I realise that writing about the Edinburgh Festivals in October is hardly hot news and a bit fanciful…but there are still things which should be memorialised (from the month before last.)
Saturday 26th August saw us take in six shows and may well have been the best day overall. We started fairly early with Stage by Stage’s ska-influenced take on The Comedy of Errors, which was performed with youthful brio and a good soundtrack of 70s/80s UK ska.
Lunchtime took us to Luke Wright’s (what a great name) What I Learned from Johnny Bevan, a superb dramatic monologue, or maybe even epic poem – the protagonist meets the titular Johnny when he sees him performing, wildly passionate, at a poetry event at college and becomes entranced with this figure, the like of whom he has not come across before. He gets sucked into the radical politics Johnny spends all his time researching and espousing and has a great time until Johnny disappears, to be found again years later via social media, but not really wanting to be found – his far left views are now abandoned and have been replaced by equally strongly held right wing views.
It was stunningly well performed and written by Wright, who will be worth looking out for in the future.
Desert Bloom by plush tiger productions was good, a monologue (quite the thing this year) about a woman who was under the impression she was the lovechild of Marilyn Monroe, or JFK, or both…I can’t remember a lot about it, but it was a pleasant enough hour.
Late afternoon we were at Dancebase again for John Scott Dance’s Lear – yes, King Lear expressed through interpretative dance, with a female Lear and three male dancers portraying his daughters. Gee whiz, this sort of thing is firmly in my surreal/ have a word with yourself zone and I wondered about going to it but in the event enjoyed it very much.
Valda Setterfield, playing Lear, was a few weeks away from her 83rd birthday at the time of the performance and is a bit of a legend among people who know about dance – she performed the part with grace and humour although most of the heavy lifting was done by the male dancers. There was also quite a lot of witty dialogue, which lifted the burden of “interpretative dance” for me.
Alan Bissett’s (More) Moira Monologues at the Scottish Storytelling Centre was a great laugh. A monologue (see?) from his fictional Moira, this is the second show he’s done on this theme. Moira is a catty, sarcastic but often tender single parent living on a scheme and it’s not one of these self-consciously “Fringe” shows – if he wanted, I’m sure Bissett could play this in Scottish theatres as a Christmas feature. From what he was saying, it had sold very well again this year.
Finally, for that Saturday of rich pickings, the richest – RashDash’s Two Man Show.
What a pleasant surprise. The bland picture and blurb in the Fringe programme didn’t really suggest what this would be and I think that was intentional. RashDash is comprised of three performers, two mostly acting and dancing, the third providing impressive sound textures (these loop pedals again – 2017, the year of the monologue and the loop pedal…) It’s mostly about the patriarchy…they explain it much better here;
The young man in the queue before us for this had seen it before and kindly didn’t give too much away. I’d definitely see this again.