When we arrived in Edinburgh on Monday I started to see ads on the side of buses for a Ray Harryhausen exhibition and I thought “ooh that would be good to go to”. This happened once before in 2015 when Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art had on a Roy Litchenstein exhibition. Next my thoughts turned to “Wonder how I can persuade Helen to go?”
Being the wonderful person that she is she didn’t need persuading at all and so this morning we set off to the gallery which is on the other side of the city from us. Fortuitously it is also beside the Water of Leith, more of which later.
Harryhausen, for those that are not familiar with his work was a visionary film maker who specialised in stop motion models (think Wallace and Gromit) , particularly dinosaurs and mythical creatures. I remember well seeing Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans and One Million Years B.C on TV in my youth and being blown away by the effects so to get to see these models up close was a real treat.
The exhibition took over the whole of the exhibition space and covered six rooms. It started with a room dedicated to his influences and in particular the King Kong film featuring Fay Wray. Over the next few rooms we were shown how he perfected his art which included many detailed illustrations Harryhausen had done along with a number of completed models. This included the skeletons shown above. The last room had a large green screen background where you could be the star of your own Harryhausen pic.
Our finaly stop was the gallery cafe where the girl serving us asked what we were going to do next. She then promptly got herself into trouble when we told her walk the Water of Leith and she then struggled to give us directions! Fortunately we knew where to go as there is an entrance immediately outside the gallery so we pick it up there. Unfortunately, within 100 metres the path was blocked and an elaborate and poorly signed diversion was in palce.
The Water of Leith is very attractive and, as the name suggests, ends up at Leith. We have walked from Ediburgh to Leith previously but today our stopping point was the Botanical Gardens which are huge and on a lovely day like today very pleastant. They are also free (but do donate if you go). We wandered aimlessly around the grounds wishing that we’d taken the opportunity to pick up a map at the beginning until we’d seen all we wanted to see and walked back to the city.
The beauty of the Fringe is that for the most part you don’t know what the quality of what you are seeing is going to be like unless you book to see an established name. Tonight we went to an improvisation show put on by some university students and, well, the consensus of opinion was that it was mediocre at best. Never mind though as there is always something else on to try.