If you’ve not heard of it before then it’s the 10-day arts extravaganza bringing together emerging and established talents from the worlds of music, spoken word, theatre, dance, art and more, and year on year it’s a fantastic showcase of some of the finest talent that Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond have to offer.
If you’ve missed our coverage so far we’ve brought you an inside look at Hidden Door 2017 (which tells you a bit more about the festival and the remit) and a venue focus on the beautiful Old Leith Theatre, which the Hidden Door team have brought back from the dead after laying dormant since the 1980s.
Here’s a quick overlook of the action from across days five and six at Hidden Door – from guitars and theatre to music and, err, a Robert Pattinson-themed poetry showcase.
Hidden Door 2017: Day Five
Inky Fingers are one of the stalwarts of the Edinburgh poetry scene and run a monthly open mic night in Edinburgh, which also features a featured performer each month. It was great to see another Edinburgh regular get the chance to show the local crowd just what’s on offer in the city.
After getting the crowd laughing with a deeper exploration of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ than the world ever knew was possible, hosts Eleanor Pender, Freddie Alexander and Ross McCleary handed over to the open mic which set up the first featured poet Miles Chambers.
Chambers – “the first ever poet laureate of Bristol” – had flown into Edinburgh specially for the showcase along with fellow Bristol poet Tania Hershman.
Chambers delivered prolific, confident word exploring serious issues with humour and buoyancy and Hershman read out thought-provoking poetry as well as some hilarious short stories which were a joy to hear.
Inky Fingers regular Davie Cunningham closed the set with an interactive couple of poems that got the audience involved and put the room in stitches. It was impossible not to leave with a smile. A great set which should encourage more people to head down to the next Inky Fingers regular night (on Tues June 6 at Monkey Barrel on Blair Street, Edinburgh).
They had pulsing tunes between poets, performed with drinks in hand and the poets in waiting crammed onto a couch too small to actually fit them. What more could you ask for in a house party?
Hosts Cat Hepburn and Kevin P Gilday were both brilliant. The former delivering comical, relatable narrative tales and the latter playing on his dislike for, amongst other things, tories and every other poet in the world (“including the ones on stage”) to send laughter around the Speakeasy.
Scottish Slam Champion in 2015 Iona Lee delivered a set filled with intricate imagery and imaginative writing, including a journey through the thought-process of a Morningside mother which cued yet more laughter. She was also more than capable, though, of silencing the crowd with a whisper.
Drew Taylor Wilson held the stage for the longest time of the four and delivered poetry dealing with topics ranging from depression to obsession with Gary Barlow. There was something for everyone.
A great set from Sonnet Youth – and hopefully we’ll get through to see one of their regular nights at the wonderful Drygate at some point.
We knew we liked her immediately from both the facts that a) she’s incredibly talented, and b) her album is named ‘The Road to Mordor’.
Aurora is a harp-playing singer-songwriter who works modern electronics and autotune into her music to give out an incredibly distinctive sound. It was great to see a full set at Hidden Door and we’d definitely recommend checking out her music if you can!
Siobhan’s bio reads that she’s supported acts ranging from Ben E King to Sophie Ellis Bexter – quite the diverse mix – and it’s not hard to see why she’s already garnered a Facebook following of around 15,000. She reminded us a little of Rachel Sermanni.
Wilson’s voice is absolutely hypnotic, and when paired with her slow, meditative melodies and emotive lyrics, she makes for quite the act.
Hidden Door 2017: Day Six
Andrew Blair’s The R-Pattz FacttZ
Andrew Blair hosted an evening of poetry featuring an array of featured performers, with one common theme tying each of the pieces together – Robert Pattinson. Yes. That’s right. Every single poem was about Robert Pattinson.
Andrew Blair read out facts about Pattinson’s life between words from some poets the audience may have recognised from the night before – Inky Fingers’ Ross McClearly re-wrote the words to Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ to match the R-Pattz theme (?!) while wearing a Robert Pattinson mask, while Iona Lee and Freddie Alexander were also back on stage.
Harry Giles' features must have featured the words ‘Robert Pattinson’ about 100 times per poem.
Starting to get the vibe of how odd this was?
It was definitely splitting the audience. Half of the crowd evidently did not know what was going on while the other half couldn’t stop laughing. We were definitely part of the latter – and the fact that various audience members didn’t quite get it really only added to the comedy.
The end note from Blair – “you’re all in a cult now” – was the perfect finale. We're still not quite sure what quite happened.
The Dark Jokes
There we found an array of acts performing, from a Frank Sinatra tribute act to singer-songwriters galore.
The stand out of the bunch were ‘The Dark Jokes’; one singer-songwriter on guitar and one drummer combining to unleash a series of incredibly catchy material inspired by blues, jazz and country and fitted wonderfully with lyrics that matched the standard.
Be sure to check out this duet if you get a chance!
While there were undoubtedly plenty of other talented acts at Hidden Door on days five and six, these were our highlights, and unfortunately the problem with the festival – as is often the case – is that you can’t be in two places at once!
A great couple of nights from Hidden Door Festival and plenty more to come in the next few days.