Edinburgh Festival 2018 – Day Three

Having said that nothing much gets started at the fringe in the mornings we had found a play that was on at 11am called Alabama God Damn and so had booked for that today.

This was another in a small space with only three principal actors and one musician. This didn’t stop them having a cast of many more achieved by one of the actors (and also the co-writer as it turned out) wearing a multitude of different baseball caps to represent them. It was cleverly done but I struggled at times to remember who was which cap!

The story, about a black man returning back to his home town in Alabama after a period away, was actually quite deep for the morning. It was told through words and music and was well done – the guy playing all the different parts was particularly good.

Between the shows today we had some quite long gaps and while the weather has held off so far there are only so many times you can wander down the shopping streets and through the park below the castle. So we have found a quirky refuge in the shape of the Black Medicine cafe. Twice today we were in there and while it is popular we have managed to get an uncomfortable bench or seat both times. It makes a nice change from the sterile environments of the chain shops.

Our next show was another talk this one entitled “Jason Donovan and my amazing mid-life crisis”. In which the 80’s star would, presumably, talk about his mid-life crisis. This was a very well attended event with his super-fans occupying the front few rows. I know that as when Donovan came out he clearly recognised a few of them.

Over the next hour Donovan took us through his life aided by someone asking him questions. This was really superfluous as the questions were such as “So Jason, drugs?” The show would have worked better as a monologue as it would have seemed a lot less scripted that way and while Donovan was happy to talk about his drugs excesses it all felt a bit sanitized.

However, it was a fun event and Donovan did sing a couple of songs despite having ongoing problems with his throat which he also talked about. The one rather bizarre thing was that during one of the songs one of the groupies down the front started below bubbles at him!

We’d booked an early meal at a Thai restaurant that was not only close to the next venue, quite literally a couple of doors away, but also had great views over the city and castle. I have a friend (hi Grant!) who says that if a restaurant is known for something other than the food (think Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe) then it won’t be that great. Thankfully, that didn’t turn out to be true in this case.

When we left the restaurant we still had plenty of time and so we took a leisurely walk along Rose Street and back along George Street arriving at the venue still with plenty of time. I presented our ticket to the guy on the entrance who looked and said “you want Assembly George Square, THIS is Assembly George Street!” 

I’m a meticulous planner and had marked up all the venues we were attending on a map, nicely colour coded by day to help us and, yes, on this the restaurant and the venue were close together but in reality they were actually 25 minutes apart!

Those that know us will also know that we always arrive early to anywhere and this is a particular bugbear of our children. Today this was positive thing as we still had time to get to where we needed to be. We could have run but elected instead to take a taxi and not arrive out of breath and sweaty.

Despite the closed roads and the traffic we arrived at the venue in time and I heaved a sigh of relief as the taxi pulled away taking with it the tickets for the event that I had inadvertently left on the seat!

I found this out pretty quickly and set off giving chase to the taxi flailing my arms wildly like some maniac. Had it not been for a red set of traffic lights the end of this tale might have been very different but as it was I reached the taxi and retrieved my tickets from a surprised driver and made it back to the venue now very out of breath.

I’m so glad that I managed to retrieve the tickets as tonight we were seeing comedian Simon Evans. This was the first thing that we had booked for and the one that I was looking forward to the most so to not make it due to lost tickets would have been galling.

Evans has a reputation as being unusual in that he is right of centre where his politics are concerned but this didn’t really come across tonight as he told some great stories about his mid-life crises. I wept with laughter and came out happier than I went in.