Edinburgh Festival... Day Four

September 8, 2011

Wednesday we wake up later than intended, so miss the planned start to the day at the Shakespeare breakfast. In all, it’s a very slow start to the day, the pace of the previous few days is beginning to get to us. We head off for a walk and a bagel to wake up, and I get butter all over my face from a very lovely, but very buttery and bacon filled bagel. After soaking up a bit of sunshine in the cafe we head down to town for our first show, an adaptation of Secret Window, Secret Garden. The venue is at C soco, which is the massive hole in the ground in the Old Town where the fire was a few years back, the one that took out the original Gilded Balloon and the School of Informatics’ AI department. The venue itself is in one of the buildings left standing on the site, which may well have been part of the University from looking at it, and the specific venue we’re in is right at the top. I estimate we climbed about 4000ft to reach it, but I may be wrong.

The play itself is nicely done, they’ve cut the story down to the minimum of necessary elements to cover everything in the plot while still bringing the play in at an hour, and the acting is pretty solid, if not stellar. The lead character is by far the best actor of the lot, doing a very good job at playing the role of the author losing his mind. They stick to the plot of the book too, rather than the film, which is pleasing. The guy playing John Shooter troubles me a little, and it’s not until afterwards that I realise it’s because he looks, sounds, and acts very much like someone at COMSC.

We’ve got a gap in the afternoon, so we head down to one of the ‘attractions’ of Edinburgh we haven’t visited yet, the Botanic Gardens. It’s a fair enough walk, mostly downhill. We cause a problem in the cafe at the east gate by attempting to buy things with a twenty pound note, the horror. They have nowhere near enough change, but there’s a solution to the problem if they let me off the odd 35p and I just pay them £5. They agree, so I effectively steal 35p of goods off a registered charity. In your face, plants.

It’s a nice place for a wander round, as lovely gardens tend to be. We decide to put up the cash to go into the hothouses, being as we’ve walked all the way down there. Surprisingly, they’re hot, and full of plants. I can’t get the Jurassic Park theme out of my head as I walk around, the whole place is reminiscent of the science labs in the sequels that have been taken over by plants, there’s a nice bit of ageing decay to them. Very few dinosaurs though, luckily.

After the botanic gardens we head to a pub down the road for a pretty decent dinner and a couple of pints, then make long trek back up the hill and into town. Lisa wants to head back to the flat, but I can’t be bothered, so I head down to the Brewdog bar on Cowgate to wait for her. I’m quite a fan of Brewdog beer, and it’s a nice bar (if a bit small), serving some very lovely booze. While I’m stood at the bar reading the paper it begins to absolutely piss it down with rain, so by the time Lisa gets back into town she is soaked through once more. As ever, the theory ‘go to the pub, not home’ has paid off.

We head up to the Assembly Hall to meet Lisa’s colleague and his wife for a pint before Sarah Millican. We have a nice chat for half an hour, then get into the longest queue yet for a show. We end up with seats up on the balcony, but it’s a fine venue that seems to hold a lot of people without feeling massive, so the view is pretty good and you still feel pretty close to the stage. Sarah Millican is good, but the show seems like a collection of one liners and jokes rather than a coherent whole. Despite that it’s hilariously funny, and a good time is had by both of us. I steal two badges at the end of the show, making it both a registered charity and a comedian that I’ve effectively cheated in one day.

Following the show we head down to the Conference Centre for an Amnesty gig. I thought the queue for the Millican show was big, but the queue at the EICC was huge, snaking all the way round to the back of the building and out into the street. I have a minor altercation with some old ladies in the queue who are queue jumping, and refuse to move when I inform them of the fact. Another chap also tries to let them know, but they ignore him too. So we talk loudly about the older generation just thinking they can do what they want, and how old people have no manners anymore and don’t understand about how being British means we treat each other decently and are polite and so on. I’m half convinced we quite embarrassed the one old lady, but her friend was made of sterner stuff. The old ladies have annoyed me massively, but it’s wearing off by the time we get into the venue, until I discover that bottles of beer at the bar are £3.80 each, which almost makes things even worse. Luckily the show is laugh balls funny. It’s basically ten minutes sets from a whole mix of comedians that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen, with a large number of laughs coming from making the signers at the side of the stage make inappropriate gestures. It’s a great gig, with performances from Mark Watson, Ed Byrne, Russell Kane, Jenny Eclair, David O’Doherty, Holly Walsh and Roisin Conaty. Once more we both enjoy it, laugh too much, and leave happy. We head home satisfied for the evening.

Shows: 3
Pints: God knows
Queues: Massive
Old ladies: Three (irritating and rude)

Next: Edinburgh Festival... Day Five

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