I'll be writing these articles in English due to a request by one of my two Edinburgh friends who refuse to learn Norwegian (despite it apparently being the easiest language for an English-speaker to learn
). They do exist. I think perhaps she wanted to keep me accountable, as I am going to base a lot of this on her words as well as my own.
Now, I did not get to be here for much of the festival this year -- I was too busy enjoying the jazz festival and guesting other people's wedding (both fun), and even after returning to the Scottish capital I had to finish writing and hand in a chapter and an outline for my first year review. The result is that I have only been at the final week of what is a festival (or collection of festivals) that lasts well over a month. Another contributing factor for my sparse sampling of this year's festival is of course the perpetual lack of money one is obliged to endure as a student. I have somewhat decided to close my eyes to that for the time being, though; but there are limits to even my powers of self-delusion.
My first meeting with the festival consisted of registering that it was Hell trying to leave my flat: there were people everywhere and most of them walk very
slowly, completely oblivious to anyone attempting to pass them. I noticed this tendency rather more in those early days when I was desperately trying to finish my chapter; every time I ran out of milk I ended up having these urges to kill some German who was stopping every five meters to show is kid yet another
inflatable sheep. A central part of this story (for those who know me) is that I would usually discover that I had run out of milk because I needed it for my coffee in the morning. I am not a happy person in the morning.
Walking through the High Street is like being attacked by pure potential. There is so much happening everywhere all the time, and up until one makes a choice anything is possible; but the moment you decide to go somewhere, that is automatically at the expense of something else. In addition there is a programme the size of the IKEA catalogue, only with much smaller print and rather fewer pictures. I have therefore comiled a list of things I wanted to see, but didn't
. Feel my pain:Tom Waits
My missing this was not due to time or financial constraints. It was simply becuase he was here on the wrong day (while I was stuck in Norway). And my heart is broken. I wonder whether he will make another visit to Europe anytime soon. If he does not, I may have to go to the US. Don't make me go to the US.
The looked very cool standing on the stones along the High Street in their hakamas and katanas everywhere. I was grinning like a fool. They do not look as cool on their flyer, where they are all dressed in suits, but I suspect that is an allusion to Tarantino's Kill Bill
: the leader of this troupe apparently choreographed the battle scenes in that movie and played Crazy 88 #1, Miki. I ended up not going both because £9 is
a lot of money, and because none of my Nipponophile friends are here. You can read more about them here: http://www.k-kamui.com/e/
A Pod Person?
This looked highly post-modern. It is described by its flyer as "Shakespeare on shuffle" and "a cheeky 21st Century homage to the Bard", both of which sound like excellent ideas. I was very tempted. I have this weakness for Shakespeare in general, but I confess my feelings rebelled a little at the idea of a Rosalind with an iPod. It was performed by Willing Suspension Theatre, another name that really did appeal to me. The price was too high, though.Shakespeare
I have received a lot of flyers from various people performing Shakespearian comedies, notably A Midsummernight's Dream
by Humshaugh Theatre, who lay around in the high street in pastels, pretending to be asleep. I found myself thinking that I can see Shakespeare whenever I want to, and while tempted I wanted to proritise the shows that I will probably never have any chance of seeing again. I am aware that my logic is full of holes and that it is quite possible that both this and Ribcaged Theatre's Much Ado about Nothing
may be fantastic shows the like of which I will never have the chance of seeing again. But thinking like that leads down a scary road.
People attention seeking for Shakespeare on the Royal Mile
People attention seeking for something else entirely.
The Bastard Children of Australian Folk
Bastard Children of Australian Folk
These people were amazing. I walked past their sample on the High Street and was quite transfixed. If I had had money, I would probably have spontaneously bought a cd. They even looked cool. We need to get these people to the Jazz festival, where I can convince my parents to pay my ticket. And we need to introduce this type of clothing as the new fashion. Please?
One more picture for good measure.
Pluck: The Titanic Show
Pluck on the Royal Mile
Were perhaps my biggest temptation and the one hardest to overcome. If I had not already had tickets to HMS Pinafore I would have gone -- friends or no friends. I saw them perform on the High Street and they clearly knew what they were doing (except when they kicked the violin case from the stage onto a kid in a stroller, but even random violence against kids was not going to put me off these people, maybe because they were playing a can-can at the time), but their flyer -- what a flyer: "The Titanic Show is Pluck's tribute to the musicians who played on until the end. Nobody knows what filled the days of those brave few before tragedy struck... so Pluck has made it up". They also present themselves as "the only show in Edinburgh to feature a real ice berg and one massive porthole, blended with a melange of great music. And the BIGGEST PEANUT on the Fringe." Looking back, I have no idea how I resisted that. Especially when they explicitly note that Celine Dion will not
be there. If Pluck are as much fun as their flyer (and I have every reason to believe they are), I have missed something big. I am putting it down to temporary insanity. Or financial responsibility. Or both.
The marvellous flyer that stole my heart away
They also got a big star in my book when a woman standing in the street and watching the show started talking on her cell phone. "Put down the phone, lady! You are at a concert!", the man said. I think I may have applauded at that point.The Return of the Forbidden Planet
I was tempted. It claims to be a cross between Forbidden Planet
and Shakespeare's The Tempest
(Shakespeare again! He keeps cropping up) with 60s music. It appealed to the geek in me.Back to the Future: the Pantomime
The flyer states that you can get tickets 25% cheaper if you come in 80s costume (or if you are a time traveller, which, really, we all are?
I wonder whether the "I am travelling forwards in time all the time
" argument would have worked on the ticket people), but I have not sunk that low. Not yet. I am no great Pantomime fan in general, but I confess this fascinated me, almost as much as the news that Two Shades of Blue have also made a Matrix: the Pantomime
. The mind boggles. Another show from the same group promised "Free Tea and Cake", and they also appear to have a show called "Murder most improvised", the title of which I really liked; but I never got a separate flyer for that one.Sound & Fury's Cyrano
This sounded very promising. They had received excellent critiques, one of which, by some Australian newspaper, described them as "the love child of Monthy Python & Dr. Suess". While I have never heard of this Suess person (Dr. Seuss is, of course, familiar), it did sound promising. And expensive.Bouncy Castle Dracula
Why did I not go see it? Because it was bloody sold out. Damn people with taste and ability to stay up late (it was of course show at midnight). It also turns out that in my time I have missed out on such obviously wonderful things as Bouncy Castle Macbeth
and Bouncy Castle Hamlet
. For those slow on the uptake, or unfamiliar with the concept of the bouncy castle: these are classics performed on a bouncy castle aka (according to the flyer) "the world's most rubbery and inflatable stage".The Terrible Infants
The photo on their flyer struck me instantly: they had lovely make-up. Then I saw that Judi Dench was narrating, and I was half-way to the ticket-office before I stopped myself. Not because it was a childrens' show (well, partially, I am not overly fond of great masses of children in one go), but because it was oh so expensive. And because I am a coward and did not want to face all the children alone. The flyer described it as "Roald Dahl meets Tim Burton" -- I cannot help thinking that they were already soul-mates to begin with.Hero
I got handed this flier the very first day. The young man with the nice haircut claimed that if I did not like musicals, this would change my life; and since I have nothing against musicals, and I do have a weak spot for Cambridge, I resolved to try to convince my friends to go with me. It did not take much talking. One of them studied there, the other is married to the one who studied there, and someone let slip that the ADC was the breeding ground (metaphorically) for the likes of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. We all resolved to go. I thought. And then it slipped. And we fell. And life was sadness once again. And I do not have the resolve to spend £9.50 to go there alone.
The moral of today is the followingStart saving now. You do not need food. Also: get friends with a lot of spare time or enough self-confidence/energy/martial arts ability to go alone.
The Free Fringe.