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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 4

Edfringe 2019

My last day in Edinburgh, always a combination of joyous celebration for my sleep-deprived carcass and much sorrow. 

To the Pleasance for the big Fringe First Awards Ceremony – there were a couple of performances from this year’s Fringe First winning shows, The Patient Gloria and Bobby & Amy, and a closing performance by SK Shlomo, who had also been nominated for the Mental Health Fringe Award. 

oyce McMillan and Stephen Fry at the Fringe First Awards Ceremony

Joyce McMillan and Stephen Fry at the Fringe First Awards Ceremony

Stephen Fry was on hand to help critic Joyce McMillan present awards to the final week of winners.

Later at Pleasance Courtyard, I became aware of a member of the audience snatching a programme from the hand of a young usher. 

‘But I want to sit THERE.’ She hissed, before taking a seat next to me and then putting her head in her hands.

‘Oh my god… I was so horrible to that young man, wasn’t I?’ She asked. 

‘ You were an asshole.You ought to get a grip and go and apologise — immediately.’ I replied.

She did. 

Civil breakdown is never far at this stage of the festival. But there is no excuse for such bad behaviour; the Pleasance, like many fringe venues, relies largely on volunteers. 

dressed

dressed

Anyway, ThisEgg returned to the fringe with dressed, based on the true story of a woman’s response to being sexually assaulted at gunpoint. This is a delightfully layered four-woman show which weaves it’s strands together with accomplished skill and which — like so many shows on the fringe — takes a beautifully messy approach to telling an important story. 

I cried twice watching dressed; tears of pain and joy. I loved it. I loved the costumes, I loved the singing and I loved the degree of self revelation and personal risk taking; a highlight of my week. 

I bump into Producer Denise Silvey, she has four shows on the fringe this year, one of which is ‘Late Lunch With Christopher Biggins’, at Pleasance Dome. 

Late Lunch With Biggins featuring Ian McKellen

Late Lunch With Biggins featuring Ian McKellen

I learn that Ian McKellen will be the special guest, alongside Loose Woman and journalist Kaye Adams. Biggins shines in the role of cheeky chat-show host and it’s all rather a lot of fun. 

In the late afternoon I head to Bryony Kimmings’ sold out show ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’, co-directed by Kimmings and Kirsty Housley.

This mind-blowingly good piece of theatre is about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. Combining ethereal music, personal revelation, clever live film and art installation. 

Kimmings invites us into her recent traumas and marriage breakdown in an on-stage memory palace of dazzling live art: The stage becomes the site of the painful memories. 

I'm A Phoenix, B*tch © Rosie Powel

I’m A Phoenix, B*tch © Rosie Powel

There’s no two ways about it, ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’ is an unostentatious, meticulously crafted ninety-minute performance that is profoundly touching, intimate and powerful. She has given us something, once again, much to long cherish.

You cannot to wrong with a bit of rimming.

The fringe is overdue a new hero and my final show of the day is Post Popular by Lucy McCormick. 

I sat on the front row at this X-rated show – which is excellent in about 37 different ways – that constitutes what I reckon has to be 2019’s definitive Superstar-Has-Landed moment. She is flanked by two largely mute boy toys in tiny pants – and they all sing and dance terrifically. 

Basically, Post Popular is a comedy about history’s famous women – the joke is that there are only four of them: Eve, Boudica, Florence Nightingale & Anne Boleyn.

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular - Holly Revell

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular – Holly Revell

What follows is an outrageous mishmash of cabaret vignettes. Indeed, McCormick’s willingness to look kinda silly while she’s doing her thing is what makes her so compelling. As a final statement she drops her pants while singing ‘Search For The Hero Inside Yourself’ before pulling a Cadbury’s Miniature Hero out of her vagina. 

Thank you, Lucy: I’d never seen a vagina in real life. Now I have. *thumbs up emoji*

So, that’s all, folks. 

It may be time for a digital detox and go off-grid: no blogs, no theatre, no tormenting. I’m removing social media apps from my iPhone (including WhatsApp) and taking some time out.

It feels like the right time to step back and take a rain check for a while. 

See you on the other side, guys.