The Worst of Scottee is an incredibly touching story, delivered with beautiful vulnerability. Tight and considered, Scottee tells us stories, some of the worst things he has done. Highly recommended.
The Way You Tell Them is what happened when Rachel Mars tried to understand funny. She broke down the structure of joke telling, and looked out how, when and why we use comedy in our daily lives. The show is heartbreaking and hilarious and should not be missed.
My Pregnant Brother and S/He is Nancy Joe are two shows that bring transgender stories to the stage, which is refreshing and encouraging to see at the fringe. The first was the story of a trans man who fell pregnant, told by his sister. The story is fascinating, but it’s unambitious execution did not impress me. It is self-indulgent; the performer tells the story through jaded, bitter eyes. It turns into her story, and that is not what I came to see.
S/He is Nancy Joe is a beautiful dance piece at Zoo Southside, which assertively addresses gender identity. I felt a little spoon fed at times, however there are moments that are so sensitively delivered I could have cried. The show is not perfect, it illustrates a number of points with cartoon style animated illustrations on large projection screens, the drawing style is ugly and detracts from the simplicity of other stronger elements of the show. It is a solo show by a female performer, she is androgynous and wears a binder; we are led to believe that it is the performer who is questioning her gender identity. However it is not until the end that we discover this is not her story; it is her brother’s. I felt a bit betrayed, I had invested a lot into her and her story, so this was a disappointment. For me, both of these shows assert that we really need more transmen and transwomen telling their own stories on stage.
We, Object by Figs in Wigs is at thespace@ Surgeon’s Hall all month and is a must see. I really, really love this company, they are totally nuts and incredibly smart and this show delivers that in one fell swoop. Deadpan comedy at its absolute finest (but also so much more.)
ANTLER’s Where The White Stops is one of the most joyful hours you will spend at the fringe this year. The company make devised theatre, very bloody well. Their on stage physicality is simply outstanding and it’s also brilliantly funny. People need to be paying attention to ANTLER.
Bonanza by Berlin is glorious. It tells the story of a tiny town in America with only seven residents. 5 projections sit beneath a large beautiful set depicting the desolate town. I think it was the best show I saw at the fringe this year. Just, see it yeah?
Others to look out for include Made In China with Gym Party – a chaotic and colourful show about competitiveness, with outstanding performances from one of my favourite companies. From what I have seen so far the show is really great.
Bryony Kimmings is a Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel every day at the Pleasance Dome, the show charts Bryony’s attempts to protect her niece from the mysognisitic horrors of provocative popular culture and it has some beautiful moments, you also get to learn the dance to this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lmHKNv301I.
Victoria Melody’s Major Tom (aka ‘The Show With The Dog In It) – Vic is outrageously charismatic and tells the story of her fumbling attempts into the world of beauty pagents. Definitely worth catching.
Solfatara at Summerhall is a playful Spanish piece where the surtitles are a character in themselves. It’s passionate and funny and I would highly recommend it.
Hunt and Darton Café should be everyone’s festival hub – great food, awesome entertainment and just the kind of wonky place the fringe needs. Their evening programme is also excellent, H&D’s new show Boredom is deadpan brilliance, also Chris Dobrowolski’s All Road’s Lead to Rome, Dot Howard’s How To Avoid Making an Entrance of Yourself and Richard DeDomenici’s Popaganda are all fantastic shows. Plus the MAGNIFICENT Buzzcut lot are programming there 3 times a week, it’s a MUST.
Other shows I’d recommend – Bitch Boxer, La Merde, I Could’ve Been Better and most of the Forest Fringe programme, especially Ella Good and Nicki Kent with Wild Thing I Love You which is gorgeous and perfect and a little bit twee but in a really OK way, and Motor Vehicle Sundown by Andy Field is not to be missed.Walking:Holding by Buzzcutter Rosana Cade is like a making a really simple loaf of bread – if you put in a small amount of really good quality ingredients the end product will be uncomplicated and perfect. It is complex and political in its simplicity.
It seems so throwaway and luke warm to say ‘ground breaking’ and ‘cutting edge’; those phrases are tossed about so much, but there are some seriously inspiring and innovative shows and companies in this list. So do support them and please see their shows so they can continue to do spectacular things.
Edinburgh 2012: my fringe virginity well and truly popped
I’m not sure how to compute four crazy days of back to back shows and fun in my exhausted head right now, so I thought it would be best to write it down before it all falls out.
I spent about 50% of the four days lost. I realised for the first time, at 23 years old that I am almost entirely incapable at reading maps. Too much time was wasted typing directions into my iphone, guessing which way it was telling me to go and just hoping the little blue dot would be heading the same way. Ridiculous. Luckily I happened upon a very skilled map drawer who saved my sorry arse.
Hits included Caroline Horton’s Mess- not my usual cuppa but you can’t help to appreciate such a well-considered and well-articulated piece of work. It’s about anorexia - ‘please don’t leave!’ we’re begged as soon as this is revealed. I found Lyn Gardner’s comments on this a little blunt- ‘There’s a show at the Traverse, Mess, that succeeds in making anorexia all pink and fluffy’ Hell yeah, it is MEGA pink and fluffy, but to me this seemed like an intentionally overt dig at modern femininity and all its fucked up associations and implications. Anorexia is intrinsically linked to this, no? Mess even miraculously escaped rating too high on the twee scale for me, because of this reason.
Caroline is an incredible performer, and as much as I wanted to despise the hirsute eccentric at the keyboard, I simply couldn’t. Jesus I tried though.
A Real Man Guide’s To Sainthood by Milk Presents was full of English gusto and had a great texture to it- OHP’s, bikes and shit loads of ping pong balls all created an entertaining hour of theatre. The singing was jarring though and although innovative in some ways, the work left a real am dram aftertaste in my mouth.
*CRAP DAY FOR THEATRE, GOOD DAY FOR GIN*
Thursday got off to a dodgy start. The Worlds Greatest Walking Tour of Edinburgh was relatively tragic- and not quite bad enough to be funny. As we wondered around the city it was easy to loose interest, how we didn’t end up in the pub is quite miraculous.
I Heart Hamas by Jennifer Jajeh consisted of 80 minutes sititng in a stark studio space, really hungry and unable to sneak out. It fundamentally bugged me, as the solo performer spoke about how everyone gets so hung up on her Palestinian heritage, but it didn’t bother me, so I kind of switched off early on. It was kind of self indulgent, and way too long.
Tea Fuelled’s Flea Circus Open Slam was an injection of light relief in what was an otherwise poor day of shows.
Then midnight hit and I got drunk and everything got better. The cow café at Underbelly Cowgate (my adoptive Edinburgh home) played host to Santoni Caberatoni, who were fucking great, some of them have a show, it’s called Sexytime, I haven’t seen it but it’s probably really good.
Then I slept in a shed.
Friday started at St Stephens, which I thought was such a lovely venue. I saw Best in the World by Unfolding Theatre, which started off so well. We were all given an ‘inspirational banana’ as we entered, and the performer went on to discuss greatness and those small decisions that can affect you on such a grand scale. It has real integrity to it- rich text on the delicateness of the human condition, but then it lost its way (and it’s sanity). In the final 5 minutes I found myself being hit repeatedly in the head with an inflatable banana (that might sound like a metaphor, it’s not) whilst chaos ensued on stage. I left feeling a little flat.
What I saw next made me squeal with joy inside and also do a tiny wee because I was so happy. Would Be Nice Though… by Odd Comic was my hit of the fringe. 8 or so audience members are going to a job interview. If I tell you anymore I’ll spoil the whole thing, so I will just say that it was so clever, so funny and must have been conceived by some blooming exciting and creative minds. ***** (yeah that’s right, I’m dishing out stars.)
Molly Taylor’s Love Letters to The Public Transport System was lovely, I suppose, but not much beyond that. I spent the hour eyeing up the audience of 70 something’s granny chic blouses.
Dancing Brick’s Captain KO did nothing for me. I’m still trying to understand it. Did I miss something? Someone, anyone… please??
The Awesome Show was ill conceived and terribly shoddy. Don’t name your show that unless you’re sure it is awesome, otherwise you’re just asking for me to post crap tweets that I think are witty. Same goes for The Worlds Greatest Walking Tour of Edinburgh. TAKE NOTE.
Hunt and Darton gently soothed my hangover in their amazing café on Saturday morning. The experience was subtle and clever and actually, just brilliant. I didn’t want to leave.
A cancellation at Summerhall meant I ended up watching a bit of am dram at C Venue. To my surprise I actually really enjoyed it. Check out Maria, 1968 if you fancy some well written young theatre.
My final highlight was A Corpo Libero, part of a double bill at Dancebase. 20 minutes of hilarious contemporary dance involving a gross nylon dress and some very clever use of a follow spot. Totally charming, definitely worth checking out.
So now I’m home, and as the lovely Claire Hicks from Dance4 who I met yesterday put it- it’s like you’re a child and you have to go to bed early, while everyone else is still up and having fun. And I can hear it going on downstairs (well, see it all on twitter) and I feel really left out and sad, because my first Edinburgh Fringe was truly, truly amazing.