Saturday, August 31, 2013

My beloved blog.

I'm so sorry.

I've been unfaithful.

But she was so pretty.

I couldn't resist her spartan but elegant charms.

I'll not neglect you.

But I might continue this flirtation on the side.

Just to give my pretentiousness further rein than you've ever allowed.

I know you won't be able to pardon me.

But permit me?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Must say I thought this would be a pack of nonsense but in the end, I was curiously seduced.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Whatever Gets You Through The Night.

I've been itching to see this for a year. It was first on in Glasgow last year. The Arches. A perfect home for it.

A collaboration between the lady of the zeitgeist Cora Bissett and the ever magical David Grieg. 

And billed as a "music and theatre spectacular", it was always very likely to be just my cup of tea. 

And so it was. 

A delicious delightful stromash of little playlets. Shaken up with an ambitious array of musicians. Featuring two of the bands that were responsible for two fifths of the Forgive Us soundtrack, Conquering Animal Sound and Meursault. So I'm automatically predisposed. And with a couple of aerial artistes thrown in for good measure. Cassiopeia, eat your heart out. 

Tiny sections of it were not to my taste. But vast swathes of it were so fitted seamlessly to my tastes that the other slivers didn't matter one bit.

To describe it as a twenty-first century thinking man's cabaret isn't intended as a disservice. It's intended as a "wish I could do that". 

It's a lovely eclectic jumble of a show that considers survival strategies for (4:48) insomnia. Sort of.

And it's worth seeing only for the (justly much lauded) Chips and Cheese parade.

You've only got tonight left for it. 22:30 at the Queen's Hall.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A piece of theatre this afternoon called Nirbhaya.

Which means Fearless One.

The play takes its name from the nickname bestowed by the media on a girl who was raped on a bus from Munirka and died 13 days later from her injuries.

But it acts a reflection on the abysmal treatment of very many women in modern-day India in a quintessentially patriarchal society.

How can we possibly let this happen? asks extraordinary South African writer / director, Yael Farber.

But at the same time, what can we possibly do that's even halfway to being remotely adequate to address a state of being that is as integral to Indian society as the caste system?

It's a stunning production that feels far bigger than its relatively compact cast would suggest. I guess, like Ballad of the Burning Star, if the idea is big enough, the practical constraints of a fringe show become incidental. A springboard rather than a straitjacket.

In the end, I think Farber is suggesting that the best we can do is to be fearless. To speak out about injustice where and when we can.

And what a stupendous, audacious, admirable vehicle she's created for that message.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hah. 18.
The moment of truth.

Do these 23 disparate people who auditioned over 4 different dates actually sound alright when they read the script together?

I say - these 23.

I mean - those of the 23 who, due to various fortunate circumstances, are actually able to attend tonight.

These 19 disparate people, then. Not accounting for known latecomers.

And so it begins.
Today, I have nothing.

No show.

A script, for sure.
Some people that've said yes to doing it.

But no music.
No lights or set.
No SFX. 
No knives. Or other weapons of small scale destruction.
Nothing for anyone to wear. 
Nowhere for anyone to stand. 
And nothing for anyone to stand on.
Beyond a bare theatre stage for one week at the end of November.

Tomorrow. (Today, now, technically.) It begins.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This is lovely.

This not so much.

This a visceral treat.

My first JC nightmare on Sunday night.

I was back in the hall at my secondary school. A long hall with a medium sized rudimentary stage and a balcony for additional viewing delectation.

It was the first read through. Except for reasons not wholly clear, it was a walk-through. And a musical.

The opening number. This at least I had "choreographed". "Go!" I cried. And 23 people poured onto the medium sized stage. The stage considerately extended as the people flowed on and on. 

They stopped. All faces turned to me. 

23 faces.

"What next, Claire?" they asked, mutely.

I caught Jonathan McGarrity's eye. (Not in it.) He winked. As if to say yup, this'll be a waking nightmare. Good luck.

"Ok, let's begin at the beginning," I said smartly. "Scene 1 people please."

Everyone else drifted off the stage.

The four people in scene 1 were left looking at each other. (Accurate. Scene 1 does contain four people.)

I waited for them to start.

Heather (not in it) turned to me. "So where should we stand, Claire?"

I woke in a wild panic.

And so it begins.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A week on and Ballad of the Burning Star is still at the top of my list.

Now closely followed by The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, for the production as much as the explicitly stated part-fictional script. 

I loved Grid Iron's Leaving Planet Earth for scale, execution and audacity. 

The Shawshank Redemption at Assembly Rooms is flashy, celebrity-laden but none the worse for that. And boasts a soundscape I'm still fantasising about.

DG's Agnes of God is definitely up there. But if you haven't seen it yet, your loss as it's done.

And The Dumb Waiter at the New Town Theatre is, very final seconds notwithstanding (and thanks to Mr Critic for explaining it to me), a polished to perfection Pinterish treat. 

I also enjoyed this week one of the worst and most poorestly executed pieces of theatre I've seen for a long long time. But no need to draw attention to that. 

Happy Fringe-ing.

Friday, August 09, 2013

I'm getting increasingly embarrassed by how nice venue press people are being to me in my capacity (which continues to feel vaguely fraudulent).

As if lavishing free press releases and (oh these were the days as I'm reviewing nothing at the Traverse this year) scripts on me were not enough, this year, I'm being treated to extensive expansive (sales) pitches for venues and shows and this life, this other heady life of doing this peculiarly exhilarating milarkey full time.

Three days ago, I was wooed by a publicist in Fringe Central who did a superb seduction job on me, hauled the director of her shipped over from South Africa astonishing theatre piece across the hall to woo me too, subsequently sent me a comp for the show (heartbreakingly, this girl had her day job to tend to) and therein, neatly guaranteed that I would voluntarily seek out The System at 10:30am at Just The Tonic at The Caves.

Last night, the piece de resistance. Free drinks. I have never, in all my born days, accepted a free thing (scripts aside!) as a consequence of reviewing. Well, who would want to bribe me??

But, anti-bribery legislation quiz completed on account of my day job (which took three attempts for me to complete successfully) tapping at the door to my conscience, I took the (obligatory plastic cup of) chilled white wine as we loitered in the Tennessee Williams slightly steamy night air - and enjoyed it. The show was half an hour ("two minutes", said the publicist) late starting after all.

Trotted in to see the show after twenty minutes of wishing I was you (me, not her) from the extremely cool publicist and found myself 85 times more predisposed toward the show than I had been before She started work on me.

Who knew my integrity was so easily bought?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I don't want to tell you anything about The Ballad of the Burning Star.

But you should go and see it. (Pleasance Dome, every day, 17:15.)

A company called Theatre AdInfinitum created it. I've been stalking them since bumping into their Translunar Paradise last Fringe. It proved to be one of the most gorgeous pieces of (physical) theatre I've ever seen. Think the first ten minutes of Up turned into a full length real life piece of theatre with live music and you'll be something close to its loveliness.

I saw it. I cried. I was hooked.

So I've been hanging off the emails they've been sending me since then trailing their new show. The proposed plot sounded a little alarming - but having seen it, I can see how they might struggle to write 40 remotely encapsulating words for the fringe programme entry. To say it defies description is lazy talk.

But it's not strictly dance. Definitely not musical. Partly a play - but they move around considerably more than you might see in a play. Partly physical theatre - but they speak. Partly live music show but with bundles else on top of that.

It's witty, very very pretty, feisty, funky, pert, pointed, political, punchy, compassionate, complex, powerful, historical, all about now, human, heart-rending and horrific. All in one. Brilliantly done.

All that you'd hope for from a Fringe show. Please go see.

For audacity, creativity and wonderment alone, they deserve to sell out.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

First Trav show of the fringe last night. And it was a perfect embodiment of the show-going relationship of myself and Mr Neill.

The final show moments.

I'm marvelling that a person (David Greig) can write like that.

I'm riddled with jealousy at the brave bold topical audacity and the compassion and comprehension and absence of an easy answer (The Events).

I'm wanting to be him (David Grieg, not Boy) very badly.

And I'm sufficiently swept up in the story that I don't even care if the assembled company see me wiping tears off my face.

But as the lights dim for the blackout, I see.....

B S how much of my life has been wasted on this self-indulgent pontificating nonsense Neill checking his watch.

Clearly why we get on so well.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The fringe the fringe has rolled around again. And this time, I'm (shock) foot loose and show free.

I'm not wholly sure that I like it. The show free less bit of it. (No, wait. I can absolutely categorically say that I don't like it. One bit. Don't do it again.) But I'm trying to think instead of how lucky I am to have so much time to dawdle today when I could be in the midst of my tech (whom'I kidding? Jealous as a cat).

I'd obviously far rather spend the morning ankle deep in paper trying to figure out a read through date that 23 people can simultaneously attend.

But it does have the advantage of creating a little more headspace to procure desirable tickets ("That? Oh ho yes, that's a really good one" said the boy in the Trav box office. "And what about Grounded?" I asked, eager for affirmation by proxy. "That's had really great reviews too." *smug*) and apply a degree of thought to my reviews but yet still shun emails that friends sent two months ago with kind and proactive suggestions of outings that cmf might find fun.

I'm also eerily aware that though the whole glorious jamboree of the fringe is currently unfurled in front of me, give it three weeks and it's time for JC.

So enjoy the calm, cmf, may our shiny happy (bit*hes) fringe casts break loads of legs and shake yourself down for the storm which is lurking just around the corner.