Notes from the Fringe
– a series of blog posts from SHP’s CEO, Ron McAllister –
Day 3 – Monday 22nd August: The day of the glittering high-heeled shoes
I woke up to discover this morning’s British council appointment is postponed until tomorrow.
Great – that gives me more time to refine schedules and compare my choices with The List’s top ten. I am pleased to see that two shows that I have already booked for are included – “Us/Them “and “The Marked” – I’m looking forward to them all the more now.
It’s impossible to see all the festival shows I want to see. No wonder, really, when you consider there are 2,500 productions on the fringe this year – every shop/bar/school/bus and van is transformed into a venue!
It was a disappointing start to the day’s viewing. “Dear Home Office” was a piece about young refugees coming to Britain, told in their own words. I thought this would be illuminating but it was badly constructed and unconvincing. What a pity.
Next up was “Stop the Train” – a musical in which commuters in the South of England are forced to confront their inability to communicate – through a glorious series of songs. This was pure entertainment – and I can see our community performers getting their teeth into this one!
One of The List’s top ten followed. “The Marked” was a well crafted piece of mask theatre which reminded me of Trestle Theatre in their hey day. Stylistically one or two points didn’t work for me but I’m meeting their producer tomorrow to discuss that before considering the show for SHP.
But the highlight of the day for me was Australia’s premiere circus theatre company Circa’s show “Closer”. This was a masterclass in world class circus theatre – at times beautiful, at times playful – but always breathtaking.
I am proud to say that I was the producer of Circa’s first ever visit to the UK – I took the company, to great acclaim, into Oxford, Brighton and of course SHP back in 2006. Does anyone remember their exquisite “The Space Between” which was performed to a members-only capacity crowd in the Wilde Theatre (in the round), followed by an Aussie barbie outside the Gallery? That was a great night.
To finish the day in style it was interesting to see the subtle changes circus performers make to their routines to transform them into burlesque routines for the late night Circus Hub show “Sweatshop”. It’s amazing the difference a glittering pair of high heeled shoes can make!
And so to bed