The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. One hell of a fantastic, lively and enthralling month. Set in the beautiful city of stone and seagulls, a mix of the most eccentric thespians and comic geniuses flock up and down cobbled streets thrusting flyers this way and that. The Royal Mile was a paper chain of people bursting with pride to tell you all about their particular show. The Mile radiated enthusiasm and glum faces were scares. It is difficult to pick which performances stood out most strongly for me, I had around 40 to choose from, but I have finally produced this list.
Set in an unused library, still inhabited by crazed librarians, murder and ambition lurks in a dusty corner. The villainous Hardbach, a librarian hording a firm hatred for books, attempts to bump off the Head Librarian and anyone else who stands in the way between him and the top job. Silly, ridiculous and cleverly comic, The Librarians was highly entertaining and ingenious with a very good script, which held a couple of true comic gems, and superb character actors. It was a perso nal favourite of mine.
Yes, this was a family show but that did not stop it from being one of the smartest, most entertaining piece of theatre I saw. By chance, I saw the play twice and each time I left smiling uncontrollably. Six actors, each bubbling with enthusiasm, two very handsome violinists and five lovingly told stories: Tommy’s nightmares, the prince, the evil baron, the lost things, the wonderful words. The actors worked seamlessly together to create a performance which was funny and touching.
Four incredible actors performed three plays each day, Agamemnon, Morgana and Macbeth, on an immersive set; a World War One bunker full of sandbags, dust, old maps and faded photographs, complete with tiny benches for the audience to sit on. Morgana is my pick of the three for its inspired plotline and script. Taking influence from Arthurian legend, the play centred around three English officers, Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot, the last of their school boy brotherhood left fighting in the trenches. The script rolled with banterous, lively quibbles and a couple of sweetly, harmonised numbers. A joy to watch.
Number Two: Blam! @ Pleasance Grand. From Kristján Ingimarsson//Neander
Blam: the one everyone was talking about! Described on their poster as ‘Die-Hard meets the Office’, Blam delved into the imagination of four desperately bored office workers who begin to act out a stunning spectacle of cheekily choreographed boyish fantasies. Their imagination sprung swiftly from adventure to thriller, and from sci-fi to romance – transforming a plain and simple pokey office into a mash of broken walls and smoky floors. An energetic, powerhouse of a show – ranging from classic slapstick to moments of genius comedy sequences! My first show of the Fringe left me with a superb buzz.
The Fringe is famed for its comedy but my top show stands out for the great emotional surges it evoked in me. A political drama/black comedy/cabaret about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. A sassy drag queen ordered his chorus of sexy soliders to enact the story of a young Jewish boy growing up amidst war, hatred and fear. The darkly gleeful numbers were reminiscent of Cabaret, in particular ‘If You Could See Her (The Gorilla Song)’. The actors twisted between bouncy songs to moments of naturalistic agony, a mother crying over her dead son, which were suddenly broken by our MC who laughed and reminded us it was simply acting. You weren’t allowed to cry; your emotions were chained by the unemotional banter from the MC yet it was the most moving piece of theatre I have seen in a long time. A play which has left me emotionally stunned by the beautiful nastiness of the production.
Eve Wersocki Morris