So, when Oli left you he said the next update would be coming very soon. It’s safe to say at this point that it definitely has not come as soon as he thought it would! What can I say, we both severely underestimated the temporal and energy drain that is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But here I am, better late than never, with a little update for you about all our goings on at the world’s largest international arts festival.
We ‘Play on’ the mile.
Oli promised you an exciting day when he ended the last blog post, and Saturday was most certainly that! Ana, Oli and I met in the living room of our flat (did we mention we now live in a flat instead of a van, it has WALLS and there are STAIRS!! If you don’t know why that’s not incredibly exciting for me, you evidently haven’t been reading all our blog posts. No gold star for you!) for some last-minute rehearsals to add some harmonies into the ‘Play On!’ songs, before they made their second appearance on tour (we are performing a trilogy you know). Then we headed out onto the mile, our first performance on a stage, our first time to properly showcase our vocal abilities with microphones and everything, we walked down the five hundred flights of stairs from our top floor flat all hyped with excitement (okay and also stress because we were running a bit late) right into the pouring rain. Now, this is something we definitely should have expected what with being in Edinburgh and all that, but I mean the rain could have waited one more day before making an appearance. Or at the very least held off until we’d done our outside performance. When we got to the mile it was no surprise to anyone that the bad weather had put many people off, and everyone walking had their heads firmly down, hoods up, trying to get out of the rain as quickly as possible. We didn’t let this stop us, however, and we put on a great performance for those people who were there, and hopefully brought a bit of sunshine into their otherwise very dreary walk along the mile!
Once we had performed it was time to grab our lunch and head over to The Space @ Symposium Hall to get ready for ‘To The Ocean’, call time was 2:20 so we needed to make sure we were relaxed and well-fed in time to get all warmed up. This time though the warm up did include scooping water out of the tent and a heck of a lot of hand towels to dry the floor. Thankfully this was only a necessity on this singular occasion, and there were no other near floodings of the tent during our fringe run. And yes, don’t worry we made lots of puns about how we were literally bringing people ‘To The Ocean’. Once the tent was nice and dry, we were ready to let people in, once again we had a lovely audience and have had really positive reviews.
Then it was time for a break before we performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, as you can imagine with two shows a day we got into a bit of a routine of flyering, lunch, performance, break, performance, so I don’t want to bore you with the details. So instead I thought I’d give you my highlights from the fringe.
It’s a laugh and a half
I’m going to make a bold suggestion and say that if you don’t know what you want to see at the Fringe then pick a comedy show. It’s hard to sum up what a piece of theatre is in just 50 words, and so by picking a show based solely on its short summary you run the risk of spending your hard-earned cash on a show that you really don’t enjoy. But, the way I see it, if you go and see comedy you are guaranteed to have a good time. Comedy is funny by definition, so if you go and see a comedy show there is about a 90% chance you’re going to find the material amusing* (*this is a completely made up statistic), and there’s a 100% chance you’ll laugh at least once because laughter is infectious. If everyone else in the room is having a good time, it’s basically impossible for you not to have fun.
Now I’m sure you’re all dying to hear who my favourite comedy acts this fringe were, well I didn’t go to that many (only the ones my Dad paid for), but I had a brilliant time at all of them. The standouts for me were: The Sleeping Trees, Josh Pugh, and Rob Oldham. Oldham is the perfect example of what I mean when I say that if you’re not sure what to go and see, go see a comedian. It was the last night my family were in Edinburgh and we wanted to go and see one last show together. The act we’d originally picked was sold out by the time we went to buy the tickets, and so we picked one of the only comedians left who’s show wasn’t on ridiculously late. I was very, very sceptical of a comedian who used poems in their set, however, these were actually my favourite part. At only 23 years old, Rob Oldham’s content was very relatable for my brothers and I, and this just made the content even funnier.
This is a theatre blog you know?
The Fringe, ultimately for us at BoxedIn, will always primarily be about theatre. And so, without further delay here are my top picks from the selection of drama I saw: ‘Freeman’, ‘Flushed’, ‘Hollywood Effect’, and ‘Thaw’. It was lovely to see our friends from St Andrews in ‘The Hollywood Effect’ and ‘Thaw’. It’s crazy that there are so many talented people in one tiny town, and it was great this talent had the opportunity to be showcased in Edinburgh!
Though my favourite show out of everything that I managed to see over the two weeks I was in Edinburgh was without a doubt ‘Forbidden Stories’. A multimedia performance that explored the theme of borders in the separated island of Cyprus. The performance took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, it was an exceptional masterclass in how to tell stories and create a totally meaningful work of art. I honestly cannot stress enough how beautiful, poignant, and spell bounding ‘Forbidden Stories’ was, and if any of you get a chance to see this, I can promise you you’re in for a treat!
Food Glorious Food!
In case you hadn’t seen/heard/had filtered into your brain by osmosis, we were performing both ‘To The Ocean’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ every day. This of course meant that we needed lots of sustenance to keep us going. On the day of our first performances a lovely little coffee hut just off of Nicholson Square, Cheapshot Coffee, was giving out a FREE coffee for every person who was working at the fringe. Now, if I’ve learnt anything about myself this summer, and believe me I have learnt a lot. One of the main things is how much I love coffee. Like seriously, I’m not just saying it, my life would be decidedly less good without coffee. So, a free coffee during the break between our shows made it one of the best days ever!! Also, the coffee was great, so 10/10 recommend Cheapshot to coffee lovers visiting Edinburgh.
The ‘foodie’ fun did not stop there, however, as we all enjoyed a real culinary delight on the last Wednesday of our run. Rowan’s sister Jess had come up to visit for her 18thBirthday, and so in celebration we all went out for a meal. The restaurant that was chosen for this joyous occasion was Cosmo, an all-you-can-eat buffet. They had every single kind of food you could want from a classic British Roast dinner, to Pizza, to curry, and did I mention they had vegan sushi?? HEAVEN. Now, please all heed my warning, DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant with Mr Oliver Savage, because there is no way that you are not rolling out of the building on some weird kind of food high. The man is a machine, and god knows where he puts it all! It was a fab evening though, and as we left the restaurant and went back to our fringe flat, hoping that the walk would burn off some of the humungous amount of calories we had just consumed, Ana, Hanna, and I began to feel a bit giddy. It is not normal to eat that amount of food in one sitting, and it does funny things to your brain. Some people, like Oli want to move very slowly so they don’t make themselves sick. Others, like Ana, Hanna, and I, think that it is the perfect time to skip along the streets of Edinburgh blasting the soundtrack to Mamma Mia 2 out of our phones and singing along.
We made it!!
All in all, it was 11 days straight of fun and games, then the 19thAugust rolled around, and it was time for our last day of performances. Both the shows went well, and we had great audiences for both. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was particularly special as we had many friendly faces in the audience! Then that was it, tour was officially over, and of course we celebrated, and celebrated hard. Before our meal at Cosmo we had all received handcrafted invitations to the third ‘bi-annual BoxedIn awards’, so when we got back to the flat we all got party clothes on as Oli decorated the living room, and then we were all set to party! Now, I’ll keep some of the details of the night secret because I don’t want to spill all of Mr Savage’s party planning secrets, also to protect some people’s dignity (yes this may or may not include mine!). But long story short, there was a delicious home-cooked dinner from Oli, some awards, some drinks, and some games, we hit the town for a bit afterwards, and then all went to bed for a blissful night’s sleep …
UNTIL we had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 8am to take the tent down. It’s safe to say that none of us had missed the saga of putting the tent up, taking it down, debating whether or not we should put it up in case it got wet, you know everything that happened on tour. We were going to take the tent down straight after our show on Sunday, however, as our luck would have it, it had been raining all day meaning the tent was too soaked to be put away. Therefore, we had to get up early on Monday to take it down. The staff at the Space probably had a very entertaining time watching a group of 6 tired (and dare I say slightly hungover) actors try to pack up their tent for the last time. After the tent was finally packed away, Oli treated us all to breakfast at Babylon Café, and when we headed back to the flat it was time, and the reality hit us all as Ana finished packing her bags and headed to the airport. And just like that the monumental challenge we’d taken on was finally, and properly over. 17 locations, 6 friends, 4 countries, 2 and a half months, and 1 van, and I think we all did something pretty exceptional!