Speechless won a Fringe First on Friday. The whole company was of course absolutely delighted. I was particularly chuffed for Polly Teale, the writer and director who has been consumed with this project for the past year, and Natasha and Demi, who give unbelievably committed and moving performances as the two twins.

It made me really think what a Herculean effort the critics and awards panels put in each year to get around as many shows as possible in the hope of unearthing something that little bit special. If I watch two shows in a day, I'm falling asleep fifteen minutes into the second one, however amazing it might be. But these guys are watching seven/eight shows every single day, and somehow manage to maintain a balanced and critical eye for each and every show they go into.

I've been on the receiving end of my fair share of poor notices as an actor (most of which were absolutely fair, and actually proved very useful) so they've got to me in the past. And I haven't agreed with everything that I've read, that they've loved and recommended this year. But the sheer effort and drive of what they do up here, giving us, the companies our chance of success (it's primarily because of our four-star review from the Scotsman last week for Pedestrian that we've sold out the last couple of nights) is nothing short of remarkable. Huge respect.