I’m back from the Edinburgh Fringe. And again it felt like I wandered off the train at Waverley, got sucked into a heaving vortex of blurry eyes, comedy gold dust, and draft beer, before touching down on the same platform, an indetermined number of days later, feeling most confused and wearing damp socks.
Fortunately I took some notes while I was there, so can comment on some of the things that happened.
Days in Edinburgh: 10
Days in which it rained: All of them
Shows performed in: 17
Shows watched: 20
Smoothies ingested: 7
Beers drank: Many
Rap battles fought: 3
Cabaret performances: 2
Trips up Arthur’s Seat: 0
5 Highlight Shows:
1. Pajama Men: Inexplicable, highly physical absurdist comedy. Just go.
2. Shamblehouse: Former Penny Dread David Reed’s haunting and hilarious solo show.
3. Lady Cariad’s Characters: Consummately acted dark and twisted character comedy.
4. Horne Section: Big band, big tent, rotating guests, a spinning wheel, plenty of laughs.
5. Mirazozo: Not a show so much as a big inflatable tent with trippy colours seeping in. Ideal Edfringe downtime (if you can handle relaxing while kids are having fun nearby).
Though our grip loosened over time, we started the week with the best of intentions and activities. This included morning writing sessions, followed by porridge, and finishing with some character exercises before we set off flyering.
Evenings consisted of some homemade meals. Including an amazing vegetarian chili (with yams), bangers and mash with red onion jus, and chicken breast with tomato/pesto sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans. We also recorded some freestyles, a podcast, and Dave and Rob even made a sketch comedy video.
However, it wasn’t long before we slid down from Lords of the Manor to Lords of the Flies. Nobody’s glasses got smashed, and we didn’t kill anyone in a ritual frenzy, but we did go to bed pretty late. And slaughter a pig.
Rhyming straight off the top
Our flyering tactic was simple: Rob on ukelele and me and Dave freestyling about people in the street. It worked pretty well. And with this chorus, of course it would:
Come and see a show from these three guys/
An hour of stuff, all improvised/
On Hanover Street, at the Jekyll & Hyde/
Step inside, blow your minds, at 1:45/
We also did two cabaret shows. One with our friends from Music Box at C soco. And the other at Electric Circus with Eleanor Conway. As we sometimes do, we finished each set with a rap battle. At the Music Box Cabaret Dave was William Shakespeare and I was the other famous Will, William Shatner. I was thoroughly trounced.
I got my own back the next outing. Dave was Gandhi, and I was Hitler. With some cutting remarks and off-colour threats I was clearly victorious. Unfortunately when Hitler wins, nobody cheers.
So far, Marbles has not been reviewed, but a decent review of Roman Around came out in Three Weeks yesterday. I think I know which show the reviewer saw, as I remember one show dragging quite a bit. If that wasn’t the show that she saw, then there’s a bigger problem.
I really would’ve liked to see what a reviewer would make of Marbles, but there will be time for that.
We did 8 shows in the basement of a gothic pub, in what could generously be called ‘a venue entirely and completely unsuited to the performance at hand’. Fortunately we managed to make it work, utilizing the high banisters, horseshoe-shaped bar, thrusting steps and bizarre shape of the audience to feed our scenes.
Highlights of our run included a battle of the bands where both Dave and I sung (a first!), Dave’s story of being an English teacher in Japan, a touching scene about an ambivalent lover and his teenage sweetheart, and the modern artists Sharkface and Wolfbits.
Doing so many shows in such a short period of time helped us define and refine what we do. It also gives us some license to ease back on our shows in the fall, pursue some more personal projects, do some more rehearsing, and just generally take our time getting this project to the next level.
Little known fact: there is also a calm after the storm.