Fringe Benefits Pt 2

It’s now only 3 sleeps till I’m allowed to go home and I thought I’d write an update to THIS BLOG as some people seemed concerned that I was a bit miserable. Fear not all three people that read this, I’m really honestly not. It is hard to get the Douieb down, and I can wholeheartedly say that this has, on the whole, been a very fun fringe indeed. After several days of slight fear I took part in a show called Massaoke last night which is where you essentially get to shout a song at an audience while they shout it back at you in a collective spirit type way. I got to shout ‘Feeling Good’ by Muse on account of the song I wanted to do not being available and the version of the song I got that I actually like (aka Nina Simone’s one) not being suitable for late night shouting. Several beers in and much shouting and leaping around later, the cathartic effects of karaoke have worked wonders and despite having very little voice at all left, I’m very cheery indeed.

I can’t give all the credit to singing badly. Some of it must go to all the shows I’ve seen this year that have made me howl with laughter and really appreciate how broad and exciting live comedy can be as a medium. I’ve seen more shows this year than I usually do, as part of a concerted effort, and thanks to our Phoenix Fringe in London beforehand allowing me to see a ton of previews too. So, deep breath, all of this lot were great and worth seeing if you ever get a chance:

Trygve Wakenshaw, John Henry Falle aka The Storybeast, Lolly Adafope, Let Luce, Abigoliah Schamaun, Bec Hill, Andrew Maxwell, Annabelle’s Skirting Board Adventure, Max and Ivan, Thom Tuck in Scaramouche Jones, Sam Simmons, Keith Farnan, Nish Kumar, Tom Ballard, Laura Lexx, Tez Illyas, Mark Thomas’s new show Trespass, Daniel Kitson’s Polyphony, Nick Doody, Sadie Hasler’s Pramkicker, James Hamilton, Jena Friedman, Adrian Minkowicz, The Hackney Colliery Band, Phil Nichol, Tony Jameson, Rob Mullholland, New Diorama’s Down and Out In London and Paris, and Limmy who I saw at the Book Festival and was amazing. I think that’s everyone though I’ve probably forgotten someone and will feel awful about it later. So not as much theatre as I would’ve liked, or as much music, but that is what tends to happen unfortunately.

Other fringe highlights include spotting some of the Perseids Meteor Shower with a motley crew lead by astronomer Mark Thompson as we stood in the Meadows and stared at the sky. Meeting tons of lovely people as per every year. Escaping for a day to finally see The Kelpies and   the Fife coast line. Oh and all the ridiculously nice things people have said to me after my show. Now, I should warn you, I hate dealing with praise. Hate it. I feel awkward and I don’t know how to respond to it. I’ve avoided even putting stars from reviews on my posters this year because it feels like petty showing off and smug indulgence. So I write this on my own blog tentatively and with the hope that if you read my irreverent ramblings even slightly frequently you’ll know I put this here not to boast but more to record it somewhere because I was so touched and chuffed by it. I’ve had so many lovely comments post show that it’s been genuinely overwhelming. Today a young woman stopped me in the street today and told me ‘thanks’ because my show ‘gave her hope.’ Last week someone said ‘thank you for existing’ to me as they left, which left me speechless. I had no idea what to say to either of these but I’m so very pleased it’s been enjoyed by people. What more could I actually want? Nothing, I think. Well the only other thing would be leaving the fringe without a lose, and this year I’ll have actually managed that, and instead gained money. So, yeah, pretty lovely all round.

Yet despite all this I’m still so ready to go home. As I’ve repeated hundreds of times due to a lack of sensible coherent thoughts anymore, I’ve actually enjoyed this fringe for once, yet it is still too long. Michael J Dolan has written this very funny piece on it HERE. Doing shows every day for over three weeks straight isn’t healthy for anyone. The adrenaline peaks and crashes hit you with highs and lows several times a day and it’s exhausting. I’ve met several American acts who’ve said it’s crazy to do such a thing. I’m really starting to think it isn’t healthy. General consensus is that two weeks would be better. Audiences would be more full. Performers wouldn’t go bonkers. But venues would lose money so it will never happen and we’ll just keep talking about it every year as we put ourselves through this mad gauntlet again and again.

I’ve only 6 shows to go now and then I can go home. I’ve driven up here this year and I fully aim to be in my car and out of the city by 4.30pm on Sunday after I’ve finished my show. And as I drive away I’ll no doubt start to miss it all immediately and start planning for the next one.