Monday, August 25, 2008

It's over...

There are only three things I won't miss about this year's festival:
  • the hangovers
  • the nightly taxi trip home
  • bleeding money away like a haemorrage

On the other hand, there is much, much more that I will miss:

  • people watching outside the upside-down purple cow at the Udderbelly
  • seeing performers in the streets around "the hub" (including a Caesar Twin deep in conversation with Jim Bowen)
  • sitting chilling out in the cultured and inspirational calm oasis of the Book Festival
  • the bean burgers
  • bumping into Patti Plinko at Camille and congratulating her for her show
  • the Terrible Infants strolling round Bristo Square serenading punters just because they felt like it
  • the organised chaos that was the High Street (especially when Drum Cat were there)
  • watching talented young performers mingling in the C bar at Chambers St
  • seeing South Koreans in traditional dress and samurai warriors wandering about the streets with no-one batting an eyelid
  • the Kirin in the Queen's Hall
  • slagging off War of the Worlds at every opportunity
  • the urban style of the C Socco
  • everything belonging to Lionel Ritchie
  • girls with megaphones
  • the Caesar Twins doing their Terminator stalking bit
  • medicinal beers
  • hell, I'll even miss the rain...

But now, it's all over bar the fireworks. It's been great.


Jerry Sadowitz ***

Jerry Sadowitz, despite any of his claims to the contrary, is bitter, boys & girls. And sick, twisted, offensive and foul-mouthed as well.

The embodiment of the "I'm not discriminatory, I hate everyone" mentality, Sadowitz rants, raves and spits through an hour of close-to-the-bone comedy interspersed with superb close-up magic.

Not quite the 'charming young conjuror' he ironically claims to be, with his wild hair stuffed into a top hat and bulging Marty Feldman-like eyes, he interrupts his magic tricks with diatribes against everyone: women, homosexuals, children, Chinese, Scots, English - all are treated to the ire of his acid tongued wrath.

Not to everyone's taste (a few people left early on during a particularly offensive spleen-vent on children), and, despite laughing at the outrageous things coming out of his mouth, there is a small, niggling suspicion that he is merely this generation's Bernard Manning with a few card tricks...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Clive James in the Evening ****

This enjoyable show featured Australian wit and raconteur Clive James speaking for 90 minutes. Not many could pull this off and still hold an audience's interest, but James' delivery and charismatic, gentle style is extremely listenable and entertaining, as are his tales of Australia, Edinburgh weather and Margita Pracitan.

Part comedy, part reminiscence, part book flogging, this was a fine way to spend an evening in the company of one of the wittiest, most self-deprecating and charming speakers in the business.

The Jabberwock ***

The Jabberwock is an accomplished piece by theatre group The Scarlet Blade, a quintet of young professionally-trained stage-fighters.

Taking a Blair Witch style approach, it begins with a group of friends telling ghost stories around a campfire, until one of them is possessed by the spirit of the tale of the Jabberwock. The rest of the play switches between the imagined land of the Bandersnatch et al and the real-world setting of the camp.

With their background in stage fighting, the story is peppered with several visceral and violent fight scenes, including sword duels, hand-to-hand brawls and wooden stick battles. They are excellent at carrying this off, and at times it looks as though they are really hitting each other. Hard. The venue is tiny, and you are so up close and personal that you can see the sweat and spittle fly as the cast connect viciously and realistically.

With a bigger budget, allowing more in the way of set, costume and pacing, this could have been excellent. As it was, it was still extremely good and fascinating to watch the expertly portrayed action that at times felt as though you were part of.