You know how I was just saying how I can’t stay away from the Edinburgh Fringe no matter how hard I try, I went up there for my second day-trip yesterday.
My first visit involved quite a lot of haring about from one venue to the other with very little time for anything else. I consider this an important part of the Fringe experience – if I haven’t huffed past a load of slow-coaches tutting and rolling my eyes then I don’t consider my day complete.
My second trip saw longer gaps between the shows, so less haste and more time for some of my Fringe rituals. They include:
- Whinging about the length of the queue at the Half Price Hut before remembering that there’s a special separate queue for pre-paid collections. Sailing through and feeling smug. Then remembering the extortionate booking fee I was charged, and feeling less smug.
- Having a crepe from the van in the Grassmarket.
- Standing in the Pleasance Courtyard and remembering the Lift being there where Patricia Quinn was staged and smiling about the amount of wine I drank over that week.
- Getting rained on.
- Buying a packet of yoghurt coated raisins from the shop at Potterrow. Eating them all. Feeling sick.
- Shuffling down the Royal Mile. Obviously.
- Walking past the Brass Monkey and remembering going there with Pat and smiling about how much wine I drank over that week.
- Getting angry at student drama performers being annoying and up themselves before remembering I was one of them once.
- Seeing Kate Copstick. Every time. She can be as fearsome a Scotsman reviewer as she likes, but to me she’ll always be Marlene Marlowe.
I have a new ritual to add to the list now:
- Getting pissed off by people who can’t move all the way along a row when they take their seats. Aisle hoggers are the worst of this breed. If the show looks like it’s going to be busy/full then bunk along, don’t worry you don’t have to befriend the stranger next to you. The worst venue for this is the Traverse. Which also has the worst queuing system. There were nearly fisticuffs in the queue yesterday for The Events. Mainly cos people are stupid. Not me. I’m perfect.
Now, the bit you’ve all been waiting for … my reviews:
John Williams, My Son’s Not Rainman – Just The Tonic, Bristo Square. A bit inconsistent but John is a really likeable performer, good banter and his show about his autistic son really moved me and stayed with me for a while after. FYI I wanted to be a lollipop lady when I grew up.
Hannah Gadsby, Happiness Is A Bedside Table– Assembly Roxy. Another really endearing performer, funny, heartfelt, funny, lots to relate to. I said funny, yeah.
TapTap Theatre, Men– Underbelly, Bristo Square. Interesting piece of new writing and good performances especially from the actors playing Bianca and Suze. Shame the sightlines in the tiny Wee Coo aren’t great – I tend to switch off if I can’t see a performer’s face for a long time.
Newsrevue – Pleasance. Ok. Nothing that original. I did like the ‘Kill A Burglar’ song.
The Events – Traverse. I’ve kept this one until last because (controversial?) I hated it. The reviewers have been falling over themselves to praise it and Twitter has been agog, but me personally – awful. I found it confusing, pretentious and disjointed. I didn’t care about any of the characters, I wasn’t sure who characters were (the male actor takes on multiple roles), I think I only kept a grasp on the central premise cos I’d read the blurb. I came away with nothing, no further insight into the topic, I hadn’t been entertained or moved or challenged – just bored and worthy-ed at. Very disappointing.
If you’re interested, the Traverse are re-staging their 50 Plays for Edinburgh by the Traverse 50 writers on Friday 30 & Saturday 31 August. It’s not quite the epic night of theatre it was the first time round as they’ve split them in two – 25 per night (my short ‘Have A Heart’ is amongst Saturday’s line-up)