Thursday, August 30, 2012

I know I said I'd done nothing all week.

(Did it again tonight. And I didn't even make the gym! What a slobacious slob.)

But that's not exactly true.

I may have just submitted a proposal for next year's show to my illustrious theatre group.

And so it begins.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My goodness.

How easy life is when all you have to do is get up and go to work.

Come home.

Via the gym.

Cook tea.

Eat tea.


Go to bed.

Sweet indolence.

I'll obviously be bored by Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I received the email above a week or so ago (look closely, very closely). I experienced surprise when I opened it. I'm rarely subject to such scrutiny from such established arts organisations. But perhaps word of our Fringe greatness had reached them.

Nope. Just a database error.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wow. I reviewed 18 shows.

That's 3,600 words.

I haven't quite kept track of what he did and didn't print. (Liar.)

But I'm pretty sure he didn't print this one. So I've pasted it in here for your delectation.

My least favourite show of the Fringe. The show where the girl took her pants off. Well, not quite off as she stood for most of the show with them stretched between her calves.

Of course it's possible that I'm just not intellectual enough to understand the depths of the presentation.

But if that is the case, I'm happy to settle for my well-known state of ignoramusness.



12 - 26 August, 5:45pm

Amusements is an ambitious show; an exploration of the nature of pleasure in an over-indulged and so arguably desensitised twenty-first century society. So far, so interesting. The production promises an immersive experience delivered to the audience through headphones. Also interesting. But all of this promise sadly didn’t quite deliver.

The production begins with a spare set, strewn with a few tantalising props. A piece of grass, a pair of high heeled shoes. Lights up on an extremely pretty blonde girl, Lara Solana Arana, in a red dress cradling a microphone. And she commences a discourse - to the accompaniment of an incredibly carefully crafted soundscape including some pre-recorded text from Sleepwalk Collective - on the sensory highlights of her life to date.

As an example of theatre that reaches out and tries to involve you, the audience, directly in the production, this show could be worth seeking out.

But as a show, this production is hampered by an absence of a coherent narrative: instead, we have a theme. Arana speculates as to whether nature or sex offers the greater gratification. By the end of the piece, I didn’t much care.

A bank holiday!

(I think. Though I keep expecting work to 'phone asking where I am.)

I hardly know what to do with this unexpected window of opportunity.

So I thought I might go see some shows.

You know, while I still can.


Friday, August 24, 2012

This makes me happy too. Thanks for printing it, Liam.

My favourite show (ours aside of course) so far this Fringe.
This was so unexpected that only Gavin and our GM were there in time to collect it.

Siobhan made a speech on our behalf.

Thanks, Siobs!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I have a sneaky secret lurking love for Russian physical theatre. Lord knows why. I suppose it must be the closet Anna Karenina.

So as DG emerged from a travesty of a Festen somewhere on the bridges, I disappeared into the dank bowels of Assembly Roxy with milliseconds to spare to watch a man who appears to have been practicing his peculiar form of art with the same whole-hearted intent and flexible fervour that he demonstrated when I first moved to this land - gulp - sixteen years ago.

Mephisto's Waltz.


Of course, it was utterly impenetrable. There were five of them, all bald and dressed in black. Our hero man and four younger acolytes.

They ran to and fro across the stage, sometimes carrying things. Sometimes they crawled. Sometimes they clambered up bits of the scenery.

After a while, our man changed into some pale coloured rags full of holes. The girls poured some mud on him. Then some pink paint. He rolled around on the floor for quite a while.

Then he put a hat on his head that looked like a bird's nest. One of the girls dressed up as a desiccated chicken. In stilettos.

The man brought on a small globe that looked like the world, sat on it, smashed it. And - o! - it was a watermelon. He ate it. And smeared what he could not manage or did not fancy all over the floor.

He changed back into a dark dress, stood near the front of the stage, smiled at us. Having thought I was going to vomit when he persisted in chomping on dry sticks some moments earlier, I soundly found him strangely desirable. O woman, how fickle you are!

The acolytes ran around some more in their long dark dresses.

Then they all disappeared. Lots of smoke. Pretty pink lights on the left-over watermelon. Though the acolytes had tried their best to clear it up. And then they all came on with sunflowers.

The couple in front of me kept laughing uproariously. I thought I was just utterly missing the point. Or the symbolism. Or something. Then they walked out after approx twenty minutes.

Having said that, the people on the front row laughed and chortled all the way through it. So maybe my sense of humour just isn't sophisticated enough. Or Russian enough.

Anyway, perplexity aside, there is no doubting the beauty of the piece. The lighting was quite exquisite. The physicality breathtaking.

Heartening to think that if I suddenly become mute (and acquire the grace of a dancer), I could carve out a career in physical theatre. I'd just dress as a chicken in stilettos.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Because I suffer continually from a surfeit of sentimentality, regular readers (all two of you) will be familiar with a usual post-show nostalgic recollection of show things I most particularly loved.

But this show is a funny one. The Monday afterwards is always the saddest. Back to school. Majorly nothing nice will ever happen again. Tuesday slopes around and you miss your regular rehearsal and swap nostalgic emails with your newly bags of time (ex) cast. Maybe on Wednesday, you text someone a line or two that pops into your head that you (sniff) won't hear again. By Thursday, you're settling into life post-show, having time back, doing normal things like mid-week cinema visits rather than hunched over folders under fluorescent light in a ramshackle rehearsal room.

But this time, all the sharply sweet pleasure of the nostalgia. Confused somewhat by the fact that we still have two weeks THAT'S TWO WEEKS of not just EIF things as the good Fringey stuff is usually all sold out by week 3 but an abundance of a fortnight of a Fringe. I still had a handful of Things to review which kept me busy last week. Along with a few play things. And now I'm trying to juggle EIF with Fringe with two weekend days remaining. It still takes some organising. And anyway, then, in the midst of that, the weekend just gone and the - o! - we'd've had our last night party tonight if we were on in week 2. So nostalgia all over again. Lower level nostalgia again as we limp through this week. Somewhat alleviated by stunning theatre distractions. And I still haven't had time to properly pick pluck over what I loved about our show.

So list it then.


Friday nights in the pub.

Most of all, Friday nights in the pub.

Chips and cheese.

Resetting the furniture part-way-through each run through at a frenzied flying pace as if no-one would notice that we were terribly interrupting the action.


Ill-fitting shoes.

The Aviemore leather jackets.

An ever-expanding props list.

Cath bringing chocolate cake to a rehearsal.

Emma bringing highland biscuits to a rehearsal.

The Chains.

The shorts.

Johnny living off biscuits and biscuits and biscuits.

Me ranting and ringing my hands.

Emma soothing.

And nagging by text.

Patrick guzzling up the chocolate milk.

The discarded cigarettes every other night when Johnny's fiddling had rendered them un-re-usable.

Me nagging my poor father about a particular pharmacists' plastic bag.

When we have a doctor in the cast.

Cartons of wine.

Heather trying to tell me she's engaged and I'm just panicking that we're starting a rehearsal at 7:31.

Tennent's Super. x4 cans.

The Pear Tree - to the point where I almost tweeted a photo when I was forced into that same place, just adjacent to Our Seats last Friday night WITHOUT my cast as it was wrong so wrong being there without them.

Johnny mouthing whole swathes of Dad's speeches. Convenient understudy.

The Secret Rapture jumper, recycled and placed on a boy who was too long for it.

The shorts.


Siobhan raiding houses for E45. And discarded child paraphernalia.

The eternal (mostly eternal) good manners of the cast.

The beautiful photos, courtesy of Julia and Jon.

And of my little sister, aged 7. ("Has anyone said anything about my photo yet?" "Yes, little sister, they're all saying it's the best thing in it.")

The script.

My limp courtship of Paul Higgins that failed to find fulfilment.

"I like ch(u)ps."

"No, just a glass of milk."

"My god, you'll get arrested."


"Well, don't fucking interrupt me then. I don't have time. Forgive my language. It's terrible."

"...running, salad for lunch
(hunchy walk), drinking fucking water in the bar."

Cath and the candle on the black black stage in scene 4.

"You were such a little stick."

Father Borghese.


"How do you know you're not bumping against the glass?"

"It was awful cold."

"..and make the.......fucking........sausages??"

And Patrick's eyes blinking back at her in shock.

Heather murmuring the lines backstage.

Our matching T-shirts.

Everyone's favourite coffin.

The night they forgot to move the candle. And moved the coffin.

The night Patrick's jacket zip got stuck.

Every forgotten fudged and fluffed word. Because it made Ste and I chortle squirm.

Every vulgar rogue fu***ng that snuck into the script as the week progressed. Just don't tell Paul Higgins.

The night Emma burst onto the stage in the dark black between the scenes.

The teddy hug.

Pressed apple juice.

Filling and refilling and emptying and refilling increasingly battered cans.

The night the intercom delivered "don't tell Claire but" silence. And the whole rest of the performance before I could discover the what.

The shorts.

Chips and cheese.

Our hashtag (thanks, Emma).

The sun terrace at the Royal Scots Club.

And our pre-show pallid (poor Mum) torpor.

Pinot Grigio Blush.

Scattered moments from the word the cast came to dread. Two words really. The Exercises.

Patrick apologising to the priests for leaving early.

Cath telling her little sister why she missed her.

Dad hugging Mum when she told him she was pregnant. The First Time.

Johnny breaking up with Rosemary. For all the wrong reasons.

Dad telling Mum her cat was dead. (Heartless.)

The mean post-it notes about Dad, early on, when they all realised he was a monster.

The deeply thought through graphs charting the character's mounting (or waning) (or dead) rage as the play progressed.

Mum sobbing her heart out when she was told that Ruth was dead. Proper hairs on the back of your neck moment.

All the people that cried, scripted, in secret or otherwise. For you made it what it turned out to be.

And last but by no means of all least,

the first five lines of Paul Anka's My Way,

(clap Johnny on the shoulder. Johnny jumps. And cue the evillest look I've ever seen)

delivered as if by Keats.

If Keats was doing karaoke.

#ForgiveUs cast and crew. You've been a delight.

Thank you for every minute.
If you're a fan of brilliant theatre, exquisitely acted, considerately directed, conscientiously composed and beautifully set, you could do a whole lot worse than Guillermo Calderon's / Teatro Playa's double bill: Villa + Discurso.

For two nights only. And one of them is gone already.

I'll be interested to see what Mark and Joyce and Lyn make of it. For they were all there (The Hub) last night.

And I'd be lying if I said I stayed entirely awake for all of it.

(Hence, my interest in the critical opinion.)

But theatre just as it should be, to my mind.

Knowingly, the couple next to me (and therein lies another story) said, as the clapping drained slowly away for the final piece, Discurso, "you'll be wanting to direct that next, then?"

Just need to find a translation first. I don't think my Spanish is quite up to it yet.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Well, you'll all be glad to know I'm not dead - as B S Neill appeared to have feared.

Only just Fringe-ing.

Thursday, I enjoyed Love Letters to a Public Transport System from the National Theatre of Scotland. An extremely sweet little show.

Friday, Mess at the Traverse. Which was bursting with energy and good intentions but not entirely satisfying for this viewer at least.

Yesterday, I squished in a documentary on the 36 hours predeeding a Karl Lagerfeld catwalk show that was great fun. The Trav Davids' Double Bill (Letter of Last Resort / Good With People). Both very nicely done and I commend the thematic link. And the extremely pretty boy in the latter play. And finally, Smetana's Ma Vlast which was all very lovely though I was rather expecting Borodin instead.

Today, a mere two shows. NOLA at the Underbelly. Worthy in intent and very competently presented, I probably can't really comment on much more than that as I carelessly napped through a lot of it. (I was NOT reviewing it, you'll be glad to hear.) The second show, I was reviewing. My final review show, in fact. And what a show. You'll have to await the paper...

But if you happened to - say - have only a day left in Edinburgh before you set sail for the land on the other side of the Channel - if that happened to be your circumstance - I would commend my two far and away favourites to date:

The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart
Translunar Paradise

As well as a couple of close but not quite cigar-worthy pieces of theatre:

Glory Dazed
Bitch Boxer

Enjoy. If that happens to be your circumstance.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I spied this in today's Scotsman.

I wish they'd given Dad the gig.
Show detritus, only partially tidied, is scattered about my flat.

Cath's (my) shapeless funeral dress is washed at least and hanging to dry on the back of a door.

A glass bottle of IRN-BRU (empty) on the kitchen sideboard. I fantasise that I'll return it to collect the 30p.

Coats (Mum and Cath's) now returned to the coat (and everything else) cupboard.

The good quality Glen's Vodka bottle has gone to be recycled.

A sheet lies in the middle of the living room floor. Obviously I should wash it.

Cath's (my) baggy shapeless black jumper has made it as far as the washing basket.

Coathangers. Inexplicably all over the place.

Johnny's too tight Topshop sweatshirt jacket is hanging drying from my wardrobe.

A tiny bag of screws on the ironing board (obviously I'm not using this) leftover from the mantling and dis of the turned out to be useless (except to the war poetry boys) but painstaking wardrobe rail.

A pair of barely black tights (unused) on the dining table, a discarded relic from Mum. I'm saving them for a special occasion.

And so another show goes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

That thing where you're waiting and waiting looking forward to and impossibly excited about an event.

Say an event that lasted six days.

And say those days happened to be the 6th to the 11th August.

And then you wake up one morning and it's the 12th.

Worse still, the day after that is not only the 13th but it's a Monday and you have to go to work and normal service must resume.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

10:30pm on Sunday night and I've just served up the first meal I've cooked for my poor Father since last Sunday night.

Obviously we won't be sitting round the table to chat civilisedly.

I'm hunched over the laptop, writing up reviews.

He's laid out in front of the Closing Ceremony.

Such a good hostess.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

And our final small but I might venture to say perfectly formed show is looming alarmingly quickly.

1.5 hours as Ms Sliver (sorry) might say.

Cast and crew, you have all done me proud.

Rest assured, I miss you all enormously already.

Thank you.
My annual week of living like a savage rolls to a close.

I hadn't thought much of my ramshackle hand to mouth behaviour as the bread crumbs lay thick on the kitchen counter, nothing with any nutritional value filled the fridge and the nest of dirty discarded clothes rose ceiling-wards in my bedroom. But as I ran out to the gym with no minutes to spare this morning, my dad said - with, I detected a touch of weariness - "is that you off for the day again..?" I was able to inform him cheerfully that no, great news, he'd get a whole other 45 minutes with me after my gym class before I set sail for the day's shows.

It occurred to me that this week, he has seen me only hunched over my laptop bashing out 200 words a pop to cover my various reviewed shows either very early in the morning or very late at night. Running to and fro up and down my flat for twenty minutes gathering possessions necessary for three shows to review and a night's performance. And then sat taut as a meerkat at the sound desk craning my neck to see how many tears are shed and straining my ears to hear how many additional words of lewdity are popped into the script by my over-enthusiastic cast.

An exquisite hostess.

So I washed up this morning. It eased my conscience.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Very very proud.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Ironically, while my back was metaphorically turned at the tech - which was as much frantic fun as it always is though we had three times as much time as I've had for the past three years of Fringe shows - the cast turned in an absolutely storming performance.

Helped by the set which looks suitably skanky, the sluggish or non-existent sound effects thanks to yours truly, some rather fine lighting, some well-chosen garments (vest..? housecoat...?) and some excellent stage managing courtesy of Heather (loving the power of the being able to hear what's happening backstage headphones!) and Emma, the being in the venue seemed to give the cast the extra little nudge to persuade them that - hmmm, yes, this time tomorrow they'll be almost about to do a show.

And for the most part, they did it extremely excellently.

They have one extremely proud director on their hands.
What a weekend.

Gym. Haircut. Town. Panic buy shoes for Patrick. Cheap aqueous cream for Cath. Underbelly to see a show. Fringe Central to collect some tickets. Home to put soundtrack on a CD. Home Street. Load van. BP. Load van. GM's house. Don't load van. Venue. Unload van. Home. Panic props work. Try and convince myself to write a review. Dither over star rating. Bed.

Up. Venue. Six hours of panic. Pub. Lunch. Home. Panic music work as the soundtrack sounded as if it were underwater. Cook tea for my poor dad / lighting director as I got off lightly - he has a twelve hour tech and is still at the venue. Panic that I've forgotten something. And now I'm en route to the Traverse to see another show.

Well, to emulate the peculiar double negative that Mum is saddled with in the script, you can't argue that it hasn't been productive.
An email from Cari The Beautiful titled 26.5 hours to go....

Saturday, August 04, 2012

This was last night.

Amongst other delights.

You shall have to buy the paper on Monday for my verdict.

400 words submitted before breakfast and now the day may begin.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bit lazy but:

a) facebook was v unusually and obligingly quick with its pics upload tonight

b) and besides, anyone looking at this is likely to have seen these on fb already so...

Proper publicity shots in all their glory courtesy of Julia Oh  may be found here

Thanks, Julia. You're a star!

Oh, look.

Thanks, neilbabytiger.
Is the "final" rehearsal worse (more of a cause for concern) than the actual opening night, I wonder?

This was last night. Same shabby rehearsal rooms (though we're grateful!). Same not quite perfect (but getting there!) collection of props and costume. Same utterly unatmospheric fluorescent lighting beating down on the pretties as they struggled and strove to remember their lines, stand in the right sort of place and convey some vestige of emotion in the midst of all the cerebral effort.

The only difference last night was that More People were sat in the "audience", i.e. the row of seats pushed as far back against the opposite wall as is physically possible given the parameters of the room. Stage Manager, Lighting Director, Lighting Assistant, Assistant Director (operating the sound - thanks!), General Manager. And me.

At this point, we must decide whether we convene more panic rehearsals between now and showtime. A small matter of ninety six hours or thereabouts. Or whether we let them fly free and fend for themselves.

As luck would have it, they turned in an absolutely cracking performance that did the script almost perfect justice. And you wouldn't want a dress to be absolutely perfect. For they need to peak on Monday.

So, pretties, move in on Saturday, tech on Sunday and then it's over to you. And you'll be dandy. S'good.