Journey to edfringe

Following on from recent tradition of blogging from public transport, I now write from the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh for the Fringe. In the meantime I’m listening to a girl telling a story in French (at least I think that’s what she’s doing); something to do with a coat with big buttons. It’s on an excellent album from Cats in Paris.

Near Newcastle a big group on Scottish squaddies join the train and proceed to set up a night club in the bike storage area, drinking a kind of moonshine called Buckfast. It’s mildly entertaining/annoying until we have to get our bikes ot at Edinburgh. Having accomplished that feat, we’re let down to discover that the tyres had been, well, let down. Cheers guys, now I know why you shook my hand as I left the train.

Kursk was the name of a Russian submarine which tragically ended up in the news for sinking to the bottom of the barant sea. It is also the name of Sound and Fury’s latest production set on board a fictional Royal Navy Trafalgar class nuclear submarine in the area at the time of the disaster. Strangely the performance wasn’t too concerned with the Kursk itself; more by the onlooking submariners, their family isolation, the secretive nature of their work and how the cope The script could have been better, but you’ve got to give it to the set designer, erecting the inards of a submarine in a drill hall was pretty impressive.

Now it’s Saturday morning and I’ve been spending my time backie on Katie’s bike seeking out a bicycle woods valve. Despite the fact that Batavus sell millions of them each year, I’m told by all the bike shops that they’re obscelete. Now I’ve given up and asked one of the four shops to replace the whole inner tube. If ony the lad that let the tyre down had just thought to replace the valve after letting the air out…

In The After Show Party Party, Michael Pinchbeck is joined by his dad who helps him move stools around the stage, but more importantly, tell the story of how his parents met while putting on an amateur dramatics performance of The Sound of Music. My favourite moment was while getting bored of watching Michael and his dad running around in circles, his mum steps in to announce that the pair of them had run out of ideas so she gad been asked to come on and fill the time.

Icarus 2.0 by Camden People’s Theatre gradually revels a rather strange relationship between a hirsuit mad professor dad and his possibly cloned son. You’ve got to love the Fringe. Even the more sensible shows sound wacky when you write them down.

Iris Brunette featured one female performer, a compete blackout, and a slightly opaque storyline that felt to me a bit like 1984 (the book, not the year). Arranged in an oval looking into the stage area, individual audience members were picked out by the lights and asked choose-your-own-adventure questions by the performer. Quite an engaging, intimate experience. I’m just glad I wasn’t quizzed.

I was wondering what the title, STAY! referred to in Hawaiian-born Stacy Makishi’s show, billed to me as ‘bonkers but funny’ by Katie. The show features Stacy and her partner in a sado-masochistic relationship. When I tell you that other half of the couple is a woman called Jack Russell, and that it was inspired by painter Paula Rego’s Girl and Dog series (in which a sick dog is cared for by a girl who feeds, shaves and lifts her skirt to the poor animal), I think you get the idea. The shaving scene in the show features lots of shaving foam, an opened feather pillow and, rather alarmingly, a kitchen knife, helping to put the show at the experimental end of experimental.

I’m afraid to say that I probably probably would have laughed more at the Pyjama Men had I not been struggling to stay awake…