EFF 2018: diary

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As you could see from my preview, I had a lot planned for my week in Edinburgh. And as it was my very first time heading up there in festival season, I thought it might be a good idea to keep a bit of a diary so you can see what a crazy mess I got myself into…

Saturday 11 August 2018

Aside from arriving at the station thinking my train was at 10.10am when in fact it was 10.43am… I am grateful that I was early rather than late, but still! A pretty smooth journey though, and I’m definitely glad that I chose to go via the west coast with Virgin Trains rather than LNER – plus it meant I got to see the beautiful Cumbrian countryside. I was prepared for crowds in Edinburgh, plus I’m used to people being annoying all the time in London, but I wasn’t expecting everyone to behave like utter twats. I mean, what did they think I was dragging behind me? I did not appreciate having to play dodgems with a heavy suitcase. But at least my guest house seemed to be in a pretty good spot, so I had the chance to quickly get myself together before heading out to pick up my press pass (yay!) and finding out where the hell my first show was… I just about managed it – then getting to my second show was a lot easier, though that was when I found out that they also do the military tattoo at the same time as the festivals. Obviously.

Shows: Vivian’s Music, 1969; Ed Fringe: The Musical Revue

Sunday 12 August 2018

My first full day at the Fringe, and I wasn’t expecting things to get stressful quite so quickly… As I mentioned in my preview post, there was a bit of toing and froing about some of my press tickets – and the more I was asked to confirm my requests, the more mistakes began to creep in. (It’s a perfectly natural thing, seen in DNA replication for one thing…) What really didn’t help this morning was that I had a horrible headache and was rather knackered; I managed a nice little family show first thing, and had somewhere that I could sit in the dry to catch up with some writing, but it was when I moved on to my next venue that I started to lose the will to live. We got there in the end (I’ve managed to shed a show, but I really didn’t care by that point as I was on the verge of public crying), but it really shouldn’t be so hard for both parties. Anyway! My shows just got better as the day went along, and I even managed to do a bit more wandering around later on – the rain stopped, plus I was waiting to hear if I had anything else to go to in the evening. As much as I would’ve loved to see Ed Gamble again, I’m glad I had the evening off to rest and still catch up on stuff!

Shows: Finding Peter; Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play; Great British Mysteries: 1599?

Monday 13 August 2018

After having my big stressy day a lot earlier than expected, Monday has been far better for me. I mean, the rain didn’t want to give up until much later on, but as Fifty-Fifty Chance of Rain has been in my head since Saturday night… With my first show I was rather pleased that I’d managed to pluck it out of the listings to plump up my schedule – and even happier to learn that it’s going to London for Camden Fringe next week (so check out Bottled Up at The Cockpit!). Then the next two shows gave me the opportunity to catch up with a couple of lovely London folk; an unexpected bonus of frequenting the fringe circuit is that you end up encountering the same people quite a few times (whether they’re writing, acting, techie), though it may take a while for you to actually meet, and Edinburgh is a rather ideal spot to do that. So, aside from one not-so-good show (which I had to fight to get into), today’s made me feel much happier & at home.

Shows: Bottled Up; When You Fall Down: The Buster Keaton Story; Bite-Size Plays Presents: Neverwant; …and Peggy; Shit-faced Showtime: Oliver With a Twist

Tuesday 14 August 2018

The first morning without rain! Well, for a while anyway. Enough time for me to wander round to Grassmarket to see if my first review had made it onto a poster (it hadn’t, pfft!) and then wander back up the slope a bit to see my first show. And the massive gap between the first and second of my activities for the day meant I could really get some work done – the café on the first floor of the Gilded Balloon Teviot venue is my go-to venue for a cup of tea and a chance to get on with some writing, and I’ve been rather lucky about getting somewhere to sit in there each time I’ve needed it… For the afternoon I couldn’t resist taking a trip back to my childhood for Dad’s Army (though I wish the staff had let me join in with the actual afternoon tea as well!), and then straight back over to the Courtyard to catch something I was supposed to see in London earlier this year. It may have been a slightly quieter day than originally intended, but that was quite enough for me.

Shows: Hecate; Dad’s Army Afternoon Tea Hour; Medea Electronica

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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Double breakfast day! And it was definitely a good day for this to happen, with it being a rather long one… I started off in the best way possible with some more from the Bite-Size team – I had been warned that the audience will basically laugh at anything, but I found myself joining in! As well as it being a great combination of writing & performances, maybe just starting the day with some comedy is enough to get you laughing hysterically. Somehow managing to find the odd place to sit down and catch up with reviews, but then the shows just keep coming… At least one of today’s shows wasn’t theatre, so that broke things up a bit (and reminded me that I do need to keep up my science), and then I finished the day with two of my most hotly anticipated shows of the trip – even though Shit-faced Shakespeare’s 10.50pm start time did extend the day somewhat. I was supposed to have yet another show before Hamlet, but as I never ended up getting an official confirmation I wasn’t keen on a wasted trip…

Shows: Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show; Ladykiller; Mark Thompson’s Spectacular Science Show; My Right/Left Foot – The Musical; Shit-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Thursday 16 August 2018

Not the greatest start to my final reviewing day: I was supposed to be at The Cat in the Hat, but due to technical difficulties they ended up letting people in 15 minutes late and that would’ve put me at risk of missing my second show of the day (which was far more of a priority for me). And I’m so glad I did that, as WHITE was quite the experience – and it was really great to have a quick chat with Koko Brown afterwards. Rather smugly, I only paid for one ticket on this trip and it was worth every one of those five pounds… I’ve wanted to make it to one of Harry and Chris’ shows since seeing them on the Russell Howard Hour, and the cramp in my cheeks from smiling & laughing confirmed that it was worth the wait. Then it was back to ‘work’, with my final two shows just around the corner from one another! It was good to end on a slightly surreal note, and to have some time later on in the evening to get on with some more writing.

Shows: WHITE; Harry and Chris Save the World; Flies; Thor and Loki

Friday 17 August 2018

Despite some downs, it’s been a pretty great week. So it felt rather odd this morning knowing that I had no more shows left! Though I was glad to finally make it to the National Museum of Scotland, as I’d booked for their current exhibition Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish pop – and in the end I was there all morning… If you have any interest in music then I definitely recommend you check it out. So then it was time to pick up my suitcase and head to the station! Another smooth train journey (aside from the intermittent weird high-pitched noise in the carriage), and I managed to get 3.5 reviews written without falling asleep. Then eventually – and I mean eventually, thanks to TfL & Southeastern – I could collapse at home and sleep for the weekend…

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So… See you next year, I guess?

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