The Edinburgh Festivals - The Fringe
Once again the standard is very high. Stand out productions include Fringe First Award winner Lockerbie Unfinished Business. Written and performed by David Benson, based on the forthcoming book by Jim Swire (father of Lockerbie victim Flora) who has campaigned for years to find the truth behind the hype - i.e. who was actually responsible for the tragedy. As always, Benson's research and commitment illuminate his material. Michael Morporgo's Farm Boy (adapted by Daniel Buckroyd) tells us more about Joey and Albert, much loved from the hugely successful War Horse. This two-hander, beautifully acted by John Walters (Grandpa) and Matt Powell (Grandson) shows the relationship between Albert's son, now an old man, and his grandson. I would expect both of these shows to reach London.
Other shows well worth seeing include Forgotten Voices, taken from the memories of WW1 survivors, at the Royal Scots Club, The Cherry Orchard at St. Ninian's Church Hall (one of my favourite venues because they present very good work every year), I Wish You Love at Radisson 2, described as "A conversation between Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich", is sensitively written and excellently acted and sung by Clare Chandler and Babette Bell (if you think about it, the songs alone should make this one worth seeing).
Tayo Aluko's performance as the great singer in Call Mr Robeson at the Zoo Roxy received well deserved success; he is touring with the show between 25th September-11th December 2010, details on his website.
Do We Look Like Refugees at the Assembly George Street, using recordings collected from the Tserovani IDP camp, was another sell-out success, finely conceived and performed, each actor slipping from one character to another and back again, but we were always clear who was who. The performance was mostly in Russian (or Georgian?) with some English, and English subtitles where necessary. The language should not put off anyone who has a chance to see this production; much of the time I was not aware that I was not listening to English actors!
Work-a-holic David Benson's second show this year is The Singalong Glee Club, is sheer delight. The Benson magic had his audience singing lustily (even me, and I usually loath singalongs!). It was quite an experience to see both Benson's shows in one day, but probably was needed by him after performing Lockerbie earlier in the day.
Thousands of shows at hundreds of venues every year. I can only write about those I manage to see myself, but if you hunt the Internet you will find more info.
Look out, also, for The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, a real delight, which is touring now.