Last week I wrote about my first foray into producing on the Edinburgh Fringe. But as well as producing Neil Henry’s inaugural Edinburgh magic show I was busy beavering away with my usual agenting duties at the festival.
So my first client trip was to see Arlene Phillips’ new dance show Brazouka which she created with Pamela Stephenson after working together on Strictly Come Dancing. A vibrant dance extravaganza with a touching story, I’ve never seen so many beautiful bodies on one stage – and the large Assembly Hall on the mound was packed.
Then I went to watch actor James Baxter (star of Still Open All Hours opposite David Jason) who was performing an extraordinary one man play called Silk Road which came from the Old Vic’s New Voices programme (Susan Elkin recently reminded us how good that is). James is a masterful storyteller – every line of dialogue he speaks on stage he makes compelling. God he was good. He played a medium-sized room at George Square, and again, it was full.
I always take some time to see work from non-clients on recommendation, and this year also enjoyed Abandoman, Jess Robinson, Frisky and Mannish, What Does the Title Matter Anyway, Christine Bianco and the Umbilical Brothers.
[pullquote]It was the first fringe where I haven’t been drinking, so I went for a morning run[/pullquote]
It was the first fringe I’d been to where I haven’t been drinking – which had the rather pleasing effect of seeing me up early in the morning for a run. But probably my favourite moment at the fringe this year was watching Edinburgh favourites returning for the 25th time: Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman as Fascinating Aida: Charm Offensive in the (again) jam-packed Udderbelly.
I took my cousin, Emily, who had never seen them before, and I wasn’t sure how much she’d enjoy it. Fortunately, it turned out to be hands-down her favourite show – and I’ve got to say I agreed: their material has never felt fresher, and it was distinctly naughtier than in recent years – which the younger Edinburgh crowd loved. A joy as ever.
It was a rainier fringe for me than I’ve had in many years, but I still braved it in my favourite place to eat – the Assembly Gardens – I love how this area has grown in recent years. It was amusing to watch how many fringegoers were walking about with their phones plugged into portable batteries – gone are the days where your phone battery dies at the fringe. We all learnt years ago that the iPhone’s power-draining ways were not compatible with an Edinburgh fringe length day. And that trousers with lots of pocket space are an advantage (see picture).
In fact, with extra battery phone cases weighing me down, it wasn’t just my iPhone that ran out of juice – it was me. There just aren’t enough hours in the day at Edinburgh, and I left as I always do, wishing I could stay longer.