In retrospect, it was insanely optimistic to think I could update the blog at the same time as going to so many shows over the week commencing 7 August, so here goes with the backlog…
The first show on Monday 7 August was the excellent Kafka and Son by Theaturtle and Richard Jordan Productions. A monologue co-written and performed by Alon Nashman, it examines the correspondence of Franz Kafka to his father, positing the idea that much of what informed Kafka’s work came from the dysfunctional relationship he had with his father. Not a subject which is debated much in Stratford’s Bar, but it made for a captivating hour in a really interesting venue I had not been to before, Bunker One at The Pleasance. The performer was going to make himself available in the Bunker Bar afterward for discussion of the play and the “increasingly Kafka-esque world.” The show continues until 27 August and is highly recommended even, or especially if, you know as little about Kafka as I do. If you Google the title, there is a complete performance on a platform called Vimeo, but I don’t think it would be as good as being present at a performance.
For many years (although not all 26) one of the highlights of our Fringe has been C theatre‘s Shakespeare for Breakfast – this year they are also presenting Dickens for Dinner, a similarly formatted show where the five mega-talented members of the company riff around aspects of Dickens (mostly A Christmas Carol today) to huge comic effect. Always reliably hilarious. C theatre are presenting a total of six shows throughout the Fringe, at least three of them with the same five-strong cast.
Bristol’s Theatre Ad Infinitum first performed Translunar Paradise at the Fringe in 2011 and it’s back this year. I would say it is inspired a lot by the great sequence in the Pixar movie Up! that everyone knows, where the old man reflects on his life with his recently deceased wife; a real tear-jerker, as is Translunar Paradise judging by the sniffles I could hear around the theatre. A very cleverly devised and expertly acted show.
American High School Theatre Festival are always worth a look. As you would imagine, this is a banner for a number of American High Schools to present work. They have used various venues throughout Edinburgh, this year it is Central Hall at Tollcross and the show tonight is The Tempest. As per usual, there is no lack of skill in the acting and costumes, but they go at some pace and tonight were defeated by the natural echo of the huge hall – I eventually found a third seat where the reverberations were minimised and I could follow the rapidly delivered lines. But a good effort.