As I climbed into a white van, ready to be fed sweets and told stories by a man I don’t know, I worried Cape Wrath was everything my mother had warned me about as a child. I had no knowledge of the show apart from what was contained in the marketing copy. I knew there was a van because I had seen it parked outside on my various trips to St Stephens, but I had no idea where it went or why there was a van anyway. I had never seen a Third Angel show before, but I had seen that awesome drawing street map thing they did at Make. Do. And Mend. Sometimes, I feel like I should do more research before shows to make this blog a bit more considered.
The van does not go anywhere. Not physically, at least. For the first ten minutes I thought it was weird to set a show in a van and then not use it to go anywhere, but I soon stopped thinking this because I was so full of warmth and so engaged with going on it sort of stopped mattering where I was.
If I try and explain what Cape Wrath is about I will probably make it sound quite boring. I’ll try – but as I do remember this was told with far more eloquence and charm than I will ever manage, in that way where it’s just everyday language that is not especially flowery but is at the same time personally poetic. Alexander Kelly reads some letters and talks about his grandad. On occasion, there are visual aids which are mostly pretty funny. His grandad used to go on excursions, and on one of these trips he headed to Cape Wrath in the very north of Scotland. There’s a lovely bit with maps where everyone just looks at how unpronounceable a lot of Scottish place names are. After his grandad died, Alex decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and go on a wee excursion to Cape Wrath. This show is a description of that trip – the people met, the places seen, the times buses were caught and how many pieces of plain chocolate were consumed.
It’s a simple and glorious show. The reason I pointed out all my lack of knowledge at the start is that I sometimes feel like I have these mad rushes of affection for work from companies or people I am familiar with (see: Gym Party), and I didn’t have that prior level of information for this one, and yet the more I think about the more I just really loved it. Fringe has now ended, I have endured an end of Festival party and am now moving on with my life, and looking back on it Cape Wrath is my most vivid memory of August. I chatted to my friend Esmond about it, and I said I couldn’t work out what it was that made me love it so. He told me that when I really adore something I lose my critical faculties for a bit and just take it in as it is. That happened with Cape Wrath, I think. It was a story told beautifully and generously with free chocolate and it was so lovely I wanted to cry throughout. In the middle of a busy city during its most chaotic month of the year, I felt cosy and looked after and serene and it was amazing. There’s not much more I could ask, and I fear not much more I can say.