Battle of Pots and Pans Premiered in Prestonpans
Surprising it was, and intentionally....
The essence of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Victory at Prestonpans was surprise, and the Trustees have every intention of making the manner of its commemoration agreeably surprising too. That's a standing promise.
The Battle of Pots and Pans, a new Pageant written by Aberlady-born Andrew Dallmeyer readily matched and exceeded the standard to which we aspire.
The premiere on June 8th 2007 has attracted widespread praise and was honoured by the presence of Helen Crummy MBE, the legendary community arts leader from Craigmillar accompanied by her two sons. Edinburghians from the RSA and more, who had earlier walked the battlefield and dined at The Gothenburg, swelled the large audience in Prestongrange Church. Clearly there was anticipation aplenty. [Your Reporter tells below how he saw it unfold.]
For readers here who missed the premiere or who saw it and would now wish it performed in their local Kirk, all that is needed is a call to the Battle Trust at [+44] 1875 819922 or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - it's ready to tour on request.
"WE HAD NO IDEA what to expect but the 'Pots and Pans' title chosen led us all to expect something out of the ordinary. In fact for the first five minutes we wondered, just as the actors and singers who were arriving did, whether we were at the right Kirk in The Pans. Fortunately Andrew Dallmeyer who wrote the script and directed and narrated, arriving last, quickly put our minds to rest. We were in fact attending the Pageant itself which never did and never will get beyond its 'Dress Rehearsal'. Shadows of Brecht but in Andrew's defence the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745 was just the Dress Rehearsal for that battle which never took place beyond Derby. Andrew, as we would wish, was being true to history. That two of the early arriving actors were football supporters, one of Celtic and the other of Rangers, who both ended up on the same side once costumes were donned, cleverly echoed the complexity of support given to the Stuart cause at that time - and ever since!
"The Laverocks had a vital part to play throughout as original song was blended with poetry but greatly complemented by new works by John Lindsay, Poet Laureate. His 'Lady Gardiner's Lament' most beautifully sung by Coreen Scott after the mortal wounding of her Colonel husband, was a show stopper and one of the highlights of the whole presentation.
"But it was not the only highlight by any means. The Fleeing Dragoons who left the Colonel so hopelessly stranded yet destined for stardom were ridiculed in song and by clowning hobbyhorse. The night before the battle saw Dallmeyer mirroring Henry V at Agincourt with both sides fearfully reflecting and dreaming upon the morrow. The emotional contrast of the distinctive Exhortations for their own armies by Johnnie Cope and Prince Charles brought a chilling reminder of what eight hours rape and pillage might have meant for Edinburgh and the Lothians if Cope had won the day.
"The battle itself was beautifully and noisily presented with local Meanwhiler Malcolm Watson as Master of Ceremonies or was he Cheer Leader, to much percussion from the Laverocks and from the combatants banging their eponymous pots and pans [thereby vindicating the title chosen].
The final Victory Tableaux were a work of art to any eye as Highlander slaughtered Redcoat.
"To conclude, Dallmeyer felt he should allude to the Prince's winter return excursion to Derby [although that is no part of our Prestonpans Heritage Story]. This latter point was admirably and so elegantly confirmed with the Highlander's closing lines: 'Culloden? Never heard of it!'
"No curtain fell; rather The Prince himself in full dress boarded what looked rather like Noah's Ark from another set. As he waved the Highlanders and Hanoverian combatants Goodbye, the Laverocks sang us out".
P.S. The pictures here are by Linda Sneddon and were taken at the Dress Rehearsal of the Dress Rehearsal ... so to speak... and Andrew Dallmeyer stands in for the Prince [who was in Derby at the time...]
Published Date: June 15th 2007