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Michael Coveney: Battles in the Bubble

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Producer Julius Green has a sold-out hit with his circus burlesque in the Assembly Rooms -- well, there are several very scantily clad ladies in the cast -- but he's still having trouble knowing whether it's night or day.

So is local artist and Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed -- he won for the light bulb which was turned on and off, you may remember -- who thanked us at the Traverse for coming tonight, when we'd come in the morning.

Traverse shows play at various times each day, so no actor can possibly have a fixed routine, nor can any of us, which is the problem. So many shows to see, so little time left to write about them.

I have already got the names of two people I know fairly well hopelessly wrong in print: Fiona Sturgeon Shea at the Traverse unaccountably became Fiona Sturges in this blog, and I saved myself just in time from dubbing Simon Callow's director,Tom Cairns, a long lost cousin of our own Whatsonstage.com reviewer Jo Caird.

My friend Gyles Brandreth, ensconced in a flat in North Bridge with his historian wife Michele Brown, told me over coffee in the Roxburgh yesterday morning that he has not yet seen any other shows, so busy is he with two of his own.

I'm excused going along to see his solo effort at the Pleasance as he said there was nothing in it I wouldn't have heard before. Which, actually, in his case, is a recommendation. He has some wonderful jokes and stories.

His other offering is Wonderland, in which Michael Maloney plays Lewis Carroll. At the technical rehearsal, alas, Maloney pulled a hamstring but has carried on, half-crippled, like the trouper he is.

Gyles tells me that when Maloney was on tour with Peter Bowles, he of the barathea blazer and shooting cuffs, Bowles got increasingly angered by Maloney's habit of turning up for reharsal every day with a scruffy backpack.

"What's in it?" he  finally asked. "My anger," replied Maloney. He packs all his troubles in his old kit bag and starts from scratch every day, and at every performance. Sounds like something we should all try. 


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