Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Fringey Farewell

And so we face our final curtain.

Last performance of Bliss yesterday. I am infinitely depressed. *Sob sob*. Luckily, it may have been our last but also one of our best - we acted/ sang/ celloed/ abused our little hearts out and were rewarded with a tantalised audience. As a character who is more metaphorical than physical (or something), I get the treat of looking out into the audience at various stages in the play, to creep people out, 'break the fourth wall' and what not. You know how it is. And looking into their faces, I could tell that people were genuinely repulsed. Success! One woman was actually watching through her splayed fingers, as if we were presenting her with a grotesque horror film. I mean, I know paedophilia and miscarrying is unpleasant but come along now, woman up! I doubt I'll ever be in such a play again, such obscene theatre rarely proves to be wholly popular. Bliss is hardly a crowd-pleaser. But in a strangely disquieting way, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. What this says about me, I'm unwilling to recognise.

You'll never guess who I met yesterday. Only one of my favourite three women ever! That's right, you've guessed it - Carol Ann Duffy! Good grief, was I excited. The lovely Miss Cutting and I went to see her show, assuming that Cazza had just written the poetry for it and wouldn't actually be there, but alas! Turns out she is quite the thesp. It was a charming children's show called The Princess' Blanket, incorporating art, poetry, narrative, music and a Scotsman playing a bizarre array of medieval wooden instruments to a hilariously good standard. Laughs ahoy. I practically bent poor Hannah's ear off with my incessant twitters of apprehension and excitement over our impending one on one. After the show, I bought a poetry collection of hers (I already have most of the material but I like to consolidate) and waited in the queue for her to sign it for me, practising all the uber cool and casual ways I could tell her I loved her without sounding like a psycho. But nay, alas, at the crucial moment, my emotions got the better of me and I ended up just blurting those dangerous three words to the unsuspecting poet. She considered me, this ridiculous rosy-cheeked teenage girl in a purple tatty cardigan, and said what nobody wants to hear having just announced to someone that they love them: "thank you". Personally, I thought it was an apt response. She could have told me to fuck off, after all, and I wouldn't have been remotely surprised. We actually managed to have a relatively casual conversation after that initial verbal catastrophe and I invited her to Southampton to speak for us (FemSoc/EngSoc - the perfect combination). And she was well up for it! Hurrah! Note to self: actually attempt to prepare something sophisticated to say. I have approximately five months to do so, if all goes to plan, so I may just about manage it.

Of my favourite three I now have just one to go. If anyone knows of Emma Thompson's whereabouts, I'd be much obliged. Unfortunately I'll never have the complete set - R.I.P Virginia.

Back to Southampton at silly o' clock tomorrow. Hello another 12 hours on a mini-bus. Back to life, back to reality. Lame.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Fringing Part Two (in a Scottish accent)

This week at the fringe has been amazing; too many anecdotes to recount so general update will suffice.

Shows seen so far: 26
Of which were bad: 0
Of which were beyond brilliant: 2
Performances of Bliss completed: 5
Impending performances: 2
Mood in relation to previous statement: Not good
Bliss reviews: 2
Of which were good: 1
Number of idiotic, ignorant and philistinistic reviewers who need to learn how to spell, amongst other things: 1
Number of words in previous statement which don't exist: 1

In other news, I have finally seen some of Belt Up's offerings. Verdict: mixed. Their vision of Kafka's Metamorphosis was undeniably excellent and their inventiveness is incredible. What I do not appreciate however, is that they offer their company to mere mortals like us for the small price of £5, and then continue to ignore and patronise us with lines like "Ha! It's like they're a paying audience" followed by mocking jazz hands. You are our age and have no more talent than us, simply a bigger budget and bigger egos. Get over yourselves. The shows are undoubtedly some of the best student productions at the Fringe and secretly I'm wishing I'd gone to York university so I could have been involved in this unholy amount of success but they really need to remember who they are. Stop being douche-bags!

This is a rather rushed and incomplete blog as I am hurrying to get to a show: we're seeing Studio 54 tonight and after all I have heard, if I don't see something laugh-out-loudably shambolic, I will be most disappointed. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


So. The "seven hour" mini bus trip turned out to be heinously understated in relation to duration. We left sunny Southampton (after the gruelling few hours it took to load our already rather dishevelled buses) at approximately 9pm and 'arrived' in Edinburgh at near enough 7am. You do the math. To make matters worse/more hilarious/exhausting/anecdote-worthy, I use the term 'arrive' to denote our ridiculous entrance into Edinburgh which consisted of burning out the clutch, kangaroo hopping our way through the Scottish streets for about a mile with the horrendous stench of whatever burning out a clutch smells like, all before rolling to a halt in a parking space several yards from Costa. So I guess it could have been worse: We could have been a few yards from a (insert undesirable establishment here). For me, that would have been a Lidl.

But all is well now we're here in the Highlands! It's been absolutely amazing; the company is top notch and there's culture coming out of my arse. It's hard to shake the ominous feeling that when all this comes to a grinding halt, I will most certainly be depressed. I await that day soberly. But apart from performing that's pretty much the only sober thing about the visit so far. We have been having a whale of a time. Amongst Theatre Group, I find myself the victim of mob mentality. For example, for the first time in my life, I was actually thrown out of a club the other night. Well, the collective 'we' were thrown out which was entirely the fault of the raucous Nick Jones, but still, I was part of the tribe asked to leave and it was all very exciting.

We had our first show today and after the dreadful dress rehearsal, we weren't expecting much; we over-ran (if you do this in Edinburgh you either get thrown out of the venue prematurely or fined ten pounds per overrunning minute, so this was obviously disasterous - hypothetically we were £40 poorer ), we had silk cloth issues, we missed cues... This is what happens when you have been up causing riots at clubs the night before. As Jonny would say "bad news". But as they say, if the dress rehearsal is a flop, the opening night will be tremendous!... or something along those lines. And tremendous it was. We had an audience of about 50 which for a university production with no reviews on the first day is pretty bloody grand. And of that 50 there must have been at least 15 paying punters, so we're off to a good start! Roll on the odd days. (And of course the even - sorry Swann)

I have seen some truly excellent productions since being here. I have no idea who would read this ridiculous blog and if there would be anyone but my selective few pals, but if you are in Edinburgh and have time to see some shows, I would highly recommend the following: A Midsummer Night's Madness (sounds like total bollocks, I know - we actually just went so we could pish and tush over how our MSND was far superior, but in actual fact, it was a vibrant, eccentric and totally original piece, consisting of stunning choreography and a Greek girl who made me a touch weak at the knees. Well worth it for her alone), Carnivale (experience rather than 'play'), Fair Trade (Emma Thompson aka my favourite woman in the world, produced this. She never ceases to amaze) and The Noise Next Door (hilarious bunch of young guns doing snappy and improv comedy with audience suggestion taking the main role. Very impressive).

I anxiously await the next few days: Nile's visit, Belt-Up's various offerings, more performance and a whole lot of rejection (of the flyering variety). I'm sure I'll struggle on.