Thu 11 Mar 21
It’s a line-up guaranteed to put a spring in your step – two days of music, magic and merriment to banish the winter blues.
OnFife’s first Spring Festival – which takes place on 20 and 21 March – is an eclectic mix of perfect pop, laugh-out-loud gags and a hint of Bollywood glamour.
And, to help online festival-goers shake of winter’s shackles, the timing couldn’t be better. The whole thing kicks off on International Day of Happiness, which falls on the vernal equinox – when day and night are of equal length and brighter days beckon at last.
Pullling the strings is a comic Fife comedy fans have taken to their hearts – the irrepressible Craig Hill. He’ll be compering a line-up that includes singing sensation Horse MacDonald, comedy favourites Raymond Mearns and Jay Lafferty and rising popsters Dancing on Tables.
It’s an ambitious programme that’s the latest in series of online events that demonstrate OnFife’s commitment to providing top-drawer entertainment throughout lockdown.
OnFife's programme manager Verdi Clark says: “Although our theatre doors have been closed for a year now, we’ve been reimagining the ways we can connect with our audiences.
“Our Spring Festival embodies the fresh approach we’ve taken – so, as winter becomes a memory, what better way to celebrate spring than a festival full of fabulous events.”
The opening event promises to be a real blockbuster – a Bollywood workshop with Edinburgh-based dance teacher Tanwi Bhattacharya. Inspired by Holi – the Hindu festival of colours – it’s hard to imagine a more exuberant start to this online celebration of spring.
Just remember to pace yourself. Tanwi will take her class through an hour of captivating moves that promise refreshment for body and mind. All to a backdrop of Bollywood beats.
Stretch a little, jump a little, bend a little. It’s small wonder the dress code is ‘loose fitting, free flowing and casual’ …. but no Bollywood workout should, of course, be glamour-free.
Badger The Mystical Mutt
With their wonderfully magical plot twists and engaging, fulsome characters, the tales of Badger the Mystical Mutt are anything but shaggy dog stories.
These bestselling illustrated books for 5–9 year olds are a firm favourite with young book fans in Fife, so a talk by author Lyn McNicol is a welcome addition to the Festival line-up.
It’s an ideal opportunity to share some adventures with the spell-making, toast-eating pooch who seems to make friends wherever he goes. As well as stories and music, there will be plenty of magic, giant maracas and lots of mutt-fuelled mayhem.
Stand Up To Stand Out
Star performers from OnFife’s popular comedy cafes will be hosting two masterclasses in the elusive art of making people laugh. They are tailor-made for anyone who’s ever wanted to bring the house down … but couldn’t bring themselves to get up on stage.
These one-hour sessions – led by Raymond Mearns on Saturday. and Jay Lafferty on Sunday – are as much about building self-confidence as they are about reducing people to hysterics.
The Stand up To Stand Out sessions will offer top tips on how to tickle someone’s funny bone - where to source material, how to structure a set and strategies for staying in control.
Horse: The Same Sky
Horse is a proud Fifer and stellar Scottish pop star, who’s back in the Kingdom for a show – recorded in Dunfermline – that celebrates 30 years since the launch of her recording career.
Featuring heavily in this bespoke session – the singer’s first performance in more than a year - will be stripped-back versions of songs from the classic debut album, The Same Sky.
Also taking part in this pre-recorded show are bandmates Gemma Roberts, Lorna Thomas and Dan Crichton. It’s a rare chance to sit back and savour an artist once described as "one of Scotland's all-time great vocalists, who’s also possessed of keen songwriting intelligence.”
Dancing On Tables
They’ve been dubbed ‘the new Coldplay” but their Infectious, unstoppable energy is unlquely their own. If the name suggests to you a certain joyful exuberance, then you’re on the right tracks. Dunfermline five-piece Dancing On Tables are a force to be reckoned with.
Variety Magazine, no less, named them as one of ‘10 Brits to Watch’ and backing from Spotify and Apple Music has helped the band to bag more than 5 million streams.
It’s been a whirlwind rise for a band that’s swapped gigs at friends’ parties for arena dates with Catfish and the Bottlemen. Now a Festival set sees them back on home ground.
From Scotland With Love
Bringing the curtain down on this Festival weekend is the screening of a film that has a musical soundtrack by Fife’s own King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson) at its beating heart.
Commissioned in 2014, From Scotland With Love has become part of the nation’s cinematic canon. Director Virginai Heath scoured hours and hours of archive material to chronicle movingly the big themes of the 20th century – all mixed in with fun, laughter and light-heartedness.
It is, as Anderson once remarked, like looking at ourselves in the past – our grandparents' or great grandparents' generation ‘goofing about’. And, for a Festival with lightness at its heart, it seems like a fitting conclusion.