The Fringe isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon*. With so much to do and see it’s important to pace yourself. Tuesday morning was fairly relaxed, and mostly involved writing the blog you read yesterday (You did read it, didn’t you?) as our first show wasn’t until 12:10. The show was Baba Brinkman’s “Off The Top” at 266 Canon’s Gait. Now I’m someone who navigates mostly through landmarks and a homing like pigeon ability to go in the general direction of something, skwark at people and demand seed until I find it. So for me places in Edinburugh were always “over the road from the shite McDonalds” or “round the corner from the broken down HMV”. Never really relied on (or knew!) street names. This proved to be an issue yesterday. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a recurring theme at this point. My awful navigation skills that are coupled with a belief they’re rather good. You see although the show was at Canon’s Gait there is also a road in Edinburgh (nearby, no less) called Cannongate. Say those aloud in a Scottish accent. Go on, no one will notice. Yeah. So there was some confusion.
Baba Brinkman is a striking and intriguing stage presence and his show "Off The Top" makes great use of it. Combining the swagger of a gangster rapper with the self-deprecating outlook of a stand-up comedian he was at once intimidating and likable. Accompanied by his wife, a neuroscientist I believe, a behavioural science/chimp researcher/stand-up comedian and a sociology degree holder (which she claims to have never used) / stand-up comedienne we were taken on a journey through the mind over the course of an hour. Is improvisation/flow state related to memory? How can the brain cope with various tasks while engaged with memory related tasks (like rapping a song you wrote) vs improvised tasks (freestyle wrapping), can an audience member open a puzzle box after being shown how to do so once, how do chimps show excitement for food (and what food do they like) and the misuse of statistics were all touched on during the course of this concert-cum-comedy show-cum-lecture. The highlight of our first day in my opinion, and not just because I got stickers. STICKERS WITH MONKEYS ON THEM.
A brisk walk across town took us to our next venue and our next show. “Addicted To Love” by Narin Oz. One of the more interesting performance spaces I’ve encountered this was a show that took place with the audience, of up to 4, stuffed in to the boot of a car. The boot was decked out with red sparkly pillows, a throw etc. We were all here to talk about our “Sex and Love Addiction” with our facilitator/fellow addict Narin. A short piece that managed to be uncomfortable, shocking, funny and surprisingly intimate and poignant. Just remember to only talk if you have the roses.
After this we took a short lunch break that turned in to a slightly long one, the result of which was a mad dash across town to make our next show**, Hiraeth by Buddug James Jones. It’s a show from Wales, although it may be hard to tell. Arriving slightly after the show started (about 3 minutes) we sheepishly (ha!) stood at the back and watched lovely little autobiographical tale about Welsh heritage, moving away, identity and a Puerto Rican. Inventivly staged the show made excellent use of its small cast of two, minimal props and a guitar to suggest an entire world and vividly depict a life. Wonderfully catchy songs, some really clever gags and a nice message to take home at the end. Oh and welsh cakes!
The last show of the day was “Kiss and Sell” by Ivy Paige; international star of cabaret and burlesque, sultry singer and gutter-minded comedienne. Club classics, pop re-imaginings and her own saucy compositions were accompanied by the dulcet tones of piano player Pete Saunders, a seductive entity in his own right. Flirty, dirty and just the right side of naughty in my opinion, it did appear to make some audience members uncomfortable. But then again her arse was on the poster, so I’m not sure what they expected. Ivy Paige seemed to know her audience well and around 40 minutes in to her show she disrobed to present to us the glorious posterior in all its magnificence. I dress it up in flowery language to hide the fact I’m a pervert and was happy to see her bum.
The last show led to an interesting conversation between Frank and myself, the whole day the tickets were two for 1 so we saw everything half price. Ivy Paige we both felt wasn’t worth the full price (not that the show was bad, just the tickets were expensive). I don’t know if this initial reaction is entirely fair though. I know I’d happily pay the full price to see a band for that length of time, and Ivy Paige’s show was more entertaining, arguably, with good banter, audience interaction as well as her beautiful voice and music. Do we expect more because it’s packaged as a piece of theatre and not a concert? I don’t really know but it’s something to think about as I see more shows over the next few days. How much do expectations matter in terms of enjoyment?
I'd like to thank TEAM for giving me the chance to get my cheeky little self up here and search for interesting shows. So far it's been fantastic.
* Except when you’re running across town to get to a show.
**This is called a “call-back”, a joke that builds off a previous one.
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