It's started again, the annual Fringe obsession with competition. I've just read a string of reviews comparing this to that, that to the other and the other to the first one again. The giant posters of comedy promoters are out in force and the Royal Mile is a storm of leaflets. It's a dog eat dog world out there...except it isn't really. It may be a controversial statement, but I feel like marketing at the Fringe is actually a bit of a delight compared to normal. You are not selling a show as an alternative to TV or football or the cinema, there is a keen and willing theatre audience wandering the streets, just looking for their ideal play. Admittedly there are plenty of people vying for their time, but half the work of attracting the audience has been done by the wonder that is Festival spirit.
So instead I must describe the most intense competition of the Fringe, which occurred this weekend on the meadows. That's right it was the Gomito/Little Bulb vs. Babolin Theatre football match 2010. Three theatre companies, one ball, it was always going to be deadly. Jumpers for goal posts, no pitch markings and no real rules made for 90 minutes that were far more terrifying than a walk down the Royal Mile on a Saturday lunchtime.
Babolin looked to be the favourites, seemingly younger and fitter, but a heady mixture of experience and mildly hungover panic led to a 3-2 victory for the Gomito/Little Bulb combination. Festival spirit was restored at the end of the match however by this genuine arty-farty quote from theatre deviser Sam; "why can't we just have a kick around in a friendly collaborative way?" Oh go on then, it is the Fringe.
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