Kate Copstick’s Festival Diary
‘I am chuffed to f***ing bits” says Mark Thomas when I ask the man who sold me my very first Boycott Killer Coke T-shirt how he feels about performing his show Bravo Figaro at the Traverse Theatre for August. “I’ve bought a cravat. And a cane. And I can do all the ‘darling’ stuff.”
He assumes an anguished expression and intones: “Darling... seriously… you’ve really pushed yourself on this one.” But never try to b/s political comedy’s Mr T. “As a performer you know all the code words for ‘that was shit,’ ” he says. I doubt he’ll be hearing them, though.
The road to this year’s Fringe is littered, it seems, with collapsing comics. Comedian Carey Marx suffered a heart attack some time back and won’t be performing at all, Rick Shapiro has only just made it out of rehab after a major car accident left him severely injured and with total amnesia, someone called Richard Tyrone Jones is doing an entire show on the Free Fringe about his heart attack and now I hear from perennially pessimistic comic and storyteller Andrew J Lederer that he had open-heart surgery just nine weeks ago. And he is doing two shows on the Free Fringe. Go and see him. And best take a defibrillator.
I have always been Michael McIntyre’s greatest fan. I still am. But I am appalled to see his management have scheduled his Edinburgh warm-up gigs on the first weekend of the Fringe. So if you are going, please don’t ditch a clutch of regular Fringe shows to do so (’cos the tickets ain’t cheap), ditch shows brought up by the same management – Off The Kerb. At least then you are robbing Paul to pay Paul, rather than robbing Peter (names have been changed to protect the wealthy).
As you might imagine, I get many requests during August. Almost none of them is printable in this newspaper. However, any suggestion from Bob Slayer is generally worth considering. Slayer is the evil genius behind last year’s Cockgate furore – involving the proliferation of penis-shaped stickers across Edinburgh, especially on posters advertising well-known performers. This year (having been banned across Australia and broken his neck crowd surfing in a wheelie bin), Slayer takes over The Hive, and he has asked me to come along to his launch event and tattoo someone. Unsurprisingly for Bob, he has attracted a brewery – Scottish Borders Brewery – as a sponsor. So I would get free beer. Anyone fancy teaching me how to tattoo before Tuesday?
In an arts world where there is endless whining about lack of funding, I was hugely impressed at the efforts of the fragrant Sarah Chew – a luvvie of the First Order – to finance the production of Boy In A Dress she has directed. With the relentless use of Facebook and crowd-funding, she has managed to bring Edinburgh a fascinating piece of autobiographical drama by La JohnJoseph, together with an outreach project for transgendered youth. Go and see the show – at least so it makes enough for her to get treatment for the appalling RSI she developed with all that social networking.
Since I announced my intention to see as many shows as I can which don’t have PR, I have been pretty much inundated with pitches. Some smart, some arrogant, some absolutely pathetic. Which is all fine. But, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for… although if I say something like “You’ve really pushed yourself on this one”, Mark Thomas will tell you what I really mean.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east