An occasional satirical column from our underground Fringe pundit.
20th May 2016 – The Launch of Brighton Fringe Fringe
FringeReview has been passed a copy of a leaked, highly secret document, which contains the blueprint for a new Fringe festival in Brighton to launch in 2017.
Known as The Brighton Fringe Fringe, the founder, who, in the document, is named as “Brian X”, announces a new arts festival in the city with the aim of reaching “a target of zero shows within five years”. According to the “Protocols of the Elders of Brian” (as the document is titled), the core idea of the festival is “the achievement of zero growth from a starting base point of at least 2,000 shows”. In 2017, the Festival will offer free registration for as many shows as possible with a major aim of “trumping the current Fringe”. The Brighton Fringe Fringe will then attempt to persuade those shows not to return in 2018 by “irritating, over-charging, and overwhelming them with fear, bureaucracy and professional development to achieve an end-state “final managed reduction to zero.” when the Fringe will then commit collective suicide. Once ZFH has been achieved (Zero Fringe Heaven), Brian X claims that “Brighton will then be able to get back to being a normal city that does art all year round without looking like every other Fringe Festival”. The document also aims to attract sponsorship of over £1 million in year one and then will “piss off the sponsors so each withdraws and we become sponsor-toxic by 2022.”
The document is shocking. It suggests that ZFH is a utopian state for the city “with New Road cleared of performer clutter” and “cafes back to their usual state of fairly empty where I can get a fucking table and do my emails and submit my Arts Council applications in peace”.
We are not sure of the authenticity of the document and it smacks of a conspiracy theory. We contacted our Conspiracy Theory expert, David Oik from Portslade who commented as follows. “I think this is the real deal. But I’m fairly sure it is a front organisation for an even more sinister outfit called The Brighton Fringe Fringe Fringe.”
Watch this space…
30th April 2016 – I hate the Royal Pavilion in its current form
The Brighton Palace Pavilion
I hate the Royal Pavilion in its current form.
Our city of Brighton, with its pier, beach and brightly lit jolly shopping centre offers our foreign student visitors so much retail diversity and it seems that nothing of the edgy, cultural richness of West Street has ever made its way into this tacky old building with its magnolia paint walls and kitsch gift shop selling pop up greetings cards, honey from Worthing bees and bottles of lavender water.
I find it very sad that foreign students arrive in the town and are cluelessly herded through the Pavilion before spending an hour in the designer shops and jewellry boutiques of the Lanes before being fed artisan bread or gourmet pistachio and Beckham eau-de-toilette macaroons on their way back to the station.
Our city deserves better. The fine, minimalist textiles of Primark need better representation in the Brighton Pavilion’s over-showy music room, and some five-stars-scores-on-the-doors-food-hygiene-rated fish and chips from the sea front would add culinary balance to the pretentiously priced tea rooms.
Our city has been enriched in recent years by iconic boutiques such as Sports Direct which sells Michelin Tyre logo tee shirts and yet none of these are on show at the tacky Pavilion. It’s time for change I say. Fuck you, London.
Paul Levy, 3am, Pavilion Gardens Cafe
1st May 2015 – Brighton Fringe is now the largest arts festival on Mars
It’s official! Brighton Fringe, with its over 93 million events in this years’ programme is now the largest arts event on the planet Mars. As Julian Caddy announced at this year’s launch party at Cape Kennedy Cricket Club: “By registering our charity address on the planet Mars we are now the biggest arts festival somewhere and that is lovely.”
Also announced this year was the shocking news that a small amount of greenery on a traffic island on Hangelton Way will not be playing host to a large tent venue. There will be no full programme of cabaret and comedy at the end of the 5A bus route. The good news though is that every other green space in the city will be hosting a Spiegeltent or other wooden-canvas structure.
And it isn’t too late to become an official Friend of Brighton Fringe. Membership tiers offer a range of benefits from “Rusty old iron” to “Diamond”. At the Rusty old iron tier you get 1% off day-old tuna sandwiches in Poundland and a scowl from the Fringe team. At the top end is Diamond Friendship which includes free access to Brighton beach during the day time and lifetime membership of Churchill Shopping Centre.
So, put this year’s Fringe in your diary, or download the new app to your smartphone or tablet – the app is called Not-I-Fringe.
15th April 2015 – Four hundred new theatre spaces open in Brighton
An average of 400 new theatre and performance spaces are opening in Brighton in the weeks running up to Brighton Fringe 2015. In the first week of April, two hundred venues opened in St James’ Street alone. The new Rhinodrome boasts at three seat theatre and bar for two hundred above the old Raw Food Yoga Meditation Centre in Dorset Gardens. Fifteen cabaret spaces have opened on the Old Steiner and ninety-four theatres opened in the North Laines all funded through hot desking facilities in the changing rooms and on their stages.
“I expect us to hit our target of a thousand new venues by the end of May” said Fringe Chief Commissioner, Juliano Caddyshack. “The more the merrier, though a dozen more Spiegelthingies wouldn’t go amiss” he went on.
Some commentators have suggested there simply isn’t the audience to fill all of these new venues. “Nonsense” says Nicky Turnstile, who runs the new Basement below the Basement Underneath the Basement’s new “Sewer Studio” space. “Brighton is a city full of artists. In fact, there are only artists in Brighton so we can all watch each others’ shows.”
And FringeReview can exclusively reveal that a new 28,000 seater theatre clown and mime venue is opening using the old football stadium at Falmer where, it is rumoured, Brighton and Hove Albion are stilll hoping to achieve their aim of playing something called football.
3rd August 2014 – A New Alternative to the Free Fringe
With so many free fringes now here at the non-free fringe, some interesting new alternative non-fringe fringe festivals are cropping up. Alongside the Free Fringe, The Really Free Fringe, the It’s-a-bit Free Fringe, and the Laughing Donkey Fringe Unless It’s a Fiver Fringe, are the new FreeFreeFreeFreeFringestival, the PBY Free Fringe and the PBZ Free Fringe. There’s also the FieldFringe run by Andy Forest.
Perhaps most interesing of all is a new WePayYou Fringe. In this new model for fringe fringes, it is free to get into a show, but it is compulsory for performers to pay you on the way out. You simply hold out your hat and they will grudgingly pop a fiver into it. If you don’t have a hat, just hold out your hand or open your mouth. According to WePayYou Fringe director Peter Butler-Coots, “Audience members also have to pay to get up to Edinburgh and to stay here and it ain’t cheap. In our new model, we recognise that audiences need to have their contribution recognised. It takes a lot of energy to laugh, even more to scowl.”
At a recent WePayYou show, things turned ugly when comedian Lewis Shafter refused to cough up a tenner for an audience member who had laughed throughout his gig. The audience member demanded extra cash for losing his voice and spraining an ankle from falling off his chair laughing. He’s originally asked for £50 but this caused so much laughter in the comedian that he, in turn, asked to be paid for his own laughing.
We’ve also just received news that another new fringe model has emerged in which the venues themselves pay performers to perform at the Fringe based on the crazy notion that there would be no fringe without them and that the venues make huge amounts of cash on their bars. These rumours have been denied. Of course.
25th July 2104 – Further Tram News
After late hour negotiations, Edinburgh City Council has agreed to run the new trams beyond Princes Street and into George Square Gardens. The trams will actually drop passengers at the Bar in the Spiegeltent (Not THE Spiegeltent),, before running on, on recently finished rails to a stop inside the Udderbelly. It will finally stop off at the small table in the Jacket Potato shop on Cockburn Street where tickets can be exchanged for an extra large chilli con carne topping.
Speaking on behalf of the Council, Angus McCandoWontPay, said: “We are happy to demonstrate our flexibility and willingness to work with the Fridge to ensure that our tramps can deliver Fridge goers from the Airport right to the bar of their choice during August.”
We’ve also heard other rumours that taxis will be free throughout the Fringe and that buses will stop to pick you up anywhere along Nicolson street as long as you scowl at the driver.
Rumours that the Trams will be running down to the Edinburgh Fringe’s most southerly venue, south of the city have been denied. A Fringe spokesman told us: “Camden Fringe hasn’t been an Edinburgh Fringe venue for years, not since it voted for independence back in the nineties.”
20th July 2014 The Referendum on Independence
Brighton Fringe has announced a referendum on independence in September 2014. A spokesperson stated: “We believe it is time for Brighton Fringe to break away from Edinburgh Fringe and to go its own way. Fringe director Julian McCaddy told us: “They can take away our Spiegeltent, but they’ll never take away our freedom!” The vote question is reported to be: “Brighton Fringe, in or out or what?”
29th April 2014
The Fringe Ends the Recession
News has reached us that the recession in the UK is over. The National Debt has been wiped out and unemployment has fallen to zero. According to Prime Minister, David Cameron: “This is entirely down to the Brighton Fringe, which now boasts over 3 million events and the creation of two million jobs (admittedly mostly unpaid interns).”
According to Fringe Director Julian Caddy: “I’m delighted that there are now more Brighton Fringe events than bicycles in Brighton. We continue to grow exponentially with over a thousand Spiegeltents and a new base for our operations on our floating head office in the Sea Life Centre.”
28th July 2013
Those egoless normal people
As I head to a train from London to Edinburgh for this year’s Fringe, I well remember some of the irritated comments of fringe performers on the train this time last year. It all reminded me of a workshop I ran in Edinburgh in 2006 entitled “Indifference is a crime worse than murder”.
One young performer on the 11.15 from Kings Cross was particulalry irritated at “normal” people who “have the cheek to infect our journey with their intimidating, uncaringly gentle silence.” “How dare they…” he went on, “thwarting our right to fill the space with self-obsessed and pointlessly detailed talk about our flyers or our audio backing track for the show with their infectious and toxic focus on their families and comments about the beautiful countryside gliding by”.
Another was particularly incensed that an elderly lady “dared to look out of the window and not at us when we were running throught he lines of our vampire horror musical. The bitch!”
The journey up to Edinburgh is usually packed at this time of year with Fringe performers who are nervous enough at how much they’ve borrowed from the bank or their parents to get to the Fringe, without having to face normal travellers “dumping their icy indifference all over our hopes” (So said a solo performer of a piece about Gary Barlow’s torrured artistic journey).
FringeReview’s in-house psychologist, Leslie Lane, explains the root of the issue: “For many Fringe theatre makers, especially fringe ‘virgins’, their performance begins when they leave the house. The train is really their first public try out and they see other fellow travellers as a necessary audience. When those passengers show indifference or, worse, irritation, they feel betrayed, hurt and let down”
We’ll give the final word to Kayleigh, who was bringing her new musical “Lucky Lucky Lucky – the Musical” to a site-specific Australian Themed pub in Leith. “I felt the cold, cruel eyes of the public, wishing me only failure and collapse on the 14:15 from Bedford. I arrived in Edinburgh feeling wronged, abused, even hated by a travelling public that simply didn’t want to understand my work. One even read Fifity Shades of Grey right opposite me without looking up once as I discussed my artistic vision with fellow cast members! Next year I am going to travel in standard class.”
10th July 2013
A New Way to Cope with the Fringe
A few years ago, a much needed innovation came to the Edinburgh Fringe, helping theatre and arts makers to avoid both backache and being over-stressed. Roving chair massage wason offer from several providers where, for a mere ten pounds, a trained massage therapist would ease your cares away with a decent ten minute shoulder rub.
Now, at this years’ Fringe, comes a way to deal with your psychological and emotional tension. It is called Ego Massage.
For a mere £20, an ego masseur (or masseuse) will follow you around for an hour, enstirely agreeing with you and praising you as you self-obsess and blame your fellow cast members, your director, your family, venue, the audience, and of course,the critics, for the state of your show. Using their skilled listening ear and regularly nodding head, the ego masseur will boost your self-esteem by affirming even the most patently stupid things you say.
“I see it as being particularly popular after the frst reviews have come in” says ego massage therapist Connie Tented. “An ego massage is a much needed service at the Edinburgh Fringe and we expect to be very busy indeed. By the way, that’s a gorgeous shity you are wearing – very chic – yougot itinPrimark didn’t you? Great choice! Fab shop!”
6th May 2013
Fringe Ticket Sales 1,000 percent up on 2012. Recession? What Recession?
The Fringe announced this morning that overall box office sales in the run up to Brighton Fringe are four million percent up on this time last year. According to latest figures, every single ticket for every event at the Fringe in 2013 was already sold in advance in 2011. ! for 2 offers had particualry gone well as had the Buy 100 Get none free offer, which rewarded customers for buying out entire evenings.
Julian Coddle, Fringe Executive Assistant Deputy Director said: “Some venues report that sales are so high that they have sold over 100 tickets per night even though they only have thirty-six seats on offer per performance.” According to James Turbine of the well known venue Upstairs in Churchill Square Shopping Centre Or Is It Round the Back of the Car Park: “We have many shows entirely sold out to just one family with 2.2 children who have bought the entire ticket allocation for a complete run.”
“It’s a sure sign that the arts is what people really reach for during a recession” said David Stoppard, whose entire theatre (including bar) was bought by a man from Woodingdean. The Marlborough reopens on Balsdean Road near Cowley Drive Shops in 2017.
And we’ve just heard that the entire Brighton Fringe has been bought by a family from Hangleton. “This is great news for Brighton” said Coddie from London, “Putting the Fringe back in the hands of Brightonians is what it is all about.”
Projections for next year is that, to cope with the increased demand, Brighton Fringe is going to expand and take on some new arts venues in places just north of Brighton, such as Lewes, Hassocks, and Edinburgh. With the help of new sponsors, DeLorean, the Fringe have also purchased The Royal Albert Hall and the Olympic Stadium which will be run by Otherworld Productions.
Meanwhile the 5PoundFringe has reported a drop in ticket sales, especially for free shows. “It’s depressing” said 5PoundFringe Chief Executive Assisant, Brian Mounfield. “People are telling us we are just too cheap. They can’t afford to be seen at such low cost art.”
Recession? What recession? We;ll keep you posted.
19th August 2012
All seats sold at Edfringe during the Olympics and Recessionary Year
FringeReview has received a copy of a leaked document claiming that all seats at most of the larger venues at the Edinburgh Fringe have been sold. Many were purchased many months in advance.
An insider at one of the “Big Four” told FringeReview:
“Most went on Ebay in June. The hard ones have mostly gone to schools and private nursing homes. Padded and velvet ones were snapped up by restaurants and NLP training centres. Most popular have been our long benches which were bought up by arts centres and music festivals along with any threadbare sofas from our studio theatre spaces.”
One venue manager also told us: “We also discovered some of our seats dated back to Mary Queen of Scots and these we have placed into auction. One alone is expected to fetch £10,000, which is suprising as it was being used as a bit of set in a staging of Massacre of Glencoe – the Musical.”
Among other seats sold at the Fringe have been some of the most uncomfortable in the world, rivalled only by low cost airlines and London West End theatres such as the Palladium. As more empty seats have gone onto the market three commodes and fifteen portaloo seats were discovered in use in another studio space near Bristow Square.
So, despite the Olympics, and despite the recssion, there isn’t an empty seat in the Fringe. They’ve all been shipped out of town, several thousand snapped up by some of the fifteen thousand other fringes popping up all over the country.
9th August 2012
A New Assembly Venue in Edinburgh?
I was delighted to discover a new Assembly venue in Edinburgh. Where? In the most unlikely of places. Then again, Edinburgh Fringe is known for shows and venues on allotments, in public toilets, in hotels, and even on Arthur’s Seat.
So, perhaps it isn’t too surprising to come across a new venue at Edinburgh Airport on may way back to Brighton for a short trip before returning North on Saturday.
Clearly, a site specific venue, I was surprised, intrigued, and delighted. The venue is called Assembly Point, a small performance space,, located near a fire extinguisher and an emergency exit. It’s a minimalist place and there are no catering facilities (though there is a cafe Nero nearby). An intriguing logo hints at some kind of site-specific, immersive theatre experience, but I haven’t been able to find any events listed for this venue in the Fringe programme.
I contacted Assembly and was told that they were not aware of this venue at all. “Try the other lot” said a spokesperson. So I telephoned the Assembly Rooms who also claimed no knowledge of the venue. “Does it have a Jamie’s Italian in it?” they added.
So, I can only assume this is what is sometimes referred to as “the third way” – a new assembly for Edinburgh, making what i can only describe as “an assembly of Assemblies” at the Fringe. I waited for an hour, and there was no sign of a performance. Then I checked in for my Easyjet Flight. And what a fucking perfromance that turned out to be.
2nd May 2012
Exclusive: FringeReview gets hold of a leaked copy of the screenplay for the new James Bond Film, Die Another Fringe, starring Julian Caddy and Daniel Craig
Slow sweep from the remains of the West Pier to an office at the bottom of North Street. Camera zoom through upper window to the desk of Caddamangar, who sits in a swivel chair with a seagull on his lap, stroking it. We see the back of James Bond.
Caddaamangar: Ah, Mr Bond. We meet again. How do you like my sweet venue?
Bond: The game’s up Cadamanger! Hand over your brochures.
Caddamangar: But Mr Bond, I could make you very rich, Mr Bond. We have bursaries, many, many bursaries, in many many categories.
(Caddamangar reaches slowly for a red button. He pushes it and thousands of Fringe brochures start to bury Bond alive)
Caddamangar: Now, Goodbye Mr Bond. It’s is a pity we could not work together. But you continue to refuse to get me what I want.
Bond: Bathing machines were not enough for your evil schemes, were they Caddamangar?
(As brochures rise to neck height over Bond, Caddamangar throws the seagull out of the window and lapses into some kind of foreign accent)
Caddamangar: I vont a Spiegeltent. Get me a f****** Spiegeltent, Mr Bond, or your core funding vill be cut!
Bond: Never. It’s time to move on Caddamangar – to move on from Spiegeltents.
Caddamangar: Just a little vun. A tiny little Spiegetent!
Bond: What’s wrong with the Hurly Burly?
Caddamangar: It isn’t round! It doesn’t have little vindows and vooden bits. It doesn’t have an expensive bar!
(Bond suddenly leaps up and bursts through all of the brochures destroying them all with a gadget. Caddamangar recoils.)
Bond: As I said. The game’s up. With my new brochure-blasting Ifringe app, your paper empire is at an end.
(Caddamangar surrenders and starts crying as Bond leads him away at I-phone point)
Caddamangar: All I vonted vos a leettle incy wincy Spiegelytent for my cutesie oldy woldy Steiney.
(Suddenly he turns to Bond)
Caddamangar: How about an upside down purple cow ?
Bond: Now, you’re getting silly. Even the arts hasn’t gone THAT crazy.
Fadeout to credits.
27th April 2012 Box Office Sales Break Records Yet Again at the Brighton Fringe
Box Office sales at the 2012 Brighton Fringe have once again smashed all previous records, and there is still a week to go before the Fringe officially starts. A Fringe spokesperson said: “We are delighted to announce yet another record, even though the country is in the midst of an ongoing recession.” According to official figures, released today, sales of Fringe box offices more than trebled in the months of March and April. With a marked decline in ticket sales across the city, a vast number of box offices have been released onto the open market.
Empty box offices are popular amongst Brighton’s quirky population, and many of its more wealthy residents, especially web designers and property developers who inhabit the many high-ceilinged regency homes along the seafront. Neville Road-Hove, an architect who lives in Kemptown snapped up a box office from the Gardner Centre for a bargain £3,400. “We’ve fitted a rainforest shower inside of it and put it in our spare bathroom. It’s lovely to feel the cascade of water knowing that I’m standing in a box office that sold tickets for DV8 and even Callow.”
A further popular use of old box offices is as a garden feature. At least a dozen now play host to large cacti and vines in the gardens of Norfolk Square and Fourth Avenue. Other uses include site-specific, immersive theatre venues and portaloos.
Box offices began appearing on Ebay as early as February this year, and rumour has it that demand is set to outstrip supply. A box office selling box offices has been set up in the former Past Times shop on North Street. Word on the ground is: first come, first served, so get in there quick. If you aren’t lucky enough to get one, you can at least console yourself with a ticket to one of the many hundreds of shows happening in Brighton this May. Lots of tickets still available… apparently.
18th April 2012 A Plethora of Dining Experiences
In the wake of Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, a whole raft of clone shows have arrived on the Fringe scene. Breakfast News, the Breakfast Experience is an hour of fun packed theatre as you enjoy croissants and coffee at the Old Ship Hotel whilst news readers are pushed around on red sofas delivering spoof news stories and interviewing fake C list celebrities. Test Match Special, the Dining Experience takes place at Jamie’s Kitchen and is a five day long three course healthy school dinner accompanied by live cricket between courses. Post Mortem, the Lunch Time Experience is a three course lunch at the Royal Sussex County Hospital with some accompanying knockabout autopsy fun. Coffee – the coffee experience takes place at Costa Coffee on Bond Street. This groundbreaking site-specific production involves the audience sitting at tables drinking overpriced mediocre coffee whilst staff avoid clearing tables and try to get you to buy high calorie pastries. Dining Experience, the Dining Experience is a seven course meal at the Premier Inn North Street where a number of dining experience shows occur while you are dining. “Sheer, slapstick chaos” says DiningExperienceReview. An new site specific immersive theatre piece is also worth a look. Dining – The Audience Experience involves Dining Experiences sitting down to a three course meal whilst a range of audiences rush in and out applauding between and during the meal. So, if you’d like something a bit different from your usual dining experience, then try a different dining experience at this year’s Brighton Fringe.
8th April 2012
The New One Penny Fringe
A new Five Pound Fringe has appeared on the Fringe of Brighton Fringe which, itself, may or not be on the Fringe of the Brighton Festival. Some commentators view the Brighton Fringe as a Fringe on the Fringe of itself, whereas recent philosophical debate has led to the emergence of a new concept: The Fringe-in-itself.
Organisers of the Five Pound Fringe are attempting to make the Fringe “more accessible and affordable”. Organiser Ryan Satchell told us: “A ten pound note is a lot of money to most people; a fiver is smaller, almost toy money really and, by the way, we see the Brighton Fringe as being a Fringe on the fringe of us, not the other way around.”
But FringeReview can exclusively reveal several ever newer Fringes which have emerged on the Fringes of this new fringe on the fringe of the Fringe (which may not be on the Fringe of anything or may even be a Fringe-in-itself). The 99p Fringe has just launched, offering not only all show tickets for 99p but also a range of out of date toiletries and breakfast cereals printed in Russian and Arabic.This 99p Fringe will be based half way up North Street. Almost in parallel to this and , perhaps as a reaction, the One Pound Fringe has also launched along Western Road. Within hours of this announcement, the Fifty Pence, Twenty Pence and Tuppeny Fringes also released press releases (a planned Half a Groat Fringe apparently didn’t get off the ground due to a budget shortfall), the latter offering “a full range of dance, comedy, physical and site specific theatre” at their new venue The Burrow somewhere off East Street. Tuppeny Fringe director, Doug Mountshaft said “We believe that tuppence a show is more in tune with the recession concious theatre goer of today and our three for fivepence offer is bound to be a sellout”.
But it doesn’t end there. Two even newer Fringes have just arrived on the scene. The Tenner In Your Pocket Fringe will pay all audience members ten pounds for seeing a show, and the Million Pound Fringe, based in Hove, is charging a million pounds for each ticket and also charging arts makers a million pounds to register to take part. Organiser, Bill Spliff said last night: “The Arts should be properly valued and our registration and ticket prices are designed to reflect that.”
In an attempt to stop so many Fringes deluging this fair city and others, the National Association of Fringe Festivals (NAFF) has applied to both trademark and copyright the word “Fringe”. This follows a successful court case in Canada where the word Fringe has been forcibly removed from hairdressing Salons and all fringe festivals that are not bona fide official Fringe Fringe Festivals. Whether such a case would succeed here in the UK remains to be seen. Meanwhile we have just heard that the new Brighton Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe has launched offering a “packed programme of normal day to day activities such as shopping, watching television, checking into Facebook and buying stuff on Ebay.”
More Fringe™© news as it comes in.
12th August 2011
The Royal Mile – deserted!
The new Iphone and Android app, Crowdwhinge, was hacked yesterday morning and the following message appeared several times, before finally being taken down by the app owners. It read: “The Royal Mile is too crowded. No room for any more flyerers”. As a result, this message was retweeted several thousand times as well as reported on many theatre company facebook pages. The result was quick: nobody actually went to the Royal Mile to flyer, though crowds were seen wandering aimlessly along Nicolson Street and in a long line on the path up to Arthur’s Seat.
By 11am on on the 11th August, nobody at all was flyering on the Royal Mile. Street performers were unable to juggle properly because they claimed it was ‘too quiet to be able to hold steady’. “It’s unprecedented – never happened before.” said a Fringe spokesperson. Director of the musical “Musical – The Musical”, Josh Fundcut said: “We saw the tweet and thought: ‘Well, if there’s no room, there’s no point in going there to flyer.’ Apparently everyone else thought the same.”
For three hours there was not a single person flyering on the Royal Mile. Distraught tourists were wandering aimlessly along the Mile begging anyone at all to give them a flyer. It’s the first time “For God’s sake, please flyer me!” has been heard in Edinburgh since the early Seventies. Desmond Reeves was accosted several times whilst walking up the Royal Mile by people demanding he flyer them. “I’m not doing a show!” I explained to them, “I’m a policeman! But no one believed me. They thought I must be doing a show. ‘Go on’ demanded one American tourist, ‘Tell us about your police musical!’ I had to flee for my life.”. Bill Lardy, a manager in local government, also had to run away from people demanding he flyer them. “When I finally persuaded them I didn’t have any flyers to give them, they demanded I give them a tram, and then they started demanding I give the Assembly Rooms back to Assembly. They were like a crazed mob. I thought they were going to kill me!”
The Mile was back to normal in the afternoon. We’ll keep you posted.
5th August 2011
An exciting new venue – south of the City
We’ve received news that X Venues has announced a new venue for this year’s Fringe. X South will be located in Watford and play host to comedy and cabaret as well as a site specific soundscape in its car park entitled “Loud Harmonics of Parking” .
Converted from a year-round abattoir we are promised a venue that “pays homage to the Bohemian cafes of Brighton fused with a post-agricultural feel” says venue manager Edward Waitrose-Poundland. When asked if Watford was a bit far from Edinburgh, Waitrose-Poundland replied: “As the Fringe grows it will inevitably take in smaller outlying towns and villages such as Watford, England and Adelaide. Also the venue is only six hours by train which is less than the time it takes to walk to Leith in Iceland. X Venues now manages nine hundred and three venues across the city and recently announced that box office sales had broken all previous records.
Again, Waitrose-Poundland: “We’ve managed to sell fifteen percent more box offices than in 2010 which proves that the recession hasn’t travelled north of the Watford border into Scotland. We look forward to further increases in box office sales in 2012.” Manager of the newly emerging Watford Fringe, a new Fringe fringe running alongside Prague Fringe is threatening to sue.
2nd August 2011
Review – The Violence of Carrier Bags
Our first review of the Fringe is in, and it’s a mind-breaking site-specific piece…
This site specific piece begins outside Superdrug on Nicolson Street. Already things bode well – not a department store which has already been done by the National Theatre of Wrexham in 2003. Here we have the bold choice of a smaller, retail outlet, intimate but not so small as to be a cliched corner shop installation piece. We gather expectantly in the street. Just before we are asked to switch off our mobile phones and also sign health and safety forms, a Japanese student, standing in the road, at the edge of our cluster of audience is hit by a number 4 bus to Marchmont. We have to wait for an ambulance to arrive and take her to casualty, and about half of us aren’t sure if this isn’t actually part of the performance. A man with a white painted face in a morning suit with a tuft of pink hair gestures silently for us to enter the Superdrug.
As soon as we enter, the lights are extinguished and we are led down into a store room, where the music of Phillp Glass is playing and ballerinas emerge from behind a towering pile of Pampers and the music changes to a child’s musical box. The ballerinas then lead us back upstairs and through the shop outside again. We climb into a waiting boat which takes us along Nicolson street and out into the Firth of Forth.
On the boat, which is powered by cooking oil and recycled lemon juice the white-faced man eats several medium sized carrier bags in a clear and symbolic portrayal of the superficiality of western post-downturn consumerism. The eerie images of the basement nappies still echo tellingly and soul-deepeningly in our minds as the boat finally arrives on an island where two women in cossak outfits are juggling laptops whilst winding red, white and blue starred silks in a powerful and cutting expose of the United States’ relationship with Russia. We stand in silence for an hour and three quarters until the boat takes us back to a small pub called the Wee Wee Wee Wee and we enter to find a room of a thousand ticking clocks, more ballerinas this time juggling coffins with the words “Iraq” and “Menstrual blood” daubed in red paint. Suddenly we realise this isn’t a pub at all, but a cleverly erected art installation; the walls suddenly collapse and we realise we are actually back in the Superdrug on Nicolson Street.
On our way out, we are given empty carrier bags by a semi naked man dressed in receipts. This is a groundbreaking collaboration between the Bolloxkova Collective of St Petersberg and the newly emerging Forfar School of Drama and Business Studies, sponsored by Superdrug, Pampers and the Scottish Arts Council. A major virtue of this piece was the fact that we didn’t have a clue what was going on, where we were nor what the piece was about, creating just the right sense of confusion that epitomising the post-recessionary angst at the heart of western culture. I particularly liked the use of the carrier bags. 5 stars.
27th July 2011
Can it Really be true? A church that practises…religion?
Rumours have reached us of a church in the city of Edinburgh that is intending to practise Christianity during the month of August. The Church, in the Marchmont area has been observed putting up posters advertising something called “Sunday service”, even going so far as to mentioning specific times during the day.
The venue manager, Father George Mcleish was unavailable for comment but released the following statement. “These are scurrilous rumours and we want to make it clear to the public to remain calm and not believe misreporting in the gutter Fringe press. Like all other churches in the city, we’ll be offering a full programme of theatre and comedy, and even some site-specific work in our lovely Crypt-cum-cafe.”
I investigated myself yesterday at 2am and stationed myself in the graveyard near the tomb of a knight’s Templar called Andy of Basildon. And I can report that I saw candles and an acoustic guitar being smuggled into the side entrance to the East Chapel. Also I saw a suspicious looking board being furtively carried inside and caught the word “Alpha” printed in large letters on it.
The practice of using churches for religious purposes mostly died out in the late seventies and, if these rumours are true, the return of Christianity to churches in the month of August stands as a direct threat to the much loved cabaret, comedy and intimate theatre that warms the hearts of so many of the Fringe congregation, not to mention the site-specific use of cellars and crypts.
“What next?” said Ed Lurgen, comedy promoter. “If this kind of thing is allowed to go on, we’ll be seeing community centres being used for…er… the communities they were built for. It would be sheer bedlam! Anyway…”
We’ll keep you posted.
(We are unable to name the church specifically for legal reasons)
Disclaimer: No harm is intended from this column. It’s satire and meant to be funny, for Pete’s sake.