Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Edfest Day 22: Toilet Humour

Back in the old favourite space this evening - pleasance above, that of shows Molly and I Am Beast. I should get a loyalty card. Tonight I was there for Felicity Ward's comedy show "What if There's No Toilet?". The title alone was instantly relatable enough to catch my interest.  I wasn't disappointed. Felicity is a frenetic bundle of bouncy anxious energy. I can say this without offending as this show is all about mental illness, anxiety and ocd specifically.

The set is simply a toilet with rolls stacked up either side like a pyramid,  just begging to be knocked down - which Ward herself can't resist and succumbs gleefully to the urge. Talking of succumbing to urges (eh, eh?) Ward tells us candidly about her ibs,  the fear she battles that she's going to wet herself - or worse - during her stand up sets. We meet the niggling voice of anxiety in her head who she, somewhat viciously, named Beryl. I related to so much in this show and laughed the entire way through to the point where I didn't want to laugh anymore because my face ached. Indicative of how funny she is or how little I laugh? I hope it's the former. Is that my anxiety talking?

While we're on the topic of toilets, one of my anxities is public toilets but I also worry about being caught short. Consequently, I've used A LOT of public toilets over the last month and even started making peace with it. I have my routine - only wipe with ther right, so I can pick my bag up germlessly with my left... I've even used portacabins. I feel like I was almost over it... until today. There I was in the old enemy - the portacabin. I'd put my bag on the floor leaning against the toilet door, made the toilet seat paper ring, sat.... and noticed poo streaked on the wall inches away from the shoulder strap of my bag......... I'm not the religious type, but god knows I prayed for my bag not to fall over. 

Let's change the subject, quick....

Before this I saw a brilliant show that people and critics alike have been raving about called "64 squares" (that's right I'm working backwards folks, coz I'm feeling crazy. )

The hype is completely justified. The show is about madness and chess,  not natural bedfellows, but it works. This is a partnership of dialogue and physical theatre which has gelled well. The movement is so beautifully choreographed, it's like a dance, all in sync as though they are one... which, actually, is exactly what they're meant to be.  One person split into 4.

I love good use of facial expression and this show is full of perfectly captured expressions. I think facial acting is such a skill all by itself and the actors in this production were in total control of every muscle with great visual results. 

Everything was just so perfectly controlled and yet so skillfully smooth and slick, like you'd never know it wasn't natural and spontaneous movement.

The plot itself is more like a jigsaw puzzle than a game of chess. Piecing together individual moments to discover the events that led to the demise of the person we know simply as 'B' from the embroidered letter on the coat.

Again, I'd like to speculate and discuss this more but... time, y'know.  I'm discovering time is a real party pooper. 

Talking of pooping....... just kidding.

Finally - er, I mean, firstly (this is confusing) I went back to my roots and saw a musical. One I haven't seen but have very much wanted to - "Spring Awakening". This was in the Famous Spiegeltent in St Andrew's Square, but I think it would have been much better suited to a traditional space. 

There was a stage area, but also a circle of steel deck with the audience seated around on 3 sides. It meant, if you were sitting in the wrong place during an emotional moment, you might be completely cut off from it. In the right seat, you were way too involved.

This is just a venue issue. The show itself was excellent quality. It makes a change to see a show where the characters are actually, realistically the age they are meant to be. The whole cast are excellent all round performers and put so much energy into the show. On a par with RCS, for sure. 

Today was a race around Edinburgh to get to all the shows which started in quick succession. I didn't even get to the first show until 5pm today, after a misguided attempt to get up early and failing, followed by a Forest Fringe shift. I've decided to do separate blog posts for todays show reviews and my what's hot wednesday round-up, which'll be much briefer and will follow shortly..... 

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