What an amazing success story the Edinburgh Fringe is.
1947 was the start of the Edinburgh Festival proper. Eight acts (six Scottish & 2 English) gatecrashed and made a fringe. This year 1,800 shows with 16,100 performers.
I took the 0718 train from Cardross through Glasgow to Waverley Station in Edinburgh @ 0850. On the journey I read “The Rooms” by Declan Lynch, an Irish novel about alcoholics.
I walked up the hill towards Edinburgh Castle. Streets deserted except for a few cleaners. Lovely sunshine. I took photographs remembering that I’d last been in Edinburgh during festival time about four years ago when son number 2 (SN2) performed at the fringe of the fringe.
This time SN2 was with Year Out Drama Company. A show called “Story Shakespeare: The Tempest”. 1000 start for a 50 minute show. (If you overrun, the venue fines the company for every 30 seconds.)
There was a queue. Perhaps they were all parents, fellow players and close supporters. Maybe a few people had come for other reasons. But I felt heartened that there should be a queue because there must be nothing worse than performing to a empty theatre without the warmth of bodies.
I now know the story of Prospero and Miranda, Ariel and Caliban, Ferninand and some others whose names I foget. This was my second Tempest. About 1979 I went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company performance at Stratford upon Avon. That was an awful disappointment. Ariel was like a thug rather than the blythe spirit I’d imagined when I did the play at school. It was all very boring and I was glad to get out into the Cotswold countryside and escape from that sort of culture.
This fringe show was much better, mainly Shakespeare cut down with some new songs and dialogue to maintain momentum.
I haven’t time now to write detailed description of the show.
SN2’s girlfriend was also performing, as Prospero… a part she shared with a bloke. I met her parents for a coffee afterwards.
Then SN2 and I went wandering. The streets were full. Lots of people trying to attract you to their show. Street performers, musicians and clowns. Amiable police mingling. We had brunch, a pint and early dinner during the day.
We went to “Bloggers - Real Internet Diaries” by Connected Theatre. I’ll write about this later.