Ancient Shrines and Half Truths

Tripadvisor meets Pokemon Go in this absurd, fantastical tour that proves how liable we are to being led.

Exposes our compulsive desire to know as much as possible about the places we visit

Keeping up with contemporary demands, faux tour operators Binge Collective have installed a travel app in devices, which they allocate to audience members upon arrival. With headphones attached, the devices mimic audio-guides, and the three hosts in high-vis escort us out of the grounds with such authority that almost masks the fact they’re kiwis introducing Scotland’s capital.

Stationed at the tip of The Meadows, the experience begins with a short introduction and an in-app tutorial. Headphones up, we are directed between shapes that the collective have surreptitiously erected in a circle around us. The instructing voice is warm and reliable, one that you might blindly take any instruction from. And begins their case in point. The show at once exposes our compulsive desire to know as much as possible about the places we visit and how we’ll take anything we’re told as fact, as long as it sounds like one.

With a cartoon map of the surrounding area, we are set free to explore solo. Selecting marked points of interest (or, ‘ancient shrines’) prompts the audio-guide to describe each of these places and its purported significance. Where bins are goodie boxes for the homeless and hedges are things to be shaken and crouched beside, the irony is full frontal. Ancient Shrines and Half Truths pokes fun at conventional tourist trails that favour the acquisition of knowledge over experience. After all, to what to extent does reality matter if we’re having fun?

If you’re willing to participate in a series of bizarre practices guaranteed to push you out of your comfort zone, you’ll have a ball with these guys (and maybe an impromptu picnic, too).

Reviews by Eva Hibbs

Summerhall

Heather

★★★
Summerhall

Ancient Shrines and Half Truths

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Let Me Look at You

★★★★
Summerhall

Ramy: In the Frontline

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Kat Bond: Loo Roll

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Briony Redman: Theory of Positivity

★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Real travellers belong everywhere. Join performance alchemists Binge Culture on an immersive audio experience that mainlines you into the city's heart. Discover hidden gems, stumble into fragile cultural ceremonies and laugh with authentic locals. Armed with the knowledge of your expert guide and entry-level smartphone technology, you'll feel instantly at home – wherever your journey takes you. Refuse to tourist. Take the outsider's insider's guide that proves you deserve to belong. 'One of the country’s most exciting, direct and original theatre companies' (NZ Herald). Part of NZatEdinburgh.com.

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