By Benn Cody
Day 5: My final day has been just as busy as the others, just as varied and just as great! Before the shows, I headed to Oink-a great food place that just serves hog roast! Oh, it’s the highlight of every fringe or visit to Edinburgh for me and it went down a treat!!!
Anyway, first up was The Elves and the Shoemaker down at the Scottish Storytelling Venue which is just lovely-a theatre, cafe and book shop rolled together to make literature and stories more fun for kids. I headed down into the very lovely (and surprisingly well kitted out) performance space to catch the show. A story told through puppetry and straight storytelling. The puppets looked great as did some aspects of the set (including some magical surprises) but sometimes the story felt a little rushed. The kids seemed to really enjoy the show and after a sell out run, it’d be worth catching, but bear with some of the character voices from the solo storyteller… Sometimes get a little muddled.
After this, it was back to Underbelly to catch The Static by Thick Skin and part of the Made in Scotland showcase. This is a coming of age story based around Sparky, a teenager diagnosed with ADHD. An accessible piece that discusses teen angst, desire and growing up-the set was a wall of lockers that each opened to provide a new prop or light that changed the scene. A very clever piece that I’d recommend seeing.
Next up was a visit to Zoo Southside to catch The Council of the Ordinary. This was my final show of the Festival this year and unfortunately, didn’t give the wow finish I was looking for. Performed by the Bad Taste Cru, this was a hiphop dance and physical theatre piece that I was anticipating to be full of great break dance moves, battles, lighting and contain a wow factor. Unfortunately, it didn’t and felt a little confused-was it trying to be dance, theatre, a battle, beautiful or violent? The show didn’t really make up its mind. The soundtrack wasn’t linked seamlessly and costume felt unnecessary. Saying this, obviously the talent was great with some cool and interesting moves-had you not seen break dance before, this may have been more spectacular. Rather than going against trend, each piece of the triple bill focused on violence and confrontation and any movement aside from dancing was simply the stereotypical male strut which got both predictable and a bit boring. Not the strongest piece by any stretch but watchable and an option for an intro into this kind of dance for newbies. I didn’t overly enjoy the show myself but other audience members did.
And now, I’m sitting on the train back to London. Home is about 5 hours away, the train cramped and hot. But, who cares?! I’ve had an incredible week! I’ve seen incredible shows, met new people, eaten (a lot), had time to explore and come up with a hit list of pieces I’d like you all to see, so keep an eye on our seasons over the next year to catch some of the best of the fest. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little diary and that it’s given a tiny glimpse of the festival. There is honestly so much more to write about, tell you about and show you-but, aside from me never being able to finish this diary or my very brief show reports (which have been condensed substantially!) it’d ruin your own visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
I hope this has inspired you to try things a little off the beaten track, something a bit different. And don’t be afraid of saying what you think-all art is subjective; because I think the above comments round up what I’ve seen, you may think otherwise and that’s fine. The beauty of art and especially the Fringe is that as long as you give it a go, it’s all relevant, all fun and always worth it. Until next year…
Below is Benn’s show list with production Companies/performers (please note, some companies listed may not be fully complete but are correct with the information at hand at this time)
Mess – China Plate and Caroline Horton
Remy – Everything I Own
The Dead Memory House – Theatre Corsair
Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice – Dancing Brick and Escalator East
The Boy James – Belt Up
The Golden Cowpat – Tucked In
House Networking Event
The Gambler – Theatre Re
(remor) – Res de Res
One Hour Only – Made from Scatch, Ideas Tap and Old Vic New Voices
The Lonely One – dotted line and Little Angel Theatre
Sex, Drugs and Vaudeville – Joe Black
Inheritance Blues – DugOut
The Trench – Les Enfants Terribles, Luton Hat Factory, Wales Millenium Centre
Bullet Catch – Rob Drummond, The Arches, The Traverse, Made in Scotland
Translunar Paradise – Theatre Ad Infinitum
House Networking Social
The Boy with Tape on his Face-More Tape – Boy with Tape on his Face
The Letter of Last Resort and Good with People – David Greig, David Harrower, Paines Plough
The Magician’s Daughter – Little Angel Theatre and the RSC
Monkey Bars – Chris Goode Company, Unicorn, The Brewhouse
Chapel Street – Scrawl and the Old Vic New Voices and Ideas Tap
Remember Me – Sineglosse
Oh, The Humanity and Other Good Intentions – Northern Stage and Soho Theatre
Sugartits – Soho Theatre and Tim Whitehead
The Elves and the Shoemaker – Theatre of Widdershins
The Static – Thick Skin, Made in Scotland
The Council of the Ordinary – Bad Taste Cru