Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Goodbye / Fringe Fantasia

More from the Royal Mile

I called the Book Festival booking centre as soon as it opened at 9.30am, hoping to get some tickets for at least a few of the 16 sessions I'd marked. 12 of them were already sold out, a couple clashed with other events, and one was cancelled. In the end I was left with sessions for Edmund White and Terry Eagleton. I was told later that many of the headliner book events are snapped up for corporate vanity gigs, so the reading public have to give way to those there for the drinks tent.

That done, we bussed into the city centre so I could start my round of collecting all the tickets I'd purchased. After collecting all but the book tickets, I stopped to watch some of the portrait artists working the Royal Mile. I've evaded their clutches through most of our travels, but with today being my half-birthday I thought I'd treat myself to one from a caricaturist whose work I admired. He offered to include Bondi, conjuring up the picture below while Bondi posed outrageously for the passing throng.

On my way up to Lothian Street for a lunch appointment, I passed Julian Lloyd Webber on the street. I don't remember seeing his name on the program, so maybe he's just enjoying the season. I found a nice classical CD shop near the Usher Hall and put my name down for the new set of Beethoven symphonies which Sir Charles Mackerras conducted at last year's Festival.

I took Bondi back to the flat mid-afternoon as I had two events scheduled for the evening. The first was at Bristow Square's Gilded Balloon. In the small and incredibly hot Balcony Room, I watched the three-hander Goodbye: The (After) Life of Cook and Moore. The premise is that Dudley has just died, and meets Peter in the afterlife, the "comic sector"of Limbo, where they must resolve their differences and await judgement. A third actor plays a legion of British comedians: Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Leonard Rossiter, Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey. The cast were great at recreating these legends, and must have spent an age studing their every tic and mannerism. The script (written by the actor playing Cook) whips you through the main public point of Cook and Moore's lives without descending into mere retreads of their sketches. I think it would make a great BBC teleplay, although the strong language, especially from the Derek and Clive era, is going to push it into the nether regions of the program schedule.

Goodbye; Gilded staircase

Goodbye reviewed here.

When I emerged, just before 7pm, the warm afternoon had turned into a lovely evening. I had another 90 minutes to the next show, over in the New Town area, and was able to stroll around at my leisure.

Approaching 44 Howe Street

In the 1851 census, my Wood ancestors were living at 44 Howe Street, which is just north of the Old Town, past the Queen Street Gardens. No 44 was the end of a gentrified row of flats and businesses, and the Woods were but one of several families living there. I'm sure they missed the Thai restaurant in the basement when they sailed for Melbourne a few years later.

Disney Fringe Fantasia; Riding the buses

My second event was Disney Fringe Fantasia, a charity show put on by the Edinburgh Music Theatre company in a church on George Street. 23 singers presented 18 Disney songs in various formats plus a Silly Disney Medley of Zip-a-dee Doo-dah, Salaga Doola, Chim-chim-cheree, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius, etc. Some of the vocal highlights were Denise Treanor's When She Loved Me (Toy Story 2), Hazel Beattie's contribution to Circle of Life, Kenneth Pinkerton's They Live in You (both from The Lion King) and Harry Dozier's One Jump Ahead (Aladdin). I won't name the soprano who sang either flat or sharp through her solos [ouch]. I was only slightly upset that the program omitted Prince Ali (Aladdin) and the little-known but beautiful Will the Sun Ever Shine Again which Bonnie Raitt sang in Home on the Range.

The Udderbelly/Underbelly

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