18 August 2008

From the Fringe..

Translation: It isn't very funny. With PR
like that, who needs critics?

The fringe festival is raw market capitalism at its best: while the official festival ballet and opera rest on their arts council subsidised backsides (more money than on wind farms, but less than on Olympic Cycling) the High Street throbs with hoards of performers pressing flyers into the hands of would-be play-goers, with hardly any hyperbole to speak of (we went to three world premières and fourteen five-star shows)

"Do you think they target who they give their flyers to" asked the Botogol girls, and their friend, after a particularly arduous ascent of the Royal Mile. We sat down over a deep-fried Mars bar with cider on the rocks, and compared our stash: the three teenage girls had received invitations to a dark drama about teenage suicide, the Women's stand-up comedy awards, a dark drama about bulimia nervosa and the Chippendales. I had scored a leaflet for The Scottish National Trust's Georgian House in Charlotte Square.

Later that evening, in an iconoclastic defiance of stereotype, I woke up Mrs Botogol to take her to the Supper Club in the Assembly Rooms at Midnight. I promised her relaxing cabaret, soulful jazz, tearful blues, the whole spiced with erudite and witty comedy. What we got was sub-1930s Berlin Cabaret, but more squalid and more low-brow. It's a good job we are broad-minded.

The lowlight of the show was the German MC in wig who sang songs of unbearable crudity, without rhyme or metre and totally devoid of wit. Perhaps in the original German they rhymed

The highlight? Well, Mrs Botogol told me not to mention the pale stripper who excitingly fought her way out of a gigantic parcel in a bikini (the stripper, not the parcel) for Mrs Botogol doesn't like strippers. So let's, rather, go with the middle-aged luridly eye-shadowed black man, 23 stone if he was a kilogram, encased from top to tail in a neon-pink lycra body suit, singing... well, I quite forget what he was singing, I was too busy shrinking into my chair trying to avoid attention, for I recognised him - indeed he knew us - for he was none other than the big guy who had plonked down in front of us earlier, and politely apologised for blocking Mrs Botogol's view "Don't worry, I'll be going in a moment".

Now on stage he picked us out of the crowd with no trouble and beamed and waved enthusiastically, flickering his mascara eyelids at us, until the music stoppped. I knew what was coming next.
"So what's your name dear", he asked me, "yes, yes, I do mean you"

I swallowed, sat up straight and looked him firmly in the eye: "I'm Brad Majors, and this is my fiancee, Janet Weiss"

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