Arts festival kicks off in Peebles

THE COOL and urbane wit of Neil Simon will illuminate the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles tonight and tomorrow.

Though not quite the box office smash that was ‘The Odd Couple’, ‘Barefoot in the Park’ was a highly successful stage show before being adapted for the big screen in 1967, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as ill-matched newly weds Paul and Corie.

The acclaimed Tweed Theatre is behind the Peebles production – perfectly conveying the comical discord between the couple and one of the undoubted highlights of the town’s arts festival.

The show, sponsored by Brown Brothers, is at 7.30pm each evening and tickets, priced 8 and 6, are available from the venue on 01721 725777.

Music will be the fore on Saturday as the festival gets into full swing.

Percussion-based Trash will play the Chambers Institution Quadrangle at 10am followed, an hour later, by Beyond the Pale, virtuoso exponents of Eastern European Jewish folk/celebration music.

The free programme concludes at noon with the 26-strong Otsailan female choir from Basque twin town Hendaye.

A festival of busking will take place in High Street from 2pm till 4pm, after which a trophy will be presented to the best junior entertainer.

Three local bands – Strange Brew, Keep the Change and Funky Dung – will play the Eastgate on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets are 10 6 concessions).

Also on Saturday, the Burgh Hall will host a craft fair from 10am till 4pm.

The Eastgate studio will feature a poetry workshop with the great Gaelic writer Aonghas MacNeacail on Sunday, from 1.30pm till 4pm.

On the same evening the Hendaye choir will be in the main theatre for a concert, starting at 7.30pm.

‘From the Fjords to the Malverns’ is the title of supper recital by the Cathcart Quartet in the town’s Tontine Hotel at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Robert Dick and Sheena Robertson, (violin), Julian Marshal (viola) and Sam Coe (cello) will celebrate the music of Grieg and Elgar.