Just An Observation


Fringe 2012 was essentially a bit of a non starter from the word go. With promoters and performers claiming they were in an impossible position having to compete with the Olympics in London it felt on occasion as if they hadn’t even bothered entering the race. As a result it was not a memorable year and felt as damp as Edinburgh in August-surprisingly and conversely enough last year was one of the brightest and driest Fringe seasons in recent memory- although this allowed certain productions to stand out from the dross even more memorably.

‘Big Sean , Mikey and Me’, ‘Razing Eddie’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ were the three that still stand out in my mind and new shows by the former two are on  my must see list for the opening week.

 Ruaraidh Murray -above- the talent responsible for ‘Big Sean etc’ makes a return with a new work ‘Bath Time’ which has already been gathering plaudits at London previews. Definitely one to catch I hope to see this during the opening weekend. Performing daily at 1.15 at the Gilded Balloon Murray is an Edinburgh native who addresses his hometown with a mixture of affection and insightful knowing and during August people from Edinburgh-and the city itself- remain virtually ignored as their city is invaded by interlopers only interested in promoting their wares. Promising ‘tidy sexual health clinic nurses v Maggie Thatcher’ Murray’s new work looks like replicating last year’s success.

 Horizon Arts-responsible for ‘Razing Eddie’ as well as several other great production over the years- meanwhile return to the Underbelly with their new offering ‘ Beeston Rifles’. Regulars to the Fringe this company never fail to disappoint bringing interesting material and taut performances to fruition, creating great drama in the process.

 Other promising shows look like being ‘Die Roten Punkte’, ‘The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Inspector Norse at Assembly. ‘Breaker’ ‘Chalk Farm’ and the ultimate one on one interactive experience –my favourite from 2011- ‘You Once Said Yes’ at Underbelly. Over at the Pleasance ‘The Confessions of Gordon Brown’, ‘Kubrick’, and ‘Beats’ look like being highlights whilst the welcome return of young comedy genius and amazing talent Bo Burnham after a three year hiatus augurs well.

 Talking of comedy I am generally giving it a body swerve this year due to the fact that most of it is generally not very funny. At all.

 A late starter to last years non event was the Summerhall complex which seems to have come on in leaps and bounds in the intervening twelve months and looks like being a main contender this year. A new project by photographer Gavin Evans ‘Diving’ is an exploratory work looking at, what many consider, taboo subjects through film accompanied by live music and promises to be an intriguing and fascinating proposition. Likewise an installation by Gregor Schneider, Will Pickvance’s ‘Anatomy of a Piano’ and ‘Bonanza’ also look like being worthwhile. Wisely steering clear of the endless stand up comedy stream which runs like a flooding river through Edinburgh in August, Summerhall is aiming to bring a higher quality more intelligent and credible series of events to the party.

 Over at the Festival proper Patti Smith reciting Ginsberg accompanied by Philip Glass will be packing them out at the Playhouse for one night only on August 13th. Seeing Patti Smith almost annually has become like visiting a favourite aunt and in my experience it is always a joyous, enlightening and thrilling experience. I am sure this show will be no different. A truly mesmerising performer and one who can quite correctly lay claim to such carelessly bandied around terms such as ‘Icon’ and Living Legend’.

 That is the Fringe at a quick glance then but I am sure that many more decent shows will reveal themselves to me over the next few weeks though no doubt the dross will also make itself known just as quickly. Off to the opening parties then and here’s hoping I don’t make a show of myself!

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