As the Edinburgh Fringe gets under way this final preview will attempt to round up some of the acts and events that aren’t so easy to categorise, or that I have overlooked.
First up is a bit of a personal hero, and someone everyone should see at least once in their lives. He is John Cooper Clarke. A performance poet who manages to be profound and funny he has survived changing times and fashions to perform constantly over the last 30 odd years. In the Fringe programme he is categorised as comedy, but anyone who familiar with his work knows that humour is only a small part of the package. Poems like Evidently Chickentown, I Wanna Be Yours and Beasley Street never lose their power. He is on between 13th and the 19th of August at the Udderbelly’s Pasture in Bristo Square. Here he is many moons ago with the aforementioned Beasley Street:
Next up is a bit of ballet from Newcastle based balletLorent who make their Fringe debut at the Zoo Roxy (13th-21st) with Blood, Sweat and Tears, a performance which looks at how the new arrival of a child effects a young couple, physically, mentally and emotionally. Now ballet isn’t always my thing, but I have it on very good authority that this company are well worth your £10 admission price (£8 for concessions). Their leader Liz Lorent was once choreographer for Scottish Dance Theatre, and this looks as if it could be one of the highlights of this year’s Fringe. Here’s a short clip:
And now, as they say, for something completely different. One of the recent growth sports in the western world is the roller derby. Its recently made the big screen with the Drew Barrymore directed movie Whip It, but there have been teams in Scotland for a few years now. One of the better known ones are Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie’s Roller Girls, and they are bringing their sporting mayhem to the Fringe as they present The Prisoner of Azkaslam. It is for one night only (7th Aug) when they take on the London Rockin’ Rollers at Meadowbank Stadium and I think a good time for all will be guaranteed, especially if you are a fan of 1975 classic movie Rollerball.
I’m going to finish up with a bit of musical biography in the shape of Hit Me! The Life and Times of Iain Dury. Written by Jeff Merrifield, this production garnered rave reviews for its West End run, and even if you’re not usually a musical fan you are guaranteed to hear some of the best tunes and lyrics of the late 20th century, and at least they are portraying a life worth such a musical tribute. It is on at the Gilded Balloon Teviot for the whole festival (check programme for exact details), but it will be at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow for three nights in September (21st-23rd) so those who can’t make Edinburgh, and are in or near Glasgow, can catch it then and ‘toast his decline with some Thunderbird wine’. Here’s the man himself with The Blockheads, including Wilco Johnson on guitar, doing Sweet Gene Vincent:
So ends my Edinburgh Fringe previews, although I will be writing about particular shows, both in preview and review, over the next few weeks. There will also be a preview of the Edinburgh Book Festival which starts on the 14th August, and at least one post reviewing some of the art exhibitions on in Edinburgh over August.