Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Nature theme for show

The massed military and pipe bands during a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Picture: Mark MacKay
The massed military and pipe bands during a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Picture: Mark MacKay
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CHILDREN will simulate a volcano, a Mongolian orchestra will perform in a musical spectacular and a life-sized puppet from War Horse will take part in a parade of ­animals at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Details were unveiled today as organisers revealed more than 95 per cent of tickets for the 24-performance, three-week run on the Castle Esplanade are gone. More than 220,000 visitors are expected.

The themes for the 64th Edinburgh Tattoo are “The Year of Natural Scotland” and “Our Wonderful World”.

The show will open in ­dramatic style with pupils from Stewart’s Melville College and actors from the Lyceum Youth Theatre spilling over the Castle drawbridge to simulate a ­volcanic lava flow.

Re-enacting the beginning of time to the tune “The Rhythm of Life”, the Tattoo’s 50-strong Highland Dance troupe will herald the approach of spring, performed by the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defence Band and Dancers, who will also mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

Spring also brings the notorious midge portrayed by the Imps Motor Cycle Display Team. Summer is represented by an energetic fiesta of heat from the Monumental Jaguares Marching Band, the Mexican Folk Dance Company Tenochtitlan, and Mariachi Oro de Mexico.

Autumn is celebrated by the New Zealand Army Band paying tribute to Maori Haka. As dusk descends, they are joined by the Locheil Marching Drill Team. And the icy blast of winter arrives with the Central Orchestra of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces.

Tattoo chief executive and producer Brigadier David Allfrey said: “I auditioned the Mongolian contingent in Ulaanbaatar in minus 34 [fahrenheit] earlier this year and I am particularly thrilled that they have come to Scotland. All being well, our climate may be a little easier.”

Providing the climax, bands of the Irish Guards, the Royal Logistic Corps and The Rifles join the Massed Military Bands against projections of indigenous flora and fauna. To concluding will be a Parade of Animals introducing – on selected nights – the participation of life-sized horse puppet Joey from the award-winning production of War Horse.

Brigadier Allfrey said: “The Tattoo has an astonishing pedigree. Each year we look to remain authentic to those elements that are ever-important but also we look to stretch and find innovative production techniques and new acts from around the world. We have an astonishing cast and a wonderful musical programme.”

“Last year, we were very proud of the accolades that followed the show. This year, I think it is even stronger, one of the greatest shows in the world.”

The Tattoo runs from August 2-24. Some tickets, priced £24 to £60, can still be obtained at www.edintattoo.co.uk, by phoning 0131-225 1188 or in person from the Tattoo Ticket Sales Office at 34 Market Street.