Paul T Davies reviews James Rowland’s Learning To Fly now playing at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Learning to Fly
Summerhall – Edinburgh Festival
The master storyteller is back! I love James Rowland’s whimsey, his funny, emotional stories are charming and involving, and take you places you don’t expect to be taken! His Songs of Friendship trilogy is a classic.
Here is a story from his late childhood/early teens, when his Mum arranges to leave him with neighbour Anne for a few hours every Wednesday when James is off school – he was a very ill child. Being old, living alone and not liking boys, he views her as a witch. Until they bond in a unique way, and her love of music makes Beethoven’s Ninth Choral Symphony essential to the plot, no spoilers here!
Rowland is an affable performer, welcoming us to the space, chatting away until the story begins. He has the audience in the palm of his hand throughout, but I was particularly impressed that he allows his story to breathe. He stops and we listen to the music with him, he is not afraid to hold silence.
It’s a wonderful story, and soars when he discovers that Anne is sad and he comes up with a solution to make her happy that no one expects! He gives us a wonderful endorphin rush with his words and that classic music. Highly recommended.
Wed 3rd Aug – Sun 28th Aug