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Edinburgh Guest Blog: Once a monkey, always a monkey

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We've left Edinburgh and officially the Year of the Monkey has come to an end. I am currently sat morosely in my living room in Clapham having just said goodbye to 50 monkeys on the concourse at King's Cross. I haven't quite managed to shake off Georgia as she is living with me for a while until she moves down to Bristol, but it is with a heavy heart that I write this final blog. Georgia is drowning her sorrows in a bag of malteasers.

The final shows of our six-strong season went down well and were not without the odd prank. The first show to end was Orton farce The Erpingham Camp. The house was full both of punters and the rest of Fourth Monkey to cheer on our friends. The atmosphere was buzzing, as was the razor Sean used to shave off a helpless Sam's moustache as he lay "dead" upon the table. Emma Hanson managed to scream out "smelly whore" during "Divine Words". With the rest of the cast sat at the back of the stage during the entire show there was no hiding the inevitable corpses.

Dave-Dan (our sublime elephant man) during the show speaks about his beautiful mother and produces a picture of her for Grant and Chloe to look at. Both controlled themselves admirably when faced with Grant's headshot and cooed over it like the true professionals they are.

James Lewis gamely removed a pair of pink ladies' underwear from the washing line during "Nights at the Circus" and Lamb Bennett did the unprintable to Scott during his naked scene that left the clowns helpless with laughter at the back of the stage.

4.48 was the final show of our season and for many of us, myself included, the end of something very special. For those of us that did the show in London too it has been a very big part of our year and the finality of it hit us very hard. We're all so proud of this show and of each other, and leaving it was a struggle. 4.48 has been sold out for the entire run up in Edinburgh and so that meant that our monkeys haven't been able to come in and see us. Although obviously we've felt very proud of the success of the show, we've occasionally longed for some little monkey faces in the audience.

As I looked up from my preset to start the final show the first thing I saw was several of our company sat in the front row having bought tickets to wish us well on our final night. I think all of our hearts swelled when we saw them there. A lovely way to finish!

With tears rolling down our faces we left the venue, ran home got changed, downed some alcohol, ran back to the venue, handed in our (stinking) costumes and then all went out together. Needless to say the party went on all night and a few of us even managed to drunkenly stumble up Arthur's Seat at 5am to witness a beautiful sunrise.

The drunken stumble down was possibly the funniest/ stupidest forty minutes of my life. Then it was 2 hours sleep before we had to head back to the venue to do our get out, sort the props and clean them. A two hour nap, then off to The Meadows for our final farewell BBQ, an aggressive game of football and the symbolic burning of the big white sheet which has served us in all our productions this year.

Despite these antics we all made the train on time and spent most of the journey wishing that it wouldn't end. Cheesy as it sounds the fifty or so of us have become a family and knew that at King's Cross we would all have to go our separate ways. We decided not to say goodbye as we are determined to see each other again.

There will be reunions, and we know that we have fifty life long friends -- we are the "original" monkeys after all. We will all delightedly follow each other's careers, and hope to work with each other again. Some of us are heading to drama school, some are sticking with the monkey way of life and staying on for two more years, and others have new projects and adventures to have.

In just over a week I begin three years at Guildhall and whilst I excitedly look forward to that I shall always look back on this year as one of the best of my life.

Our Year of the Monkey is over but they have a new batch of very talented people coming in, who should consider themselves very lucky as they prepare to embark on something remarkable. My sincerest thanks for a wonderful year and a wonderful fringe; once a Monkey, always a monkey.


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