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Blog: 48 Hours In Edinburgh

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I went to Edinburgh again last week, this time with Mr S Hewitt to experience a 48 Fringe SPECTACULAR!

We met up just before 8am at Kings Cross station and had a DELIGHTFUL trip up on the train, furnished with BREAKFAST and HOT DRINKS in our luxurious carriage - as OLD HANDS we had of course booked First Class, and as luck would have it we managed to nab The Best Seats In The Carriage i.e. one of the two doubler seats right in the middle where there's an extra big GAP so loads of room. It was ACE!

As we arrived into Edinburgh I felt, as usual, TERRIFIED with NERVES. "No, BODY", I said to myself, "I know Steve is here but that doesn't mean you're doing a show. BE NOT AFEARED!" I was so nervous that I was forced - FORCED - to go with Steve to The Halfway House for our traditional Just Off The Train Pint. It was extremely helpful!

We had a bit of a wander round (including a visit to The Cold Town Bar which was VERY nice) before we split up for our first shows. I went to see my nephew Mr O Grant in "A Chorus Line: High School Version" which I was expecting to be like a school play but OH MY GOODNESS it REALLY wasn't! The whole thing was SUPER PROFESSIONAL, the LIGHTS and the SOUND and the COSTUMES were all top notch, and CRIKEY but those kids could sing! PROPERLY too - Oliver was, of course, the BEST, but there was a LOT of dancing and singing all round. It was ace!

ALSO I was the only person in the audience aged between 16 and approx 70 - there were a lot of very proud Grandparents in the room, and they had every right to be!

Steve and I regrouped in The Bow Bar and then went to check into our HOTEL - or rather, Student Halls. I was expecting it to be like Halls in OLDEN TIMES e.g. a BROWN room with a SINK in the corner, but it was actually Quite Nice. I suppose Halls have to be like that nowadays as they spend about 25% of the year pretending to be hotels. It was also very quiet, almost as if it was full of grown-ups going OUT to do things, rather than KIDS staying in and having parties etc.

I'd intended to go and see the Basil Brush show next, but I read a review that said it wasn't very good so, rather than spoil my impressions of a childhood HERO (who is looking very good for his age etc etc) we went to see "Awww Snap - Marvelus" which was two grown men titting about for an hour with cheap props being silly about superheroes. It was a KRAZY IDEA but, for some reason, we rather liked it!

Memories become slightly hazy at this point but I think it was somewhere around here that we ended up in The Royal Oak AKA The Folk Pub. It is a tiny little place and when we barged in it was FULL of people, with about six musicians ranged around the edges, taking AGES to tune up for their last song. We put money in the JAR which had time to go round the whole pub while they were faffing, and then the singer gave a speech about how it was 50 years since the start of The Troubles and how this was Important (she self-described as a "Millenial" and most of the others looked the same age) so they were going to do a song all about it. "OHO!" thought Steve and I. "Get ready for an ANGRY song about the iniquities of British Rule with SWEARS and possible IRA mentions!"

And then they played "Zombie" by The Cranberries. This was the MOST HILARIOUS part of our entire trip and we had to go outside to a) laugh b) swear. Then a man who looked like he'd been squashed in a car compactor turned up and played The Border Pipes and it was ACE!

My final show for the day was "The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Company" who, as ever, were BRILL, but as I staggered off home Steve headed off to see some WRESTLING-based shows. He loves that sort of thing!

We began our second day with John Osbourne's "You're In A Bad Way" which was a GRATE and very MOVING storytelling show. It ended with him playing "The Lesson Of The Smiths" on his iPod which i THINK may be because he'd seen us watching, but could possibly now be part of every show. I would support it if so! Next we split up, with Steve going for more wrestling and me watching "If You're Feeling Sinister: A Play With Music" which was a bit ODD. I, like pretty much everybody else there by the looks of them, had gone because I love the album, but there wasn't actually much of it IN the play and what there was was very short and oddly detached from the story, which for some reason was about a robbery of a painting. The play itself was a bit rubbish, in fact, and fairly pointless but GOLLY the DIRECTION and especially the ACTING was AMAZING. Both actors were INCREDIBLE and they way it was all put together was BRILLIANT, it's just that the material was a bit crap. ALSO, vitally, they didn't do "Judy And The Dream Of Horses" AT ALL!!!!

I then went to see Tom Parry who was BRILLO, especially in the face of some, let's say "boisterous", older people who clearly thought they were co-starring in the show. He dealt with it very well and was EXTREMELY funny throughout. I then went and found Steve, who was with Tamsyn and Jo from Northampton, had a beer, and then we went to see Josie Long doing her new show up at The Stand. She also was very good - it's almost as if only going to see people you've seen before is a way of ensuring you see stuff you're going to like when you're on a time limit.

And talking of people I'd seen before, my final show of the trip - after dropping into The City Cafe to do a pub quiz and to get Steve his tea - was Steve Lamacq's "Going Deaf For A Living" which has come on A LOT since the last time we saw it - it was GRATE then, but this time it was super tight, full of LOADS more gags, a lot less audience participation, and felt like a Proper Show all round. It was ACE!

After the show I sat in the Teviot Lounge upstairs for a little while and had a moment of PROFOUND NOSTALGIA as I realised I was sitting at the same window that I'd sat at 29 years ago on the final night of my first ever trip to The Fringe. A LOT has changed since then, but the building is still pretty much the same and the motivating forces of the Fringe - BEER and LARKS - are unaltered.

Next morning I was heading back alone, accompanied by a carriage full of various VERY POSH LADIES, mostly in their sixties, who talked Very Loudly And Confidently all the way back. I tell you what, if anybody ever suggests that a private education encourages intelligence, get them to travel First Class on a long journey and MARVEL at the fact that Posh People are utterly incapable of understanding how seat numbers work!

I got home TIRED but full of GOOD TIMES, and also very pleased to discover that it's possible to enjoy The Fringe without having to spend a fortnight, and several thousand pounds, doing your own show! Hoorah!

posted 20/8/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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