Sex & the Village in the morning

August 9, 2008

When companies are spending thousands on their productions and marketing, it was a pleasure to sit this morning and see the simplest of readings of a new work – and frankly it was a bit amazing. Sue Pearse and Becky Applin have brought together a fine cast from other shows, Lottie Wakeham has staged it with a light touch and book-in-hand,  and the amazing bit is that a good sized audience each day has chosen to tramp through the rain and early morning light. 

Other writers, producers, experienced showcase watchers, and “real people” have shared in the experience, and added feedback to the writers.  One feedback form suggests that in the end the cast probably won’t need the books-in-hand.    The writers have appreciated really positive feedback, and now set forth on the next journey for the show.  None of us were sure whether programming readings in the midst of the Festival would work. It clearly does – both for audience and writers.   Congrats to all involved.  (One more performance tomorrow (Sun) at 10.30pm).

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4****, 5*****, but how do I find the full reviews…

August 8, 2008

I’m having a real problem – I keep hearing about reviews for shows and then can’t find them by googling or searching. There must be a way to find them quickly. We seem to be blessed with an almost infinite number of reviewers and publications this year, and its great that The Scotsman and others are really cracking through the shows – but hunting out the reviews I’m finding tough.   Someone tell me there’s a wonderful boffin out there creating a morning digest of all the reviews, downloadable, so we can spread the word. Read more

Mike McShane – Improv Musical, and instant musical writing masterclasses

August 7, 2008

mike-mcshane.jpgFri night we open SHOWSTOPPERS the Improv Musical show created by Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery. They’ve just arrived with the news that Mike McShane is the special guest for tomorrow and Sat (8th and 9th at 11.20pm).

Its in the intimate George 2 venue – so there are literally only 85 seats a night to be there and share in the crazy event. Read more

Free Classes and Free Army storytelling, keep out of the driech weather

August 6, 2008

Now that most of our main ticketed shows are open, there’s a chance to get the rest of the programme underway. This morning we held the first of 37 open classes starting with the Head of Musical Theatre at LIPA, Nick Phillips offering a vocal masterclass. This afternoon Richard Jordan discusses producing.   We also welcomed the Army in Scotland with a gentle morality/coming of age tale of a young lad leaving home in Orkney to follow a dream of competing in the Piping competition in Glasgow.  Read more

Highs & lows of Fringe “reality”

August 5, 2008

Well, we are officially “launched”. Yesterday 7 different shows were featured in a tightly controlled press preview show directed by John Brant and technically masterminded by Tom Lishman, Andy Harris, and the phenomenal Pleasance technical team. A goodly selection of press, cameras, and PR representatives joined us – and it was great to see a magnificent double page photo of DEPARTURE LOUNGE in the Evening News today, and hear other good comments coming back. They opened in George 4 last night and it was packed. Congrats to the Brits on Tour, Andy Barnes Productions and their great PR reps – Paul Sullivan and Kim Morgan. Read more

Cannibal loses one cast member, gains cult film actor Jason McHugh

August 4, 2008

Drama and last minute problems with a Cyclops have been happening backstage at Cannibal.  On Saturday night the cast found themselves one member down, and had 30mins to re-rehearse the show so that the show would go on.  Jason McHugh from the original film cast was on hand to give suggestions, and since he’s not travelling back to LA until Thursday he’s decided to join the cast on stage and play the role on Wednesday (and maybe Tuesday also).   Reports are that the cast are having a great time out there flyering and getting recognised already, after just a couple of previews.Elsewhere preparations are underway for the Press Launch this afternoon, and we’ve found a very nice new House Full/Sold Out board which we hope to have reason to use in the next few days.  Read more

Whoops…where’s the “sold out” board?

August 3, 2008

Singers Cafe after ONLY THE BRAVEAlthough its never nice to fail to get a ticket for a show, it’s a great buzz when the box office can say “sold out”. JET SET GO by Pippa Cleary is packed to the gunnels in George 2 this afternoon, and that means audiences are beginning to filter into the next show in George 1 – they won’t be disappointed. RSAMD are doing ZANNA DON’T a suitable camp alternative.

The Singers Cafe is already beginning to be a great meeting ground – yesterday the Exec Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater arrived in town, and immediately met up with two other members of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the New York network of producers.  Last time we all met was at the October 07 Conference when the idea of Musical Theatre at George Square was just that, an idea. Now it’s all happening.   Read more

Two cafes, same street, worlds apart in attitude & keyboard camaraderie

August 2, 2008

Fringe companies rely of posters, leaflets and willing proprietors supporting the essence of the Fringe.  One young US intern has just come back from postering for a company with two stories to tell. Cafe Numedia on Nicholson Street seem to need 12 free tickets for any show they take posters for – seems inflation’s kicked in since my day when a couple of tickets were all anyone would ask for. However the host of Cafe & Co also on Nicholson St welcomed the same company’s poster person with a quick banter, real interest in the show, and I gather a free banana because she looked hungry.  Now that’s an Edinburgh welcome – please don’t ask Cafe & Co for a free banana, but its definitely somewhere I’ll pop into for what appears a warm welcome.

oh and ps – keyboard camaraderie – one show this afternoon lost a keyboard player 20 mins before curtain up, the MD of the previous show is now in the midst of the band sightreading the show. That’s what makes the Fringe special.

Cheers  Chris

MTM:UK Awards – Reviews start, the website goes live !!…. & MISS SIGN-ON

August 2, 2008

What does every company need at the Festival – a) a good show b) a willing audience and c) a review (or two). Well  MTM can guarantee a review if you are presenting a new Musical Theatre piece in the Festival across any venue, provided its playing at least  2 of the weeks,  has not had more than 10 performances pre-Festival, and is being presented by a pro or pro-aspirational company (detailed criteria on the new MTM:UK site www.musicaltheatrematters.org.uk.)  That’s 51 shows who will most definitely get a review…they’re also up for an Award.   All the reviews will go up online as they come in, so go visit and hopefully they will be kind, maybe even raves, and offer you some quotable quotes. Read more

Come party…but spare a thought for the Pleasance tech team

August 1, 2008

Well it’s Friday night and the Singers Cafe has started – Dougal Irvine, composer of DEPARTURE LOUNGE is on his accoustic guitar, the bar is busy, the open-air covered courtyars are busy, and a multitude of performers, audience and staff are passing through. Feels quite buzzy and we’re still in previews.

But across the road the Pleasance tech team have a phenomenal task on their hands. Take a lecture hall vacated by hundreds of delegates at 5pm today, build a stage, a grid, lighting, sound, dressing/backstage area, and all the safety features of a theatre and have it ready for technical rehearsals on Sunday morning. Madness. But if anyone can do it, they can. First performance (provided we have satisfied the licensing authority inspection) will be 9pm Mon with the world premiere of Dougal’s Departure Lounge. Read more

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