Comedy Crime Caper Comes to Peebles

A two-man comedy gem starring Julian Finnegan and Dominic Goodwin, Holmes and Watson: the Farewell Tour is a delightfully bonkers show from Pyramus and Thisbe Productions. Its premise sees Sherlock Holmes, just before slipping into well-earned retirement, convince Dr Watson, his landlady Mrs Hudson and Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to join him on a farewell tour of the British Isles in which they will re-enact this most baffling unrecorded case.

Shrouded in secrecy until now, this case – an affair upon whose outcome the security of Europe once hung by a thread – has only now been approved by the government for public disclosure.

It is also understood that Mr Holmes has been entrusted by Her Majesty with the conveyance to the Tower of London of the fabled Satsuma Stone – stolen from the crown of William of Orange in the seventeenth century and only recently discovered in a midden in Maastricht. The evening, we are told, may include a glimpse of this priceless gem.

The play garnered glowing reviews when performed before the pandemic, with Julian Finnigan excelling as the straight man Holmes and Dominic Goodwin’s Watson full of comic excellence.

“When we decided to bring the tour back after Covid, we agreed that the need to laugh will never have been greater,” commented Goodwin. “We’re pretty sure this farewell tour will provide that laugh!”

Holmes and Watson: The Farewell Tour plays at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30pm, Thurs 30 September. Tickets priced £16, £14, £6 under 16s, available from Box Office on 01721 725777 or online.

Eastgate Expands Health & Wellbeing Programme

Brand new for this season is a weekly Memory Lane Music session – a cheerful hour of song and music led by local tutors Frances Taylor and Robbie Tatler. The free sessions, provided in partnership with Peebles-based music school Nomad Beat, will be held across two blocks on Wednesday mornings from 15 September through to 24 November.

Initially helping to reduce feelings of loneliness and problems with communication, the long-term aim is to demonstrate the improvements that music can make to peoples’ lives, so it becomes an important part of their provided care systems.

The season also sees the return of Dance for Parkinson’s, a series of weekly dance workshops offered in partnership with Scottish Ballet and Edinburgh’s Dance Base, Scotland’s national centre for dance.

Suitable for people with no dance experience, the sessions help develop participants’ confidence and creativity while addressing specific concerns around balance, coordination, flexibility, mobility and social isolation.

Sessions (priced at £5) are held on Thursday mornings from 15 September to 9 December, and include live music, refreshments and the chance for a good blether at the end.

For more information, visit https://eastgatearts.com/take-part/engage-programme/

Music Month at the Eastgate

The October programme kicks off with the finest fiddle playing recently to emerge from Scotland.  Fara launches the month on the 1st.  the fiery sound produced by Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price on fiddles plus Rory Matheson on piano perform the music of Orkney in intricate playing and rich harmonies.   Seven days later, on the 8th , RANT pick up the roots music baton.  Four of Scotland’s finest fiddle players create a sound both rich and lush weaving a tapestry of melodies, textures, layers and sounds.

Between these two, on Saturday 2nd , The Spirit of Bad Company and Free celebrate the music of Paul Rodgers.  The Music in Peebles season continues with an extraordinary hybrid classical concert/drama production called Creating Carmen. This fun filled evening of fantasy, comedy, drama and tremendous music is on Tuesday 5th .

Bizet’s music makes an extraordinary return on Tuesday 19th at 7pm when the big silver screen is filled by Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man.  This extraordinary dance/drama interpretation of the opera transports the story to a greasy garage diner in 1960s America, where the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge.

Wednesday 27th sees the frenetic energy turned down just a little as internationally renowned guitarist Martin Simpson rules the stage.  One of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, Martin’s interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling as he combines elements of British, Afro-American and old-timey music with his own songs.  Heidi Talbot and Boo Hewardine bring the month to a close on the 29th as they celebrate Heidi’s 20 years as a professional singer and the release of her new album featuring tracks from her first 5 solo albums.

Whatever your musical taste the Eastgate is the place to be this month.  Performances (except Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man) begin at 7.30pm.  Tickets can be bought in person, over the ‘phone on 01721 725777 or online www.eastgatearts.com where there is a lot more background information.

The Eastgate Theatre’s recently launched autumn programme – its first season launch for almost two years – will have trad music fans in particular licking their lips in anticipation, with a host of talent from near and far playing live between now and November.

Step into the Surreal World of Gary Meikle

Having enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks, forging a career in stand-up after finding inspiration from his life as a young single dad, Gary has become known as a fast-paced, punchy storyteller with a barrowload of playfully dark material. His cheeky chappie demeanour and ability to get away with talking about anything leaves audiences laughing at things that they probably shouldn’t.

As always, Gary draws material from his own real-life experiences, including his unique family dynamic – he became a granddad at 40 – and his rapid rise to online fame. Quickly putting his audiences at ease, a night of stand-up with Gary feels like time in the pub chatting with friends – albeit a chat that covers topics ranging from evolution to bee sex, how to deal with burglars and small man syndrome.

And Gary Meikle is just the first in a series of stellar comedy performers coming to Peebles over the next few months. Eastgate regular and all-round kilty cult figure, Craig Hill, returns in November with his new show, Pumped – just launched at the Edinburgh Fringe.

And in January, Glasgow’s critically acclaimed Scott Gibson – one of the finest storytelling comedians in the country – will take audiences on a deep, dark and meaningful dive into the year gone by.

Tickets for performances by Gary Meikle (7.30pm, Tues 26 Aug), Craig Hill (7.30pm, Fri 5 Nov) and Scott Gibson (7.30pm, Sat 15 Jan 2022) are available from the Eastgate Box Office on 01721 725777, or online.

Scotland’s Deer Dilemma Debated on Screen

The thorny issue of how to manage Scotland’s vast population of red deer will take centre stage on the opening night of this year’s Peebles Outdoor Film Festival (13-15 Aug), with a screening of multi-award-winning film The Cull: Scotland’s Deer Dilemma.

Cowboys and Cupcakes

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is on Thursday 29 July at 2pm.  Enjoy Paul Newman and Robert Redford in this iconic western featuring a panoramic chase across the west – over rocks, through towns, across rivers… always with a very special posse close behind…just before Butch says the immortal phrase “Let’s go to Bolivia”.

Two weeks later (Thursday 12 August at 2pm) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly fill the screen. The Good is Blondie (Clint Eastwood) a professional gunslinger out trying to earn a few dollars. The Bad is Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) a ruthless professional hitman. The Ugly is Tuco (Eli Wallach) a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide. A bounty hunting scam joins two of them in an uneasy alliance against the third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

On Thursday 26 August the Coen Brothers 2010 version of True Grit sees 14 year old Mattie Ross join the roughest, rudest, laziest U.S. marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn in a hunt to find the killer of Mattie’s father. Their trek takes them into the Indian Nations where they are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who has his own reasons for hunting killer Chaney.

he Rider is the feature on Thursday 9 September. Hailed as an extraordinary translation of life into art, Chloé Zhao’s film fictionalizes the true life experiences of Brady Jandreau, a Lakota cowboy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, whose rodeo career ended after a bucking bronco threw him and stepped on his skull. Jandreau has a sixth sense with horses, and Zhao captures this intense empathy in an otherwise challenging world where the injured have little choice but to “cowboy up” if they are to survive. The film stars the real Jandreau family Brady, his father and his sister Lilly.

Cowboys and cupcakes is just the first in a series of Classic Film seasons made possible with funding from the British Film Institute.   Adult film tickets £10, Under 16s are £6 available now from Eastgate Theatre box office on 01721 725777, form more details www.eastgatearts.com

Film Festival Makes Summer Switch

Usually staged in January, but postponed this year by Covid, the annual festival is from Friday 13-Sunday 15 August).  As well as outdoor adventures, it features a range of award-winning adventure films and big-name speakers.

Daytime adventures include epic tree climbing experiences high in the canopy of one of the grand old trees in the grounds of Traquair House with Wild Tree Adventures, while the John Muir Trust invites families to Glenlude to build bird boxes and learn more about the wider rewilding project at the site.

The festival weekend also sees a guided paddle trip down the River Tweed courtesy of Biggar Adventure, plus three very different cycling experiences: an introduction to eBikes; a gravel ride led by Bspoke Cycles; plus a special, women-only ride and bivvy night with Swift Trails.

After spending time outdoors, participants can then join film fans at the Eastgate Theatre to enjoy a carefully curated programme of adventure films from around the world covering everything from audacious high-lining attempts beneath the Northern Lights to free diving in New Zealand.

Screenings include a trio of multi-award-winning feature films: The Cull: Scotland’s Deer Dilemma, which explores how red deer fit into ideas around rewilding the Scottish landscape; Climbing Blind, the story of the first ‘non-sight’ lead climb of the Old Man of Hoy; and Piano to Zanskar, the delightful tale of one man’s dream to transport a 100-year-old upright piano from London to a primary school high in the Indian Himalaya.

As well as films, festival audiences will be treated to a headline appearance by Anna Rutherford, phenomenal ultra-runner and Peebles mum who will talk about her recent, record-breaking run on the Southern Upland Way. Supported by a team of local runners, Anna ran the 216-mile, coast-to-coast route in 62 hours, 34 minutes and 55 seconds – breaking the previous record by more than 17 hours.

“Ever since the film festival had to be postponed at the beginning of the year, we were hopeful that we would be able to put together a slimmed-down version for the summer,” explained the Eastgate’s Caroline Adam. “We are so pleased that is now possible and look forward to welcoming audiences to a slightly different but equally exciting version of the festival before it returns to its usual January slot in 2022.”

Held at the Eastgate Theatre, and at outdoor locations throughout the Tweed Valley, the 2021 Peebles Outdoor Film Festival runs from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 August. The full festival programme is available at eastgatearts.com

Tickets for most events can be booked online, or at Eastgate Theatre Box Office in person or over the ‘phone 01721 725777

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Interested In Contemporary Dance?

We’re looking for up to 12 people (age 16+, not necessarily with dance experience) to take part in the dance section of an exciting new performance project for January 2021.

A Tale of Two Towns

Born in Peebles, and then educated in Edinburgh and at art college in Aberdeen, Philip’s professional life saw him work as an art teacher at Selkirk High, as well as at various Borders primary schools, Borders College and in private classes.

Now retired from teaching, he has lived on Peebles High Street for the past 40 years – an observational position in the heart of the town that has helped fuel his work as a painter.

“These paintings are a selection from a large and varied output over many years – paintings of inner worlds and outer circumstances,” explained Philip. “Sometimes the outer circumstances are the streets, the river and hillsides immediately around us, and these are the focus of this exhibition.”

There are also, he added, paintings that seek the essential character of the town and display the contrast with the “other place” just 20 miles away.

“There are paintings that engage with community concerns and anxieties, the swelling suburbanisation, the flood-vulnerable centre, the tensions of environment, private cars and public transport,” continued Philip.

“There are paintings that show a tiny city – not quaint, countrified and folksy, but urban, European and connected, as are the lives of many residents of this town.”

Peebles and the Other Place is on display at the Eastgate Theatre’s Anne Younger Studio until 24 December (10am-5pm, Tues to Sat). A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to the theatre’s Open Doors campaign.