Far set in town & smoke I see
Spring gallant from the shadows of her smoke
Cragged spired & turreted, her virgin fort beflagged
Robert Louis Stevenson
Shows So Far – 30
Hangovers – 2
Raining again! Yet, as we apprach the 1/3 mark off the Fringe, spirits remain high among the myriad campers. This morning I was double booked, resulting in the first occasion when Damowords had two reviewers – myself & Paul – out in the field at the same time. My show was SANS MOTS (11-29 / 13.25) at the C VENUES – ROMAN EAGLE LODGE. This show is all all about Tuscany’s curly-haired MATTEO CIONINI’S passion for the universal art of mime, & had both child & old un’ giggling away as he presented his various tales, clowns & escapades. He came across as something of an un-moustached Charlie Chaplain, the highlight of which was his orchestral conductor. This was an energetic blast thro Motzart’s Eine Kleone Nacht Musik, full of dead-pan humour, such as controlling the CD with his baton & turning it into a machine gun. The most amusing moment came from an unexpected source – a baby had been crying on & off through the show, but was suddenly silenced by the shows own (invisible baby) who’s recorded cries completely drowned out the flesh & bones version. These were being handled behind the scenes by ANNA CETI, who’s own show I would see later in the day with Paul. She met Matteo at university in Turin, & they’d agreed to support each other’s one-person shows during the Fringe, reaffirming the good energy of their friendship. As for SANS MOTS, it was a great hour of the kids & the kid within us all!
A member of the audience was the young, attractive, as-dappy-as-me CRESSIDA BROWN, artistic director of London’s OFFSTAGE THEATRE. She’s not bringing a show up this year, but instead is one of the judges for the TOTAL THEATRE awards. They’ve been going since 1987 & are recognised nationally and internationally as a benchmark of achievement. The idea is that a team of twenty judges will try & see every show that’s on at the fringe, then on or around the 17th of August stay up all night on coffee, red bull & amphetamine, arguing with each other over the winners. It’s nice to see how everybody has a role to play in such a massive festival – & how everyone just has to be here in my beloved city. Over to Paul…
Macbeth on a dreekit afternoon!
I was looking forward to MACBETH at the NEW TOWN THEATRE (12-28 / 13.00h)by Icarus productions this afternoon as it would be my first play of the festival in the more traditional vain of theatre. And I wasn’t disappointed! Opening with a dramatic sword fight on a darkened set with a full moon shining down on the actors, and immediately we are transported into the world of Shakespeare. From here the classic begins as the three witches plot the wicked downfall of Macbeth and the Murder of King Duncan. The stand out performance goes to Lady Macbeth played by Sophie Brook whose sinister plotting and eventual downfall is preformed pitch perfectly. I think I am in love(maybe for the third time this week!) The use of the moon was very atmospheric turning to blood red at moments of treachery, and then becoming a full force of dark nature in the scene where Macbeth becomes lost under the spell of the witches. In fact all the moments of treachery and bloodshed were absolutely thrilling, sending chills down my spine, especially when Macduff’s wife and son are murdered. Absolutely spine-tingling!
I am by far not an expert on Shakespeare or ‘the Scottish play’ but on a miserable wet festival afternoon it isn’t bad to be transported back to the dark days of Scotland in the year 1000 A.D.
Go and see!
Tango of the heart!
After a couple of beers in Sandy Bells I went to see AN IMAGINARY HISTORY OF TANGO (C Aquila, Venue 21 4-14 16-29 / 4.55pm). I wasn’t convinced at first but Anna Cetti’s performance and love of tango soon sucked me in. Using puppetry, dance and video projection, Anna takes us through her intimate love affair with the tango. The audience participation (which for once relaxed me rather than have me in fear of my life) that had a member of the audience being crowned ‘king of the tango’, was very funny indeed, and was all part of a bigger picture to explain the wider social etiquette and rules of the ‘milango’ tango halls.
But this was not just about the tango. We were also treated to philosophical ponderings as Anna explores and compares Plato’s symposium to jammy dodgers biscuits! What a rant she gave us! Excellent! During this surreal philosophical lecture I got to thinking about the symposium and its musings on love, when before I know it, Anna has us all picking another member of the audience of the opposite sex to see how long we can look into each others eyes. And I am beginning to realise this is more than just theatre I am experiencing, as I question the hidden secret meanings of a simple glance.
While I am recovering from this experience Anna suddenly changes mood and takes us into a heart felt love story of a woman who is unable to ask a man she loves to dance with her, and once again questions are being asked. This time about our endless search for love and the hopelessness of it all. The dance of love indeed!
For the finale(or so I thought!) Anna tango’s majestically around the stage in the best dance of the show. But its not over yet! She now enters into the audience and with an elegant outstretched hand invites us on stage to dance (we have no choice as by now we are all cast under her spell). And so the show finishes with me waltzing with a girl from Australia I have never met before. I didn’t expect that! Just like I didn’t expect to be dreamily walking home to write these words with my heart a little bit lighter.
Bring on the rain my dear sweet Edinburgh! It matters not when Anna is in town!
Back in Damoworld , after sharing Anna’s wonderful performance with Paul, & tangoing with a middle-aged German lady, I went down to sound engineer for VICTOR POPE, where my lady friend Caska had turned up. She agreed to afterwards join me for a show entitled SAMANTHA’S HOT LINE (12-27 / 20.05) by the bubbly Sophie Gatacre &, like me, had an enthralling hour with this mad bird from London. The story is she was once married to a rich stockbroker, who had ran off with his secretary, abandoning Samantha & their son Sebastian. In an effort to keep up appearances (& buy Sebastian a horse), she’s turned to phone sex, resulting in several hilarious ‘personas’ for her booty-calling clients. From the bucking bronco cowgirl to the holy nun she gives us a canny insight into what goes on in the minds of lonely men. At one point, during her naughty teacher routine, she even gave a member of the audience a pants-down spanking, causing the guys mate to cry out, “THIS IS FUCKING SURREAL!” A great piece of one-woman writing & showmanship, she even gave out free wine at the end of the show!
After the show me & Caska went up to the FOREST CAFE, where I hosted the nights music. ROSIE WILBY & MIKE DR BLUE MCKEON plugged their shows & enjoyed the stage, while VICTOR POPE palyed with his drummer from GINGER & THE TRAMP & did the same. I did my TINKY DISCO at the end, & got folk boogie-ing about a bit. I’ve got another show on the 20th down Leith & these are my meagre contributions to the Festival. 3 years ago I played a nobhead Israeli soldier in a pro-Palastein play, which was pretty cool to do, but I much prefer the pace of two shows in a month. eVEN SO, playing last night counts as a show, so I guess I might as well put on a wee film of mi disco… hope you enjoy it…