That, then, was opening weekend. Like other bloggers, some of my shows sold out today, although the acid test comes on Tuesday, when the twin fluffers of two-for-one deals and preview prices will no longer lift sales numbers. But it’s nice to be on the board.
The other thing that marks the opening of the Fringe is a rash of parties and launches, kicking off with The List party last Thursday. It was a sorry affair, made all the more unfortunate by the heavy scotch mist descending rapidly from the sky. It had been sponsored by a lager I hadn’t heard of before, 1885. Was this some tasty new Kronenbourg spin-off? No, it seemed rather to be rebranded Tennents’ Export. Another disappointment.
Dan and Jeff, who form two thirds of my flatmates and four tenths of my casts, had been asked to excerpt a short piece from Potted Pirates. We’d planned sword fighting and all sorts, only to discover that the stage – a term I use wrongly – was roughly the size of an A5 flyer. They busked their way through a stand-up version of a bit of the show instead, as damp punters watched listlessly, attempting to hear them over the woefully inadequate PA. My friend, the absurdly talented writer / director Hannah Mackay, accurately described the party later as being like ‘the end of hope’.
I’m writing this on Sunday night, having decided to give the Fringe launch party a miss. At the risk of coming over like an unseasonal version of Scrooge, the last two or three Fringe launch parties made this year’s List party seem like the opulent sophistication of pre-revolutionary France. This year, however, they’ve decided not to hold the party in the outdoor venue in Fountainbridge that was home to the last few: a soulless concrete area with the bleak, suicidal air of the windswept roof of a Pilton tower block. Doubtless my flatmates will return with tales of its rehousing making it the best party ever.
But the Fringe can’t win. If the party’s bad, it’s bad. If it’s good, can they seriously expect not to be lambasted for fixing the Fringe launch party before they’ve fixed the box office software?