It was a relatively early start for me and a long walk down to Leith. My first show wasn't until after lunch, so having read a blog about things to do and exhibitions in Leith, I figured I would explore.
I wasn't disappointed and was rewarded for checking something out "off the beaten track". What I came across was an old military building that has been converted, called Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Blink and you'll miss it.
Inside there was an exhibition 'Edinburgh People: A photographic journey through the lens of an Edinburgh taxi driver'. The hall is quaint, spacious, warm and welcoming and as I looked across the various photos on display I felt really excited to have stumbled across the space. This particular exhibition was only showing for 4 days, so it was with gratitude that I stood there, the heavy clouds burst outside and rain falling heavy on the glass ceiling.
Afterwards I enjoyed a morning roll (best I've had yet on my trips to Scotland) a cup of tea and wrote in my journal while I could hear a young woman do vocal warm up drills in one of the spaces for hire within the centre.
When I was full and could hear the rain had eased off a bit, I head back out onto the street and towards the crowds. My first show and introduction to Fringe was in the heart of the Royal Mile, "Albrecht Dürer: Renaissance Dude".
Holy shit! I wouldn't consider myself an art buff, I enjoy galleries and am someone who can't put into words why I like something or don't, but I do recognize when something attracts me. This show, which wasn't a typical 'show' but more like a comedy stand up lecture, was so fun and heartwarming. I now have a new 'dude' to look out for when I browse art. Among many other things, I think that the fact that he was the first person to draw and name an African woman in a portrait (a very humanist thing to do for that time period) and be the first to create a 'dick pic' was pretty awesome. This is the kind of lecture you wish you had taken notes on, or recorded to listen too again.
And maybe I'm biased, since I participated in the show as one of the audience volunteers, but I think historian Kitty Walsh excelled in sharing her love of Dürer... her enthusiasm in delivery was infectious. I wish her many sold out shows! (Check out my Cookie Monster carved picture below!)
After Dürer, I had time to spare, but not enough for a stop at the hostel and nap. I was starting to feel a bit lethargic and so picked the first place I could think of that was indoors and may have a spot free to sit, the Library!
They just happened to have a free exhibition that I happily spent an hour exploring. ( A collection of photographic and video records from the ill-fated voyage of the Endurance to Antarctica.)
This was a top notch exhibition and has inspirerd me to purchase and read Sir Ernest Shackleton's book and account of the challenging events they witnessed and survived. Today was turning into the day for unexpected and delightful finds!
Then I was off to the 90's for musical "2 become 1". Songs from girl groups in the 90's like Spice Girls, All Saints, B*Witched and hits from the greats like Celine and Shania feature in this show.
It was fun, energetic and original. Although some of the character traits and interactions got a teeny bit repetitive, the way the songs tied together and my own memories they evoked made for a great reminiscence and 50mins. The girls definitely had a knack for their ask the audience moments and spaced them out well throughout the show.
By now I was exhausted. Jet lag had set in and it was everything I could do to keep my eyes open. I opted to walk 2k back to the hostel for the 20 min nap it would give me before heading out again for today's third and final performance.
What do I say about the 'Last clown on earth'? Here's what I thought:
I walked out. Life's too short for s*** you don't like.
Interesting that this show has elected to not accept audience reviews. Interesting that when I looked back at the advertisement (just to see what I paid) the two reviews are typical critical nonsense that doesn't explain what the show is really about, only how it enthralls and lauds it's daring.
I get it, not everything will be to my tastes, and I respect the creative process and everybody's right to it. But, and of course I have a but, this show was one of those self serving shows where the performer is doing whatever the hell he likes in front of and to the audience. (And I mean inappropriate shit (props) flung into and onto audience members, not to mention the physical touching, rearranging and hampering of audience members bodies.) The 'music', aka soundscape, was relentless. The lights, sporadic and at times potentially fit inducing.
But maybe I'm just jaded since the performer started the show late and stopped the audiences entrance to the theatre by meandering nonsensically down the line, in character. Or maybe it's too intellectual and went over my head. Who knows? But I'm a little sore I paid money for it and annoyed I didn't make my escape sooner than I did. (I lasted close to 40 mins from 80mins.) All I will take away from it is the looks of longing from the people I climbed over to escape as I left.
***This picture of the show has more engaging content than the whole time I spent in the theatre. You keep doing you, screaming angst man.***
And then it was dinner time! I ate the free Wednesday night dinner at the hostel, payment was to stay, chat and listen to a sermon. Organized religion ain't my thing but hey, having a laugh with good people is.
With belly full, body close to collapsing and excitement for tomorrow I head to bed.