Alison’s Starting To Happen

Five of my shows down and I’m into my groove. Forgive my self-obsession, but any performer here has to be feeling good about their show before they can enjoy anything else about the Edinburgh Festivals. Everything technical is now working, audiences are chunky (substantial, not overweight), and I’m receiving donations enough in my Free Festival bucket to feed myself and my techie (on crisps) so it’s all going really well!
Now, I might get it together to see some more shows. I’ve managed two so far. Firstly, I saw ‘Next!’, a one-woman show about an actor’s life, and particularly about auditions. Kiki Kendrick has written a very tight and extremely funny piece, which she performs with aplomb. At midday on a Sunday (usually exclusively reserved for a broadsheet newspaper and coffee in bed, with a bit of canoodling if I can get it) I hoisted myself to the Assembly Hall on the Mound and laughed like a hyena, all the way through. ‘Next!’ is the sort of show all actors will love, but civilians (non-luvvies) will also appreciate fully. People think they know so much about actors’ lives from celeb-mags, but they don’t know all the rubbish stuff about the machinery of the showbiz industry e.g. the appalling lack of dignity you suffer as you hustle for work, or stand before a panel of bored advertising people who’ve already decided you’re not right to play the housewife in a gravy ad, but who are going to make you do the audition anyway. ‘Next!’ is a wonderful behind-the-scenes portrait of an irrepressible actor being knocked back again and again, and yet, somehow, retaining a desire to act. A masochistic, addictive business, but boy, can it give you some good stories….
Yesterday, I saw ‘Wolf’, which regular readers (who am I kidding? I mean Joe from the tattoo shop who I’ve bribed with Twix’s to carry on reading this blog after he stumbled across it by accident when looking for a swingers’ site) will know was directed by a good friend of mine, so you won’t get a hatchet-job here. Luckily, ‘Wolf’ is a great show and I am able to recommend it, safe in the knowledge that you won’t try to kill me with sticks for false reporting. It’s a joy to see such a big cast on the Fringe (respect to Escalator East for sponsoring it) and all the actors personify wolves in a delicious way, howling and keening, lolloping, nuzzling and generally being scary, seductive, powerful and poignant in the service of conveying the reality and mythology of these tremendous creatures. The audience walks around an atmospheric cave-space, and the wolves move around them. You won’t see many shows like this on the Fringe, and though there’s some sexy stuff in it, it’s the sort of thing young people (I’m wary of saying ‘children’ here) would really enjoy. It’s an experience on every sensory level. If you’re glutted with stand-up comedy, and could do with a bracing dose of Nature (red in tooth and claw), get down to Just the Tonic for 12.15pm.
It’s time for a cup of tea. Oh, for a butler, but I must fetch it myself. I’m writing this in bed, not just to make the title of my show (‘Lady in Bed’, people) have authenticity, but because, like Winston Churchill, I like to use my bed as my office. When I’m not gallivanting around the world, purveying quality minimalist theatre to the artistically starved masses, I spend my admin days largely in the bed, laptop on knees, writing emails and trying to work out how to make enough money to live on through pyramid-selling schemes. Now, at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in an unfamiliar bed, I carry on this tradition, wearing a holey T-shirt and broken spectacles (not an edifying sight). But, at 4.55pm this afternoon, I will be my groomed and glamorous self, poised onstage at The Big Cave at Laughing Horse@The Hive, ready to give you my all. Come and say hello afterwards and we’ll repair to a bistro (not you, Joe, I can’t bear looking at that ‘bleeding rat’ tat on your face – what were you thinking?).


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