JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation Monday August 12th

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Today is traditionally the day when many fringe and festival acts take a well earned day off. It is also a sign that the whole shebang is about half way through and a good time to look at what has so far managed to impress me. What has struck me is that despite the pavements being overcrowded and impossible to negotiate if you are in any sort of hurry that there is a severe lack of the usual flurry around the venues. Bristo Square which is usually heaving with people pestering you with flyers and forcing themselves into your path with the intention of persuading you to see their show is notably quieter than in previous years.

Also I have been offered countless free tickets to go and see comedy this year I have body-swerved comedy more or less completely as I simply find it generally unfunny- as obviously people are waking up to the fact that there is an excessive surplus of stand ups with very few of them making the grade. My one foray into comedy will actually be tonight when I go and see Bo Burnham at the Pleasance as he is in a class all of his own and an aspiring major talent.

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 Conversely having concentrated more intently on theatre this year I have noticed that most shows are either sold out or pretty near to it. Most of what I have seen has also been of  an exceptionally high standard and my top tips are ‘The Bloody Ballad’- billed as a slasher musical which is neither of those things in reality but a bloody brilliant show; imagine Nick Cave and Johnny Cash meets Tarantino- at Assembly Roxy. Edinburgh boy Ruaraidh Murray’s expertly realised excellent dark comedy and intense drama ‘Bath Time’ at the Gilded Balloon and ‘Beeston Rifles’ by impressive group Horizon Arts at the Underbelly. ‘The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning’ is also an amazing production which grabs you in its vice like grip from the moment you enter the venue and never lets up during its hour and a half duration. Totally up to date and bang on in its premise and execution it is with the aforementioned three a definite must see. Coming up not far behind are ‘The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe’ which is anything but unremarkable and ‘Banksy: The Room In the Elephant’.

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Elsewhere ‘The Anatomy of the Piano’ is a woozily charming piece up at Summerhall a venue also worth a visit for the Gregor Schneider exhibition/ installation which is a powerful resonating work and definitely my favourite of the Fringe this year, or any other. You can only spend five minutes maximum at it and believe me that is in no way long enough. That is all I am saying!

 The weather this year has also been not very festival like although it has taken a slight down turn in the last few days but still preferable to the grey skies, mist and torrential downpours of the last few years. It would seem that 2013 is emerging as the most consistent summer in years and here’s hoping it lasts until after the tourists have gone as Edinburgh in the sunshine only reminds me what a beautiful city it is!

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