Let's hear it for laughter in the dark

Is there no end to festival political gimmickry? Stand-up comedians plan to demonstrate their environmental credentials this year by lowering their carbon footprint and give performances - in the dark.

In this way, they hope to conserve energy, as well as giving the audience a unique comedy experience. But why stop at the lights? Why not switch off the sound system while they're at it?

The comedians believe that as well as sending an environmental message, the sensory deprivation of "lights out" will add to the comedy experience. Many Festival Fringe goers may be tempted to agree, though not quite in the way the comedians would find amusing. Switching out the lights at some Fringe shows is what some in the audience would dearly have liked to do. Indeed, not putting on the shows at all would be an artistic as well as environmental benefit.

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And to what other festival events could the "right on" darkness be applied? Perhaps the Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament would be enhanced by a total sensory black-out. The "artistes" would sit, like characters in a Samuel Beckett play, allowing the silence to build to an unbearable tension. At the barked command "Coalition!", they would quickly move into new groups, leaving the audience to fathom out the personnel and the purpose. Laughter in the Dark? This could catch on.

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