Edfringe 2016 – 3rd post – from chakra elephants to techno rom-com nightmares

A light day of shows yesterday gives me a moment to shout out about a couple of extra events I have heard about. But first a wonderful family/children’s show and a hilarious student/adult show.  It was good to have a two show Greenside day and a chance to see the welcome offered by another hub/curated network of venues to the companies and ourselves and punters.

The challenge for anyone writing a show for young children is to find a way to give some additional depth or delight for the accompanying adults – be they parents, teachers or grannies.  Chris Chambers has written a new piece of musical storytelling which does both – and it will offer an interesting exploration for those who are aware of their chakras. “The Elephant of My Heart” offers a young girl in a semi-coma the opportunity to travel through a dreamworld and meet the animals who help her on her path to recovery.  From her solar plexus snake to her third eye phoenix, she meets and learns from each animal. We in turn share in her adventure, and even help to create some of the visual delight along the way. Chris’s young daughter played the lead with confidence, supported by a movement chorus of 4.  It is nice to feel satisfied by a piece, and leave believing that it deserves to be enriched and enhanced as a professional production to bring even more visual delight than was possible in this simple staging.  If you can grab a child, or are interested in new work which you could programme/produce for young audiences, then it is worth a visit.
My leg muscles did some work then – hotfoot the 23 minutes from Greenside in the centre of town to Greenside on the Royal Terrace. And I made it. But no time to check my emails, do facebook, or tweet about my life, which is just as well if you are going to “You Tweet My Face Space” produced and written by Tom Hartwell and featuring a company of Mountview Academy of Theatre graduates. This original fantasy rom-com tragedy has the potential to have a very long-life. It offers a chilling yet hysterical look at contemporary life, and the challenge for a young couple to escape the snares of technology and have a real relationship.  It touches on so many aspects of life, and offers some fabulous roles for a company of physically energised and character focused actors.
The nature of the Festival is that, if you put yourself around a bit, you meet the most amazing people. And almost everyone on the fringe trail is genuinely interested in what you have seen, and what’s hot to trot to. “You Tweet My Face Space” became a mini topic of conversation as I explored potential pieces for a publisher like Stagescripts focussing on larger cast works for the community, amateur, and regional theatre market. It then came up as I discussed community engagement with a senior executive of one of the largest opera houses and arts centres in the world. My little brain thinking of the fun that a large company of teenagers would have creating this show on a big scale, in the way that the National Youth Theatre or Youth Music Theatre might.  It could then be surrounded by smaller reflective projects, and even an adult/ancients learning project to explore the untapped potential of this technology.  What Tom and his company have created is a piece which offers audience, company members, and educational/outreach workers a rather joyful vehicle for exploration.
My shout outs are for one artist Lisa Skye from Australia who is here in town for the festival hosting and promoting a number of acts, but she has been persuaded to do one performance here in Edinburgh and one performance in Berlin of her own show.  It was a pleasure to meet her at one of my surgeries on saturday and for anyone interested in adult queer cabaret then check out Sweet venues 24th August  or Berlin on 7th September.
Tomorrow I will focus on sex and nudity.  I had a quieter evening on this Tues than I had expected. I had been asked to help organise a major performance/audience for the Naked Magicians playing here in town, but unfortunately the complexities of matching naked audience with naked performers proved too much for a London theatre to get their head around, so instead of checking out this show, I had a quiet meet with my Edinburgh CGO Associate, the producer/event manager Kate Taylor, and then headed back to my digs.  Taking time away to have a real sleep, and real food, is an essential part of surviving Edinburgh.  As I type this I am refreshed and ready to head out for a 10am show as the first in a 5 show day plus meetings.

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