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Miranda Graesser On A Potted Edinburgh

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Once upon a time I was a virgin. A fringe virgin that is. I headed to Edinburgh for the month of August as a 20 year old intern, blissfully unaware of how obvious my naivety would be. There was even one moment when I truly believed that a Haggis was a small animal that ran around the hills and which you could hunt via the tourist office. Thank God I ordered the vegetarian breakfast as I was Wikipedia-ing this tasty thing on my plate. Now where have three weeks gone? From stitching Victorian costumes on a sewing machine in the back room of shops, to making custard pies, to tracking down some very large spiders and to those late nights in Brooke's bar….oh dear! But what a wonderful thing it is to walk down the street and pass a mass of zombies, and not bat an eyelid believing this is complete normality. Don’t ask me the time, or even what day it is. I wouldn’t know. Its work or party, drunk or sober, perform or sleep here. Clocks mean nothing as, very quickly, I was sucked into the Edinburgh Fringe world, where anything goes and you learn to stay away from the crowds of the Royal Mile, if not your bag speedily fills with mountains of flyers and there’s no room even for a girl’s lipstick!

But I am here to work as well as party. Around 3pm each day I dress as a fairy and sing in “Potted Panto” at the Pleasance as well as working on props, costume, stage management, publicity….. Thank god the actors Dan and Jeff and director, Richard Hurst are such a wonderfully mad bunch! It's not slave labour at all. Ho hum. The craziness of the ‘Potted’ world has never failed to brighten my day and is oddly one of the most successful post late-night blues cures (yes I know it’s an afternoon show but an Edinburgh hangover is to be wallowed in). Thankfully Jeff has stopped breaking the V.I.P. s (very important (and expensive) props) but we sadly said goodbye to our humongous pumpkin as it joined the retired Randy the tiger in the dressing room. The pumpkin had something to do with Cinderella but I could never quite work out where the tiger fitted in. And why Randy?

For a first timer this month has been an unforgettably intense experience with ups and downs, the downs usually self inflicted. The atmosphere of the fringe is unlike anything I’ve seen before. A whole bunch of creative minds in close proximity sounds like a disastrous formula but here it really works. You constantly meet new people who all share a love for the arts and are happy to engage with someone new.

Now with a week to go what to do? I have definitely not seen nearly enough shows (as I kept thinking, “Well, I’ve got the whole month”) and I have definitely not drunk enough of a certain truly yummy alcoholic ginger beer which I have already ordered a crate of. Oh what a wonderful discovery that was. Now, despite near terminal exhaustion I’m determined to hit the last week of the Fringe with whatever youthful gusto I can conjure. I’m not a Potted Panto fairy for nothing! Work hard, party hard…. Sleep is an over-rated necessity anyway.


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