They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse

The rain gods realised it was 241 Monday at the Edinburgh Fringe, oh yes! It may not be much of a 241 Monday but the rain gods were gonna christen it, a full-on dunking. Finally around mid evening they got bored and allowed the skies to finally clear – just as well as I had to queue outside for a show, that started 30 minutes late (technical lighting problems). Yes, I went to my first show today! Well, the lovely people at Assembly were doing a Locals offer – half price tickets for a select few shows for the next few days. Naturally, I had to check the list, nothing that really tickled my fancy, but Guy Masterton, Fringe institution, was doing a one man show, definitely worth a shot!

So there I was at the back of nine o’clock sitting in the magnificent Palais Du Variété spiegeltent in the Assembly George Square Gardens. I took a moment to have a good long look around and savour everything. Really, you couldn’t have a fringier start to a Fringe – a wet, wet day, an atmospheric spiegeltent, and Guy Masterton performing Under Milk Wood (abbreviated, or he called it, Semi-skimmed). I’ve never seen it or read it before, the little I knew about Under Milk Wood never appealed to me, but this, it seemed was finally the time to try it, taste it and see!

How was it? Very theatrical, darling. But it worked – thinking back on it now, I could almost believe I saw it with a full cast of actors, the stories in black and white vignettes on film. Guy Masterton is a masterful storyteller, riveting to watch, yes, a bit theatrical for me, does that say more about me or him? I am very glad I went, I experienced something a little out of my range (hey, these days I eat salad mixes with tomatoes, cucumber and celery in them, would never have done that twenty years ago!). I really appreciated some of the lighting effects, white spotlights from below sending dark silhouettes on to the red background (very Lynchian) and when they flicked from side to side to have the effect of two people arguing, I loved it. I found myself thinking that the shadow might actually start acting apart from him, move independently, even attack him! Yes, the shadow play really did a number on me – was that Masterton’s intention with the effects?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him perform before. I’ve seen plenty of his Fringe work as producer and director, best known are, 12 Angry Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Odd Couple and more recently The Shark Is Broken; all rather excellent. Oh yeah, on my wander home after the show tonight I passed Pip Utton, another Fringe institution who’s had a number of his shows directed by Masterton.

Must go lie down and sleep now. Ah, it feels my Fringe has begun now! A few photos from this evening for your delight and delectation.

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