Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A note from Edinburgh

I have a few hours between shows this evening, so I thought I would post some lines to my half-forgotten blog. I've been seeing four shows a day since my arrival - and in between dashing to different sights in Edinburgh - so I'm fairly exhausted, if happy. The Fringe Festival is, indeed, like no other theatre festival I've ever attended - even if, to tell true, there's no quality control (anyone with the chutzpah and determination to snag a venue is officially on the list). But then again, did I really expect that the hand-puppet Much Ado About Nothing or the lip-synched Faust in a Box was going to work? In short, at the Fringe there are a few major, well-funded productions (which quickly sell out), and then zillions - and I mean zillions - of no-scenery, collegiate or amateur pet projects that are strictly hit or miss. Sometimes, it's true, they do hit the mark (both the rap and the folk-rock versions of Darwin's "Descent of Man" were, believe it or not, a riot), but I've been enduring a fair number of misses, too. Every time you step back out onto the Royal Mile, however, and find it teeming with thousands of theatregoers, and buskers, and live performers (within yards you'll find an African choir, a group of acrobats, and the cast of Sweeney Todd), you immediately find a weary smile has returned to your face. It's just incredible to be in a city in which it seems everyone is living and breathing theatre or music or dance. And then there's Edinburgh itself - a gothic fantasy of towers and turrets and dungeons and dark passages that feels like some sort of theatrical character in its own right. More when I return - I have to get ready to check out some sort of "Black Sea Cabaret" in a few minutes. That is if I return. I may just stay on till the money runs out.

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