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Better Red Than Dead

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Waking up with the sun shining from Portobello I decide to investigate a secret life of Edinburgh. I have a plan. I prepare to go on a poster dash at 6am armed with six rolls of cellotape. No one is around. Not even tourists are here with their zany questions for example whilst admiring the Forth Bridge I hear one ask, ‘What happened to the other three?’

There are many advantages to standing outside the Fringe shop with no one around such as I can wear red and not be asked a question. Any garment with even the slightest hue of red causes everyone to ask you the time of day during the Festival. One performer asks me directions to the stage where the risqué shows perform. I stand waving my arms aimlessly. There is a lady doing yoga in her bikini on the pavement. An irate visitor who also thinks I am working for the Fringe demands an ATM machine that gives out money. This is something we all need as we approach the last week of the Fringe.

Some of the best theatre experiences I see are free and glimpsed at whilst I stand in my ill-advised red T shirt flyering. I love Livewire’s street theatre where they stand in body suits holding a blood red scarf like a scar then unzip themselves like robots and burst into rustic costumes to become screaming witches of Salem. By contrast at 6am you can hear a pin drop on the Royal Mile. However I feel warm from the moment Bag Lady Theatre company of two ladies in refined lace dresses from gentile days make me stick my thumb in the air to pretend it is a carrot. Magic is in the air even when these alleyways are empty. This legendary winding road fires the imagination and always takes you somewhere else. There are many visions in these scotch pebbles underfoot tread by an inspiring list of theatrical alumni. But for many of us like the religious man on Princes Street claims, ‘The end is nigh’, unless of course that is the name of his show. For now we shoot through our last piles of posters and whoever has the faster finger on the staple gun trigger rules the poster war of the Royal Mile. I feel like I am getting ready to jump out of a plane. No run here is long enough to satisfy performers. We are always hungry for more.


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