So, I finally made it up to Edinburgh last week and got to join in with the Fringe-funtimes. It’s very easy to feel like the whole world is at the Festival in August, while I’m sat in my flat watching Sharknado 2.
I was there for Fat Alice. It’s been a long, rocky road to get there but five drafts (although we try not to talk about the first two cos they went in the bin) and quite a lot of notepaper headed ‘what is Alice?’ later we got there.
Traverse Associate Director Emma Callander has been with me every step of the way, and it was a real joy to finally be in the rehearsal room with her, two actors, AD Caitlin and SM Camilla and get to hear it out loud for the first time. The first time read by other people I should say. You know, like, proper actors, and not just me reading it out loud at my desk in – worryingly – a Scottish accent which I didn’t mean to do but couldn’t help it.
Anyway. It was a brilliant day. I’ve said before how much I enjoy being in rehearsals, hearing the play, seeing it start to come alive and so on. I might not look like I’m enjoying myself as I go ghost white and sit there shaking and trying to fold myself invisible in my chair, but believe me – there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
I was lucky to get two great actors for the roles – Meg Fraser and Keith Fleming – and it was gratifying that everyone at the table ‘got’ it from the off, liked it and went for it.
The first performance on Friday was to a sold-out audience which was lovely to see, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits with their bacon butties and cuppas. I hope they enjoyed it. I did. I even remembered to breathe. I have a couple of script tweeks to do before the next one and can’t wait to see it again. (also sold out – whoop!)
In the meantime I’ll leave you with my Fringe tips, as I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath …
Show#1: The Carousel at the Traverse – a beautiful monologue performed outstandingly by Maureen Beattie. Gorgeous set, mood, tone, all right up my street. I got a little lost sometimes with the multiple narrators and jumping about in time, but it didn’t matter.
Show#2: riverrun also at the Traverse. Indescribable. Kind of beautiful and a bit intimidating. Once I stopped fighting it and just let it wash over me, then I had a better time. Reminded me of Not I.
Show#3: Buffer (Thrive Theatre) – enjoyable new play by fellow Trav50 writer Alan Gordon about relationships and online life. Funny. Good use of the limited space and good performances. It’s finished now though so, yeah.
Show#4: Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen Vol2 – engaging, fun, endearing, even for someone like me who doesn’t really know Cohen. A potentially rather moving ending spoiled by a fire alarm. At least they didn’t start evacuating us til the show ended!
Show #5: Ernest And The Pale Moon at the Pleasance – possibly my favourite of the day. Stylised, inventive, a couple of scares, atmospheric, energetic. We were accosted by a man in the queue who told us in great detail about how amazing he and his play are. We did not appreciate this. I don’t think he comes with the show though, so a strong recommend for something a bit different.
Show #6: Spoiling at the Traverse (do you see a theme?!) – interesting, funny and sharp two-hander about a Scotland in transition after a ‘yes’ vote. Great performances, especially Gabriel Quigley who I think is ace.
So there you go. Wish I could have seen everything I wanted to and more, but I don’t think we did too badly for one evening and one full day.