After being here in Edinburgh for ten days and only managing to see two shows so far, I tried to make up for it today by packing some shows into my schedule. My criteria were that I had to see the shows for free (nobody believes I'm on a budget, but sadly I am) and I was just going to see whatever took my fancy next. I was also quite amenable to flyering, being a champion exponent of the art myself.
So the first show I went to was chosen as much because I'd been well flyered for it as anything else. It was Helen Keen's show The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival. A very enjoyable show, Helen is witty, literate and entertaining and tells stories inspired by her ancestor's actual arctic exploration, and looking at the history of such nonsense. The show includes some very nice shadow animation, and reminded me of the fine cartoon animation in Bec Hill's If You Can Read This My Cape Fell Off which I enjoyed last week.
I hoped to see a second show not long after Helen Keen's, lining up my first Free Festival show Oscar Wilde's Lord Arthur Savile's Crime. But when I turned up at the Counting House I found it was cancelled because, I was told, the performer had swine flu. And so the epidemic begins.
I next tried to get to There Are Jokes In It on the Free Fringe at Espionage, but it was packed to standing-and-not-breathing-room-only, so I headed back to the Gilded Balloon where the next show up was to be something with Nun in the title. But I met my good friend Dan March outside the venue and promised to go to his show. That wasn't for another 45 minutes, so I ended up killing a lot of time and doing a lot of to-ing and fro-ing before I saw my second show, Dan March's Goldrunner.
Goldrunner looks back over Dan's life in the light of his 1991 appearance on Blockbusters, and grabs the audiences from the start with very funny true stories delightfully performed and hilarious clips from the original show. And he had a deserved full house. I grabbed the very last free seat, which was a good thing, as my schedule would have been way off target if I hadn't got in.
I tried after that to go straight to A Team The Musical, but it was sold out, which is how I found myself in The Princess Cabaret, which is definitely the best show I've seen in Edinburgh so far this year.
Telling the stories of various Disney princesses from Beauty & The Beast to the Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid to Snow White in a series of comedy sketches and songs, it filled me with admiration and envy. I wish I'd written half of those sketches or songs. Genius ideas like how the Sleeping Beauty would react to the world 100 years later, to the reality of how rubbish Alladin is compared to his princess wife are dealt with excellently, and the songs have some great original music, cracking witty lyrics and brilliantly snappy delivery. Highly recommended.
3 shows in a day, and maybe I can do the same tomorrow (although I do have to flyer too, so we'll see). Now watching King Kong on ITV, and about to miss the ending of it in order to go do my show. Oh it's a hard life.