So here we are again, back in the copse of culture that is the Scottish capital. I so sorely missed the frivolous and giddy lifestyle that I lived for all of three glorious weeks last August: my return is sweet and I feel as though I have flown the nest but arrived resolutely back home. The disinfected gummy smell of Cowgate, our trusty hostel, submerged me with dormant memories on entering but I have had little time to reflect, fresh mental entries attempting to lay claim to the Edinburgh-shaped cavity in my mind. In Edinburgh I long to be a writer, a director, an actor, a playwright, a producer, a poet, a comedian, a mime, an artist, a star. And for a few brief moments (seventeen performances to be exact, plus the minutes I find myself mid-shmooze), I am able to almost replicate such an existence, the Fringe nonexclusive to amateur fantasizers. For this I owe it everything.
The play officially began its run yesterday: it went tremendously. After a somewhat jolted start – our dress rehearsal the previous day was going swimmingly until a freak health and safety check at the venue forced us into a pregnant pause which lasted a good ten minutes – the cast have found their theatrical feet once more and make me prouder than a new mum. Well, maybe not that much but so proud it makes me inarticulately swear under my breath in an outward pant of “fuuuuuuuck me”. Luckily there were several seats between myself and our underage audience, to whom I merely offered an excitable grin. It was returned. Sixteen punters witnessed the popping of our festival cherry, the number decreasing to twelve after a wailing child and her entourage fled just twenty minutes in. She was definitely too young to see our “suitable for all ages” spectacle. Oops. I think it was the moment where Sophia emits a skin-crawling shriek at being swallowed by a cursed dress that pushed her over the edge, unsurprisingly. During the manic get-in where we have to set up our entire show in a meagre and ungenerous five minutes, Emma, our lovely producer, rushed over to tell me that we were to expect a reviewer. Our first nerve-wrecking, knee-trembling show. Yikes, was I shitting a proverbial brick. In the moments I wasn’t in rapture at our sensational tales – if I do say so myself – I was intently staring at the side of the guy’ head, willing him to laugh and smile and think to himself “this is excellent”. And laugh and smile and think to himself “this is excellent” he did! The latter was confirmed post-play when he shared such sentiments with myself and Emma, to our utter glee. Of course, he may have been lying and could have hated it, his hoots of laughter actually derisive and mocking. But I shall remain optimistic. A positive three star review from the renowned Three Weeks would go down an absolute treat right about now. Baited breath and all that.
The Fringe is in full swing finally and in only two days I have seen something astonishing and something atrocious. Ah, the ups and downs! I love it. The something astonishing was A Clockwork Orange at C +1, a fleshy and indigestible horror show that appalled me beyond repair. My jaw remained on the floor as I watched a smutty sensual homosexual banquet of limbs, sweat and wide eyes, all to a soundtrack of twenty-first century indie anthems. It was flawless. I'd have given it 5* even before they all took their shirts off. In light of such a terrific performance, we stuck around to see the same troupe's production of Titus Andronicus. Our expectations were high, to say the least and they certainly didn't let us down. The only thing that did however was the slightly embarrassing dagger incident that occurred twenty minutes before the end when the misplaced implement accidentally stabbed its possessor and we were all evacuated to let in a crew of paramedics. What a faux pas. The atrocious was Pleasance Dome's Fresher: The Musical, a clichéd and vapid account of first year university life. Being a fresher just a year ago I expected the script to be rammed with in-jokes that I would relate to and would cringe to collectively with my peers, but no such jokes occurred. All I was presented with were unbelievably two-dimensional characters and uninteresting tunes which I cannot now remember a single one of. Perhaps my personal fresher experience was anomalous but, as Holden Caulfield would say, I found the whole thing horribly corny. It killed me, it did.
(cont. 7.8.11) The next few days see us meandering to shows including Some Small Love Story at C Eca (tissues at the ready), Potted Potter, Scary Gorgeous (cannot wait) and I'll probably attempt to see Titus again - I know how it ends but I hate to leave a show unfinished. As for the Grinburrell crew, it's our fourth show today. Wish us luck!