Just back from Edinburgh, where I saw 20 shows in 5 days. OK, 19. We were 2 minutes late for one, and missed out. Two of the shows were at the Book Festival, one at the International Festival, and the rest on the Fringe. I also gave a reading at the Fruitmarket Gallery with some friends.
This was the view from our B&B.
Yep, that’s Arthur’s Seat, which we summarily failed to climb despite plans for a 7am ascent.
I’ve been coming to Edinburgh every August for about six years (including one year to produce a play) and it’s always thrilling to experience the organised mayhem of the festivals. The city throngs with tourists from all over the world, students flyering for shows with increasingly desperate promises of “five star reviews” and “it’s actually quite funny”, producers and arts types with their fancy lanyards, performers in various stages of costuming rushing from sweaty basement venues. I love it.
This year Sarah and I sat through over 24 hours of theatre and as ever it was a real hotchpotch of the good, the great, the inspiring and the ill-conceived. We enjoyed plays about growing old and aerial displays that captured the fragility and absurdity of human experience. We experienced total darkness as well as total tedium. Political theatre seems to be having something of a resurgence: from police brutality to an independent East Anglia; from tax evasion to the Quebec liberation movement. Each piece made its own way through these, and other ideas, and the best were those able to create a personal, visceral experience that felt embodied in the space of the theatre. The least effective plays were those that presented a doctrinal attitude, rather than being open-ended, complicated or deliciously ambiguous.
Anyway, here are my top five shows (listed in alphabetical order):
Edinburgh International Festival
theSpace on the Mile
* I declare a bias here: I am Luke’s editor and will be publishing this play in Feb. Still, it’s bloody good.
I’ve just returned from a four-day trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Fifteen shows, over twenty-five hours of performance. A real mix of the very good, the very bad and the ugly.
My top three shows
1. Thin Ice @ Pleasance Courtyard (Shams)
2. Machines for Living @ Zoo (Let Slip)
3. Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke @ Pleasance (Ross Sutherland / Show + Tell)
2008: Macbeth @ Edinburgh International Festival (TR Warszawa)
I was tweeting throughout @thisisyogic and you can follow my trip below.
I’m just back from a four-day trip to Edinburgh where I saw a whopping sixteen shows, including the fantastic, surreal office farce Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl (pictured above).
In customary Fringe style, I am reviewing my shows using a complex star-rating system, out of five.
Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl (Barrow Street Theatre) – 5 yogics
I’m No Hero (Tangere Arts) – 3 yogics
Jonathan Storey, Jack Pratchard – 3 yogics
En Route – 4 yogics
The Harbour (Limbik) – 3 1/2 yogics
Daniel Kitson, It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later – 5 yogics
The Monks of Tashi Lhunpo, The Power of Compassion – 5 yogics
Hannah Walker, This is Just to Say – 4 yogics
Molly Naylor, Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of You – 3 yogics
Ross Sutherland, The Three Stigmata of Pacman – 4 1/2 yogics
Tim Clare, Death Drive – 4 yogics
Blackout (Thickskin) – 3 1/2 yogics
Operation Greenfield (Little Bulb) – 4 1/2 yogics
John-Luke Roberts Distracts You From a Murder – 4 1/2 yogics
John Robins, Nomadic Revery – 4 yogics
Invisible Dot by the Sea – 4 yogics
But I might change my mind later.
Also, I am announcing some special awards.
This is Yogic Award for the Longest Journey to Get to the Venue
Invisible Dot by the Sea (the clue’s in the title)
This is Yogic Award for Most Sickeningly Talented Youngsters
This is Yogic Award for Best Former University Tutorial Partner
This is Yogic Award for Most Dazzlingly Ingenious Set Design
Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl
This is Yogic Award for Best Use of Wellington Boots