The arts diary: The timing’s up to you, and the delivery is very good

AS YOU may have read elsewhere, if you’re staying at Edinburgh’s Hotel Indigo between today and Saturday you can order a comedian on the room service menu. Alongside your dinner and drinks, you can have Janey Godley come to your room and do a ten minute comedy routine.

It’s a cute idea, although my first question as a guest would be: “Does it have to be Janey Godley?” Still, baby steps and all that. If the idea takes off, Hotel Indigo could be on to a winner here, particularly in August, when the city is full of comedians desperately looking for things to do to fill the 23 hours of day when they’re not on stage. Being someone’s room service option has to be a better gig than doing Neil and Christine Hamilton’s chat show. It might even keep some comedians sober, which would be a valuable public service.

And if you don’t want a comedian, perhaps you could order some contemporary dance or a short play instead? This sort of thing already pops up at the Edinburgh Fringe from time to time. Several theatre companies over the years have volunteered to perform in people’s homes at a time that suited them. Really, someone should start a live entertainment home delivery service, in which you can order from a menu of comedians, singer-songwriters, contemporary dancers etc, in a hybrid of talent agency and takeaway.

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There are, perhaps, safety issues involved in sending performers to a complete stranger’s house at a moment’s notice, but I’m sure a practical and ethically minded business person could overcome them. Perhaps you have to order a male, six foot tall, burly comedian at least a couple of times before you’re allowed to order a young, female contemporary dancer.

There’s another obvious problem, of course – unlike chicken chow mein, Janey Godley can’t be sent to six people’s houses simultaneously. But perhaps that’s fixable too – a Last.fm style automated system that, if Janey Godley isn’t available, suggests other options you might like. How about Susan Morrison?

I’m warming to this idea the more I write about it. Look out for me on Dragons’ Den in the near future.

Roadkill wins award. Again.

WITH all the attention lavished on Matilda at Sunday’s Olivier Awards, and all the attendant celebrity spotting, you could be forgiven for missing a Scottish success story further down the winners’ list. Roadkill, Cora Bissett’s Edinburgh Fringe hit from 2010, scooped the prize for “Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre”, after it was restaged at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

As with Black Watch, London recognised this show – a harrowing piece of theatre about sex trafficking – long after Scotland did. The year it debuted in Edinburgh, the show won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Herald Angel, the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, a Stage award, the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award, the Adelaide Fringe Festival Award, and a Total Theatre Award for Innovation. Last year it went on to win two prizes at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

That’s a pretty extraordinary achievement already, and a first at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Oliviers, though, have a showbiz glamour that none of the respected industry awards above can quite match, so there has been much jubilation this week amongst Roadkill’s creative team, particularly the show’s writer Stef Smith, who was in London for the ceremony and was pictured proudly brandishing the award (and looking both very glamorous and spookily like Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Bissett herself was – and still is – in Australia, touring her other recent hit, Midsummer. As the Olivier win was announced, she was alone in a hotel in Brisbane at 4am with nothing but a fridge full of cheese slices to keep her company. On the bright side, her trip to Australia has included dinner at Cate Blanchett’s house and a trip to Steve Irwin’s zoo.

Bissett has two new shows coming up this year, Whatever Gets You Through The Night at the Arches and Glasgow Girls at the Citizens’ Theatre, while new work by Stef Smith will be performed in Glasgow next month as part of Mayfesto, the Tron Theatre’s annual festival of political theatre.