Edinburgh Day 2 – From Shakespeare to Straker masterclass

As I prepare for Day 3 with 9 CGO Surgeries throughout today, a quick recap on yesterday and some of the 6 show highlights that I saw.  Breakfast with Shakespeare and Three’s Company at C Venues gave me great joy. Tom Crawshaw’s beautifully involved and witty script kept a packed house in stitches – I am sure I only got half the literary puns, but that was enough of a glorious groan. From there a dash to another C venue in Riddle’s Court to see Ernest or Much Ado about Muffins which began as a rather fun rendition of the play and then allowed musical theatre to creep in. I’m not sure why the short snatches of pleasant song were needed, but it did allow Catherine Hayworth and Simon Kingsley as Cecily and Algernon to show their natural stage talent. If you’ve never seen the original Oscar Wilde, then this is an entertaining 1hr edit.  From there to a lunchtime meeting some rather unpleasant and some rather sad characters on a London NightBus.  This is a new show being devised and developed by Linda Marlowe and Sarah Louise Young – both showing their phenomenal ability to inhabit a character in an instant and give us a window into their souls.  Every solo performer should see this or one of their other shows and study what it is that Linda and Sarah Louise can offer you as a performer. Catch them in Pleasance Upstairs at 1300  Next a mad dash to see Oliver Meech for his magic and science show at Just the Tonic.  He explores the tension between science which seeks to reveal, and magic which seeks to conceal – and, with the help of all the audience in different ways, he astounded us for a happy hour.  Then off to drama produced by Polly Ingham Productions and Theatre503. Freak by Anna Jordan is powerful stuff delivered with first class performances by Lia Burge and April Hughes. Directed by the author to lead us into the hearts, minds, and groins of two women exploring life and love.  Disturbing, passionate, fluid alternating monologues which, in time blend into a single drama about two people we really care about.  Thank you thank you thank you Polly and company for giving me a tiny programme as I came out so I can namecheck two fine actors, an inventive set by Petra Hjortsberg and lighting by Rachel Bottomley.  Congrats to Dan Jones for being the first stage manager I’ve namechecked – but you are on the programme so I couldn’t leave you off.

I have talked about Masterclasses – well 6pm at Pleasance 1 is a cabaret and musical masterclass – a phenomenal performance by Peter Straker with a fantastic 5 piece band.  I was delighted to share his Black Magic selection last night and I would recommend his show to anyone of any age who enjoys great music, performed with stunning passion, and musical storytelling at its best.  From Hair to Jacques Brel through his own writing to standards which had the audience stamping their feet and cheering.  Go find Mr Straker and enjoy his masterful magic.

Quite a day – finished off by some gentle beers in Brooke’s Club at the Pleasance in the delightful company of Mr Jack Bence from Swimming, some of the cast of Anything Goes, Will and Ben from the Actors Centre here producing new work and exploring fascinating plans, and checking in with the founder of the Pleasance Mr Christopher Richardson.

Now back to my CGO Surgeries.