I'm going to break with tradition for my first blog from this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

This post is not being written on the train up from King's Cross - my trip was an uneventful one which started at the crack of dawn and involved a very nice American couple who were up to see the Tattoo - and I will not be writing to bemoan the incessant rain - apparently this has been a spectacularly wet August, and although I did wonder if I would ever be dry again having trudged round the city yesterday, it was pretty much anticipated.

Having stepped off the train yesterday, I barely had time to lay my rucksack down at our flat in the shadow of Arthur's Seat before I headed to Fringe Central to meet the other member of the Musical Theatre Matters Awards judging panel.

Twelve shows have been selected for the shortlist this year, with a much broader field having been seen by assessors before I got here. They have been scored and ranked and only a select band of new work and revivals is now being judged for prizes in the Best New Musical, Best Musical Production, Best Book, Best Music and Best Lyrics categories.

I can't believe how lucky I am to be able to see so many musicals in the space of eight days in Edinburgh. I've had a reasonably easy start, managing to squeeze in just one show last night (Homemade Fusion at C soco) and one show today (The Prodigals at Gilded Balloon Teviot) in addition to other Whatsonstage.com Edinburgh reviewing duties.

The main distraction last night was a reception for the MTM:UK Awards assessed and nominated companies which was held at the offices of Edinburgh solicitors firm Tods Murray. The event was generously hosted by Richard Findlay, a partner at the firm and a familiar face to most in the Scottish performing arts scene - arguably the country's leading performing arts and media lawyer. The firm's offices, on the top floor of Edinburgh Quay - perched above the Union Canal basin and on the edge of the old McEwan's Brewery site - has an incredible view of the city's skyline with the Castle pride of place in the panoramic windows.

A full list of nominees for this year's MTM: UK Awards, which Whatsonstage.com are proud to media partner for the third year, is available in yesterday's News story.

Although in raw numbers, there are fewer musicals at this year's Fringe, I have it on good authority that the quality more than makes up for it. I look forward to seeing all of the nominated shows and more much besides.

- Andrew Girvan
Deputy Editor