Edinburgh Festival... Day Two

September 5, 2011

Day two began with the best intentions - I woke up early, fully intending to go for a run around the meadows. It only took about thirty seconds of being awake for me to realise that wasn’t going to happen, so I went back to sleep for another hour. By about 8.30 the waking up was really beginning to take hold, so we relented and got up.

Usual morning operations completed (including Lisa having to conclude delicate negotiations with reception for the use of a hairdryer), we headed out into town. The first show of the day was up at C-too, at St Columbus by the Castle, so we had our first experience of trying to get anywhere near the Royal Mile at festival time. It appears that at festival time the Royal Mile essentially becomes a solid mass of people. Some of them want you to come to their show. Some of them want you to go to someone else’s show. Many of them want to give you a leaflet. Some of them just want to perform a show for you in the street. I hate crowds. I hate people walking slowly. It was not a happy start to the day.

Luckily we got to the venue in time to have a sit down in the church garden outside the venue and have a coffee. The weather again was glorious, so we were able to sit in the early morning sun and soak up the warmth and admire the views over south Edinburgh. Again, writing this now, I think I probably should have taken some photos, but I didn’t. Just go there and see it yourself, it’s much better.

The show we were going to see was “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. To be honest, once we got into the venue I was a bit worried as it seemed to be being performed by young people. I have strong views about ‘young people’, and those views seem to be getting worse as I get older. Luckily though, these young people were of the talented variety, and put on a pretty good show. I’d never seen or read the play before, so can’t compare it to the source, but the production was well done and well acted, and they’d gone down the current trendy route of inserting modern songs and cultural references into a shakespeare play, but carried it off well. It was again a thoroughly enjoyable hour, and it’s always nice to kick the day off with a bit of culture.

Following the show we wandered around the old town for a bit in search of a postbox, then sought out lunch. We then headed down to the BBC pop-up venue on Potterrow, where our next show was. This was actually what I was calling ‘Richard Herring Day’, as we had two shows from the man himself in one day. First up was a ‘festival special’ recording of his Radio 4 show ‘Richard Herring’s Objective’. I liked the BBC venue because they seemed not to believe in queues, instead giving you a numbered sticker on arrival then calling you in to the venue by number when it was time for the show. This means the people that get there first still get the best seats, but also get to wander around, go get drinks, look at other things etc, rather than standing around in a queue. Unfortunately as we’d decided to call at the Pear Tree for a swift pint before the show we were somewhere at the back of the virtual queue. We still got in though (free BBC shows are over-sold to make sure there’s a full audience to make it sound good on the radio) and were entertained by Mr Herring and his guests: Emma Kennedy and Susan Calman. The show was funny, but it dragged in parts - and to be honest the unscripted moments were probably the funniest moments, particularly the parts that went wrong and had to be re-recorded. The casual racism against the Scots was highly amusing and brave given that it was performed in the middle of Edinburgh.

We had a couple of hours free then before the next show, so did a bit more walking around the city, called for a couple of drinks, got some dinner, then headed down to Bristo Square. As we stood in the queue outside the venue drinking some weird festival ale we got chatting to the man in the queue next to us, who was an American. A real live foreigner and everything. Strangely enough, he was only in Edinburgh for a couple of days and was heading to Cardiff afterwards to go sightseeing - apparently the appeal of Doctor Who and Torchwood is greater than we’d imagined, as he was quite a fan and was visiting solely because of those shows. We gave him a bit of travel advice, hopefully he survived the visit.

The show we were queuing for was Richard Herring again, this time for his main show “What is Love Anyway?”. It’s getting a bit boring to say, but this was yet another brilliant hour of comedy. Very honest and at times emotional comedy, but full of laughs and well worth a watch. Unsurprisingly the subject of the show was love, and how us humans use and abuse it, how we deal with it, and an attempt to discover what it really is. Loved the show.

After the show we headed over to Pleasance Courtyard to meet up with one of Lisa’s colleagues who was also up in Edinburgh. We had a couple of drinks, swapped some show reviews and tips and had a bit of a chat. The place was swarming in comedians, some well known faces being left (relatively) alone, some less well known trying to convince people to come see their shows. After a while we all headed back towards the flats (they were staying in the same place), but me and Lisa decided there was time for another drink, so headed off to the pub.

Shows: 3
Pints: 8
Meals: too many noodles
Herring: twice

Next: Edinburgh Festival... Day Three

Previous: Edinburgh Festival... Day One (The Shows)