups. Admittedly, the quicksmart style of teaching caused some confusion, but maintaining a stiff British upper lip, we managed it all with no mistakes. After a short tea break, we took to the floor once more for a couples’ dance to War, which my dance partner and I found a trifle easier – though the Black Bottom kick steps were jolly fast! It was a shame that so many people sat out the classes, and even though the steps were rather packed in, it was tremendous fun – and a wonderful excuse to dress up.

Now, have you charming readers ever heard of London Life? It was a rather naughty fetish magazine popular in the 1940s and the subject of a terrific Edinburgh Fringe show by singing trio The Three Belles. Extracts from genuine readers’ letters about various fetishes are turned into scenes and acted out, with the magazine’s editor introducing them. Between these skits, the glamorous gals sing related songs – so the spanking sketch is paired with Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar, while Isn’t It a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain? follows the reveal of a red rubber dress. It’s no Fifty Shades of Grey, thank heavens, just an absolute gas – and the singing is wonderful. The Three Belles have very different voices – showcased in their individual solos – and together their harmonies are glorious. Sadly, as the ending reveals, the London Life office was bombed during the Blitz, but the good people of the city gathered together in their shelters and shared copies of the magazine in order to keep it alive. It’s a touching conclusion to a gem of a show, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of British spirit during World War II.

That’s all from me, ladies and gents. Remember to buy war bonds.

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