Sarah Hayward

actor, comedian, singer/songwriter and playwright

Wed 12th Aug Edinburgh Fringe

I bandaged my toes this morning, blistered from walking from one end of Edinburgh to the other yesterday…6 hours of walking 4 hours of shows!
The city of Edinburgh has multiple levels, (literally one lower old town and one upper), so does the Fringe.
There are 369 venues listed in the Fringe brochure. The brochure is so large it needs handles to lug around, for constant referals and maps. At every corner I am given a new leaflet and cajoled to come to one production or other.
There are hundreds of American Highschool students with 25 muscial productions, all the winners of their talent divisions in America. Then the stand up comedy network..hundreds of stand up acts in all sort of basement dungeon performance spaces. The Musical theatre and Cabaret Acts (I’m going to try for the Bongo Club venue 143, which has a variety of different performers showcasing their work from around the festival). Then there is the straight professioinal theatre like the Traverse Theatre, where I saw Orphans, yesterday a two hour gripping phychological thriller “Danny and Helen’s quiet life explodes when her brother turns up covered in blood.” Morally challenging, violent, confrontational and disturbing this play is superbly acted in a naturalistic stlye. I am bowled over by the magnitude of the Travers Theatre (it reminds me of the RSC in London but cooler) and find myself in the book shop buying plays I can’t possibly carry in my already overweight baggage!!
Then I experience The Hotel, an environmental peice where we are led from the theatre to a nearby Hotel, populated by actor employees. Seven floors of Hotel rooms full of different themes, a wellness centre where I am given a fitness test, everyone is proven to be unfit:my test is to run around a tiny track, challanged to beat the fastest time, I fail: the processing centre where I am psychologically profiled, measured (from my nose to employees nipple), interogated (about my sexual habits), have my glasses removed for safe keeping (they are returned), offered toilet paper by two poor actors locked in a very small cupboard; the Meditation Centre, where I meditate with the half naked Guru who spouts spiritual platitudes adn tells me I am healed and should leave Now; the Massage room, where I am given a dreadful massage by Philipa, a disgruntled employee who has been jilted by the Guru; …ending with the propritor a drunk, washed up award winning actor having a fit and committing suicide.
I walk to the old town for dinner and stop for a free show along the way…Cabaret Whore (how can I resist that title). I go down, down three levels of stairs to basement bar…the Kaspar. There is a tiny stage 3 feet by 3 feet, I feel I am in a fire trap, bamboo on the ceiling perfect fuel for the fire…no way out if there is a fire…ok calm down (Alex says 90% of the time good stuff happens only 10% bad). The Cabaret Act, Sarah-Louise Young, is a tallented singer with bad wigs. (even some of the great show here have bad wigs.) She sings in three different characters the first a Texas Whore with vulgar songs, the second a librarian wanna be reality tv show singing champion a la Susan Boyle, the third and best by far a suicidal French Cabaret Singer who hates Edith Piaf, she hold a large knife to her wrists throught her performance.
I am exhausted, I have a three show limit. I return to the University to rest my weary feet, after eating a pot of mussles for dinner.

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