Today was the first day (I believe) of previews for The Fringe. Certainly it was my first show of about eighty events I’ll be attending over the month of August. My partner became a Best Friend of The Fringe this year, which entitles her to loads of “2 for 1” tickets, invitations to Fringe parties and a programme cover that looks like you.
I made that last bit up…
Anyway, she bought loads of tickets and asked in return that I try to write about as many shows as possible, which I will try to do within my usual rules of never writing about anything I don’t like. I picked that up from Paul Williams, who made the point that if you write something negative, you might put off someone who would have actually have enjoyed the show/album/film. So, never miss the chance to say nothing.
Edinburgh is jam-packed (or maybe “ram-packed” in Corbynese) with people, even over the last few weeks, so I imagine it will get unbelievably busy over the next few weeks. I assume these are visitors taking advantage of the weakness of sterling, and fair play to them. In theory this will bring lots of business and spending to the city, which is a good thing; I do seriously worry if we have the infrastructure to handle it though – trams which stop about 10:30, overflowing bins, narrow roads and pavements. Time will tell.
The BBC are using the grounds of George Heriot’s School again this year for broadcasts and events – they were still setting up today and it looks much bigger than last year, both in size and intent.
From there I took a walk to George Square, which has been developed as a Fringe hub over the years and now seems at tipping point. I cannot imagine a taste in food or drinks that was not being catered for around the perimeter of and in the square. The rain was gently pouring as I took these pictures, a familiar feel in August.
My purpose was to see Richard Carpenter is Close to You, a new show by Matthew Floyd Jones, who is also known as the piano player in Frisky and Mannish, who have been doing well at the Fringe these last few years.
It was a first night, a preview, and there were still a few bits to be smoothed out, but I expect on this evening’s showing this will be one of the hits of this year’s Fringe. Richard Carpenter welcomes us to yet another night in Purgatorium, where he mulls the implications and frustrations of being “the piano player in The Carpenters.” Jones mixes musical pastiche with comedy and a bit of Kundalini yoga in a one man show which is sometimes cruel but ultimately coming from a place of love for its subject. I certainly hope it does really, really well.
Annoying Festival Gits – Part One of a possibly interminable series. The middle aged guy with the wife and grown-up daughter who just stood in front of me in the queue for tonight’s show. I had to tap him on the shoulder and explain that the queue had formed behind me, not in front of me. I know my inner Begbie is not wrong and I was pleased to start as I mean to go on with AFGs over August.