I made the decision to come back to the Edinburgh Fringe in January but it filled me with dread how I would cope on my own. Jane and I were supposed to come in August 2014, we had accommodation booked, shows paid for however Jane was in hospital having her chest drained to help her breathing.
My flat is good – a penthouse flat in student accommodation (how can students afford this?). It has a small kitchen area, double bed, sitting area with TV and a toilet and shower.
Tony and Jude came down for a couple of days so there was a lifeline and we met for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Joni Mitchell Story – There were several things I didn’t know about her; she contracted polio as a child; had an illegitimate child; an affair with Leonard Cohen (bet that was a barrel of laughs) and married David Crosby (Crosby, Stills and Nash). Her songs were well performed and it brought back memories of Jane – Clouds and Big Yellow Taxi were a couple of her favourites. Music is so evocative.
John Hegley – He’s a modern, humorous poet and likes to put them to music.Very funny with plenty of audience participation and songs you wouldn’t believe could be made to rhyme. How does anything rhyme with Guillemot? Well John Hegley can do it. It seems as though he ran out of material and stretched out the last 10 minutes which detracted from the previous 50.
Mark Thomas – I’ve seen him several times before and he can best be described as a seditious comedian who loves to poke fun at the establishment. Prior to the performance the audience were asked to complete a form to say what the future might hold in the next one year and four years. I stupidly wrote that I expect to find the second love of my life in the next four years not thinking it might be used in the show, how naive of me. He handled it very well and the only really embarrassing part was that he asked all the women in the audience to talk to me after the show, needless to say I was first out the door at the end. The show it was excellent and there were humorous discussions about Trump, May and Corbyn. We voted on which predictions were likely to happen and then he would place a bet on them coming true. All winnings would go to Cultural organisations that had budgets cut by central government. Gets my vote!
Scottish National Gallery Beyond Caravaggio – I wanted to see this because I went to see the RSC perform The Seven Acts of Mercy based on a Caravaggio painting. I’m not an enthusiast for portraits but his use of candlelight is very special with actual light source hidden by a hand or book. The exhibition contained a couple of Caravaggio paintings but the majority were other painters who followed his technique and often copied his composition. Some captured the faces perfectly but others were less in his style. It was an enjoyable morning where I had to rely on my own opinion rather than asking my artistic oracle (Jane).
Assessment – A play about state sponsored euthanasia. In the near future when the government can no longer afford to pay the state pension some faceless bureaucrat comes up with the fact that it would be cheaper to give certain old people a tax-free cash incentive (£30k) plus funeral expenses to die. It would cost the state far less than continuing to pay the pension and of course the cost to the NHS. The target demographic was a widow aged 77 with children who needed a cash injection. This could be me in 10 years. This was serious drama, performed well and left the audience stunned by the reality of it all.
Milton Jones – An hour of surreal one liners none of which I can remember and most too subtle to be funny outside the confines of the venue. He was very funny and the only joke I can remember came in the last five minutes when he asked to audience for subjects. Someone said IKEA and he immediately said he used to work for IKEA and knew most of the 7,000 products that they sold so he asked the audience for a number. Someone shouted out a number and he thought for a moment and then said “sorry that’s out of stock”. A good ending to a very good show.