Ashling Findlay-Carroll reviews a wonderful celebration of Martyn Bennett's classic work.
As a relative newcomer to Bennett's music I felt a little like a fraud amongst the die hard fans, but this music and indeed Greg Lawson—who is responsible for conceiving the idea and arranging the score, alongside conducting—welcomes you in to partake in its multilayered brilliance. Throughout, the atmosphere in the Edinburgh Playhouse was electric testament to the fact that these musicians are not just talented but passionate about this music and giving so much to their performance.
The theatrical experience of watching an orchestra, especially one so diverse as this, is overwhelming at times, the ebb and swell of their movements resembling a beautifully choreographed dance. The imagery evoked by this particular collection is so strong it transports you through the darker urban landscape and out to more open spaces and the hills of the rural lands.
The lighting was complementary to the music, but at times I wanted a bit more. There were times when it was so spot-on and drew you in to the feeling—a festival, a throbbing club—but in others, whilst it was still perfectly fine, it just didn't quite live up to my hopes.
It didn't, however, impede my overall experience, and there is no doubt the recreation of this album has been done with care and attention to detail, so much so that at times it is difficult to believe these sounds are being performed live. The final moments are beautiful and reiterate the feeling of a shared experience by using the uplifting sound of many human voices joined together; likewise the final encore was such a playful way of both interpreting the lyrics and exiting the stage, leaving you with warmth and a cheeky smile.
Grit is a celebration not just of Martyn Bennett's work but also of difference and of daring to be out of the ordinary.
Grit was part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. It’s run has concluded.