It’s been a while since I felt I had anything news-worthy to document, but I have just come home from Edinburgh Fringe Festival – a new landmark for my theatre company, and a unique personal experience.
It was my – and our – first time at Edinburgh. We went to the Brighton Fringe earlier this Summer, but the atmosphere was very different there.
I don’t know where to begin in relaying the events and the feelings of the Fringe, but I’ll start with this: we got very lucky! We had an incredible team of people working on the show who all managed to not only perform a musical every day for fourteen days, but also to live together for that whole time, and to sell the shit out of the show on the Royal Mile in the hours before each show. This was something we expected to have to do, but not to enjoy doing. We had so much fun getting creative and individual in our approaches on the Mile that it only served our enthusiasm and energy leading into the show each day. The Mile was definitely as much fun as performing the show was, which is fantastic to say, given that before we arrived, we saw it as a daunting chore that was necessary to get more than one audience member in the room.
I’ll leave the rest of the company talk for that blog. Suffice to say, for now, that we had a great time.
Personally I saw Edinburgh as a working holiday. Any performance I got to watch was a bonus, performing and marketing was a priority. However, we settled into a group routine fairly early, and it was a wonderful break from reality. Mornings were comfortable, making-up and warming-up was communal, and evenings were free and chilled. People would mill in and out of the shared apartment asking each other’s daily plans and tagging along in a pic-n-mix style. We all ate together each night. We shared stories and laughs and skills. We learned little bits about each other. We got emotional. We got drunk. We all lost our voices. We made faithful use of our homemade ‘survival kit’ gifted to us by the friend who couldn’t come along.
I saw a lot of free comedy, most of which was terrible, some was alright, and some quite good. I saw a couple of dance/physical theatre pieces, both of which were completely my cup of tea and very accomplished and beautiful. I went to an immersive piece set in a séance which had even me, a supposed immersive-theatre-maker, fooled for a while. That, I really enjoyed. I saw a couple of shows I couldn’t pick out much positive criticism from at all – a few things that made me question the process of a show getting to the Fringe. I saw Scroobius Pip do some spoken word, with (spoiler alert) a rendition of the Duck Tales theme tune that will now never leave our god damn minds. I saw some amazing ‘geekbox’ing by Shlomo. I saw a feminist adaptation of a classic Greek tale. I saw an all-female Titus Andronicus.
I couldn’t have asked for more. I can’t wait to go again.