Woh-oh, we’re halfway there, woh-oh, living on a prayer… As yet, this song hasn’t been one of the ones on near-permanent loop in my head. Although we are halfway through the festival. Ish. I’ll be honest, I feel like I’m on a bit of a mental safari, wandering around Edinburgh, swinging between Tiggerish glee and Eeyoreish torpor, all accompanied with a jaunty mental soundtrack courtesy of a show I’ve directed, Polite Club. This morning I serenaded my flatmates with Little Old Sexy Me over my Alpen. It was, I am afraid, far from appropriate.
The fatigue is really beginning to kick in now, but luckily it’s time for most shows to have a day off. This is a good thing, in a way, but rarely works as well as you’d hope. The day before the day off, performers tend to cut loose, staying out until all hours on massive benders, which does little to help the long-term exhaustion. Alternatively, performers go to bed early, screw up their body clock, and end up just as tired as before and with a gloopy and inflamed respiratory system, as their bodies assume that it’s all over and time for the immune system to kick back. Continue reading
This week in Edinburgh, people are mostly talking about how their shows are going, or the ever-fascinating five day forecast (linked to here partly so I can find it easily. Thank you, What’s On Stage.) I accidentally started a conversation about the military escalation in South Ossetia yesterday and immediately realised the depth of my ignorance on the subject.
How your show is going is measured in terms of three things: sales, reviews, and who you’ve had in. The first is self-explanatory: everyone is keen to know how much well-earned honk they’re going to lose this year. The second has changed over the seventeen years I’ve been coming up here due to the advent of the star system. In the good old days people would actually read reviews, now they just count stars. And if I had a pound for everyone who’s had “a three-star review, but it’s really good. Reads more like a four-star…” I’d have enough to buy a really lovely dinner at Bonsai. Finally, “who you’ve had in” means reviewers and influential industry professionals: it often sounds as if paying punters – who should, in a perfect world, be the point of the whole exercise – are irrelevant to career-hungry performers.
That, then, was opening weekend. Like other bloggers, some of my shows sold out today, although the acid test comes on Tuesday, when the twin fluffers of two-for-one deals and preview prices will no longer lift sales numbers. But it’s nice to be on the board.
The other thing that marks the opening of the Fringe is a rash of parties and launches, kicking off with The List party last Thursday. It was a sorry affair, made all the more unfortunate by the heavy scotch mist descending rapidly from the sky. It had been sponsored by a lager I hadn’t heard of before, 1885. Was this some tasty new Kronenbourg spin-off? No, it seemed rather to be rebranded Tennents’ Export. Another disappointment. Continue reading
Well, I was right about the fog. As we ambled back to our flat from Bannerman’s last night, Edinburgh was enveloped in an exciting-looking mist, and it still hasn’t cleared. It’s as if someone’s about to make a dramatic entrance.In common with a lot of other Fringe-goers who live anywhere south of Doncaster, the journey up here yesterday was devoid of fun or comfort for much of its seven-hour duration. Even more annoyingly, my producer had put me in first class, a distinction which then meant nothing as most of the passengers had to stand as we traversed Yorkshire. To be honest, the moment I get into first class – which happens rarely – all my socialist principles evaporate, so in many ways this journey felt like a punishment for having had all that free tea for the first hour. Continue reading
Rehearsals are over, previews have been viewed, now all that remains is packing. The five day forecast for Edinburgh has temperatures going up to twenty-one degrees, and weather ranging from sunny to deluge. The best bit of the forecast is the rapid change from visibility being very good to very poor between 7pm and night-time on Sunday. I guess that they don’t just mean that it’ll be dark: my seventeen years experience of Edinburgh weather suggests that it’s more likely that within about fifteen minutes it’ll switch from bright sunshine to thick fog. Continue reading