Edinburgh Festival inspiration

28 September 2015

As we draw close to the end of the year, we look back to August and when Team Private Drama headed to the Edinburgh Festival for the Bank Holiday weekend. The sky was blue and we had enough shows booked to make us all feel pretty smug.

We headed straight to the Traverse and Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour. We loved it straight away, as soon as the sweetly sung Mendelssohn segued into the teenagers producing their illicit fags we knew it was a winner. Six Catholic school girls travel down from Oban to Edinburgh to take part in a choral contest, although their real long-awaited mission is to get drunk, smoke and get off with a guy. The girls play all the characters brilliantly, from the lary bloke to Sister Condom. It’s rude, raucous, funny, the singing’s great and the story is heartfelt and compelling. When it comes to London, GO.

So we emerged from that singing ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and wishing we could do it with a convincing Scottish accent. Our next stop was Adam Riches in Coach, Coach. As the least sporty member of the team, I was grateful I had watched most of Friday Night Lights as the show relied on the spoof sports movie – not my forte. However, a brilliant finale and we loved gormless Memphis Alabaster’s two left hands.

Summerhall is a great venue, so refreshed with a delicious Pickering’s Gin served from a stylish silver stream parked under the blue sky, we took our seats in a rather warm theatre for Paradise Lost (Lies unopened beside you). This is a remarkable gallop through the story of creation and Ben Duke does it with a charismatic flourish. We particularly loved the scene with God and Lucifer sharing a flat, in fact the whole invention of God as an infatuated admirer of Lucifer is very funny. It is hugely creative and he is an incredibly watchable performer.

Nina Conti is a massive favourite with Private Drama and she didn’t disappoint. Her skill and impromptu ad libbing are staggering. If you haven’t seen her, DO.

The team then split and some saw Jon Cozart’s show ‘Laughter Ever After’, a mix of creative mash ups and well-loved songs; a You-Tuber with 2.8 million subscribers, you can’t argue with that.

I saw The Oxford Review Issues, which was irreverent, silly, with a turtle costume and those ridiculous trousers you can rip off without undoing the buttons. Just what I hoped it would be.

Traces, the French-Canadian circus show, is spectacular – they fly around the stage as if they really have wings. It reinvents the whole idea of acrobatics and circus. We are introduced to the characters who tell their stories through a beautiful pas de deux or incredible displays of strength. The final 30 minutes when they leap and hurl themselves through ever decreasingly small hoops is incredible.

The last night in Edinburgh and we were standing outside enjoying the Spiegeltent where the new La Clique show ‘Velvet’ was playing. Now we did have the best seats in the house, we did know that the divine Craig Reid, “the incredible hula boy” was in the show and we did have 2 Australians in our party who were super excited to be seeing Marcia Haines. But even without that, this is the best party in a theatre that we’ve been to in a long time. All the performers are fabulous, Mirko K’s bell hop routine is perfect. Disco ball nostalgia converges with glam and glitter, throw in some Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive and you’ve got a party that doesn’t want to stop when the curtain comes down.

We didn’t have time to see our friends Piff or Gandini. Nor to see all the other amazing shows which is why we will be back next year…