The producers of The Tour Guide are all-too familiar with Edinburgh’s climate. When you arrive, they hand you a poncho and tissues to wipe your seat dry as you board the open-top Lothian bus that serves as the production’s mobile venue.
After 19 years on the job, the Guide, played by Ian Hanmore, has been given notice and is now overseeing his last-ever tour – and he’s going to make it one to remember for us, his captive customers. As the bus veers off its normal route, Hanmore veers off his guide’s script, the history of the city melding with his own personal history in author James Graham’s tale of decline, financial ruin and, ultimately, perhaps, regeneration.
I love the concept for The Tour Guide and, for festival goers like myself, who’s time in Edinburgh is usually limited to a very small grid of streets and venues, this show provides an excellent opportunity to – literally – get off the beaten track (into Leith for one) and gain a new perspective on a beautiful city and its populace.
However, for me, who’s been fighting a nasty bug, an hour being whipped by high winds and sometimes torrential rain, still left me cold, wet and miserable – and I’ve still got a sniffle to prove it. If you’re hardier than me, don’t let that put you off. If not, try to save this one for a sunny day.