Edinburgh I love you, but let me flirt with London a little…it’s surprisingly tempting

I wrote this piece when I didn’t know that I was going to be going up to Edinburgh with my lovely friend (and children’s book writer – PLUG!) Louise Beere, but I like it so much that I’m going to post it anyway so read on McDuff and the basic premise is the same – Edinburgh in August is fabulous, but London has revealed itself to be just as wonderful:

Edinburgh is calling to me like a long lost lover.  Loud and clear over the airwaves, newspaper pages and facebook status updates, everywhere I look the presence of the Edinburgh Fringe haunts me with it’s vibrancy, variety, drinking and surprisingly good weather.  Great fun if you’re stuck down in little old London.  But not for me the moping of one whose financially straights have caused this enforced separation, no darkened bedrooms and constant stalking of facebook friends who are up there for a bread crumb of the experience. No! Once more into the theatrical breach dear friends, and blow me down what a delectable breach London has to offer in this holiday month.

So far I’ve seen an appallingly lazy production of Dreams of Violence at the Soho Theatre (boyfriends and girlfriends shouldn’t work together if this half arsed attempt is the result) that was great fun to rip apart, a delightful theatrical ditty in the form of Con Ghiaccio’s Grimms, an insightful production of Tis Pity She’s A Whore and an all woman glam rock version of Macbeth.  Next up is absurdist comedy Mascha and Vascha, a Butoh inspired performance, Down-A and a one woman show about family loss, Twinless.  And all that’s in one week.

There’s just so much choice for a city supposedly put to sleep by the migration of artists to the great Scottish capital and although much of this variety has to do with the punked up Camden Fringe, other great fringe London venues are refusing to be cowed, with the Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s Hot August Fringe naughtily representing the South in its usual fabulous fashion and The Arcola in Dalston with the delightfully trendy Arcola Grimeborn Festival.

So forgive me Edinburgh if I let my hair down a little in this glorious capital of mine and forget to stay with my head under the covers pining for you; you have my heart, but what’s a girl to do in the face of so much theatrical temptation? I’m off to flirt more with a bit of the London theatre scene and over the next couple of days I’ll be posting the bits that I’ve written for The Camden Voyeur and also The Fringe Review because it may be repetition but it’s what I’ve been writing this month and this poor blog oh mine has frankly been looking quite neglected.

Exposure has everything to do with length.

“A David has emerged to challenge the Edinburgh Goliath: the Camden Fringe” The Guardian

The fourth Camden Fringe starts on 3rd August and in its three year tenure it has grown into a diverse and credible festival.  But apart from the above golden nugget from the Guardian very little national press covers the up and coming contender.  This of course has something to do with the presence of the saturated giant that is Edinburgh but there is another much more practical reason for this lack of printed promotion.

Looking through the brochure this year and attempting to pick shows to review and cover for both The Camden Voyeur and Fringe Review, I was struck by how every show, with the exception of perhaps 3 or 4, is only running for a two/three day period.  A write up is somewhat redundant therefore because you see it on the first night, the review comes out and it’s already the last night.  This is especially true for a printed publication such as The Camden Voyeur which has a turn around of 4 days making it very tricky for the printed version to be current (although it will of course be fabulous and full of interviews and Victorian witticisms!).

Now I wouldn’t be boo who-ing if there wasn’t good work to promote, but as it is there are some real gems to be found in the programme and some fabulous venues involved and it would be quite nice to shout about it.  If the fringe wants to get more national coverage and therefore boost its profile (and I’m just assuming that it does by the way, maybe it likes being David?) then it should consider programming work for longer runs.  And yes this would inevitably mean less shows but maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing either; quality and not quantity – now that’s the way to beat Edinburgh.

http://www.camdenfringe.org/