A hard act to follow

The National Theatre Live had a new screening last Wednesday, nice timing to whet the appetite for some theatrics at the Fringe, only eight days away now! Apparently it was the highest grossing event cinema release in the UK, not surprising as the star (and only person in it) is Jodie Comer of Killing Eve fame; Prima Facie is her West End debut and boy, she is bloody tremondous in it! A hundred minutes of monologue and she kept us hanging on every word – a high bar for any one to reach in the next month.

Jodie Comer plays Tessa a brilliant young barrister who specialises in defending men accused of sexual assault, the start of the play sees her swagger and treat the job like a sport to be won, winning points (there’s something of a reminder of Villanelle); then, after being raped by a male work colleague, she comes the realisation that someone else will be trying to score all those same points if she presses charges.

The set is two large, grand wooden tables and leather chairs which Comer moves around herself during her monologue, she also has slight changes of clothing to gracefully and unobtrusively manage whilst speaking. She takes books and ledgers down from the walls to later replace them again, files light up signifying the number of cases of sexual assault, but our eyes stay on Comer and her brilliant performance. An amazing piece of theatre but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the truth of how courts work and how little truth can mean in a court of law.

Now I did say at the end of my last blog post that that would be it on local live music for a bit, but last Friday night was a tad special at Stramash. I mentioned that the Willie Dug Band had been moved from the 7pm slot to the 10pm slot; it was Willie Dug‘s other band the Miracle Glass Company who were playing on Friday, and boy they were good. I got into them thanks to a playlist by Logan’s Close on Spotify that I listened to a lot during the first Lockdown (I was being cheap and listening for free). The MGC are back playing together again and have two gigs next week, if it wasn’t the start of the Fringe I would have tried to get a ticket. Oh well, there’ll be more opportunities.

Last night saw the end of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and I saw the ever delightful Nicole Smit and her Travelling Tent Show. Unfortunately it was a drizzly evening so I stayed under one of the big umbrellas until the queue had gone and I could dash straight into the Piccolo Tent. It’s rather nice in there, red velvet drapes on the walls and well-padded tiered seating (There used to be another old spiegeltent, the Bosco, which just had wooden benches, rather numbing on the bottom!) Locals the Tenement Jazz Band were backing our chanteuse; there was also the bonus of Kat Brooks singing a few numbers and shimmying around in white fringed dress (oh my!). Blind Boy Paxton popped in for one song, it was quite a show all in all.

The Assembly George Square Garden stays open this week, hoping the footfall won’t fall too much between the Festivals. The other bar area in Teviot Square is up and running too, it opens a few weeks early so that all the graduates have somewhere to celebrate straight after walking out of the McEwan Hall (literally next to it!). This shows the power of advertising – I really can’t say whose beer garden it is! I walk past it a lot, every year, but to me it’s just “the bar bit in Teviot Square”, I assume one of the big names has it?! The Pleasance Courtyard are busy getting ready, the big 33 sign still wasn’t up yesterday.

The town is getting busy now, not long to go. Must dash, just noticed on Facebook that The Scat Rats are playing Stramash tonight, something of a departure for them, on a Monday!

Toodle pip!

《Didn’t click hard enough last night – it’s been hanging half published, oops!》

You wait two years for a Festival ….

It’s June, the sun is shining and the Meadows Fair (or Festival, as it has become) is back again on the first weekend of the month, yay. Apparently not as big as it was before Covid, not down to Covid but our money-grabbing, anti-locals council; the usual space in the Meadows has been priced out of the Fair’s range, so it will all be in the area that was previously just an extra spill over corner. I noticed the other day that the travelling fairground has come back in it’s usual spot, it comes for about seven or eight days.

a fort, anyone?

The Meadows Fair is wonderful for spotting odd buys on the bric-a-brac stalls and bumping into old acquaintances you haven’t seen since the last time. There’s live music right through the day til six o’clock. Indeed, this year they’ve been seriously promoting the bands on Facebook, check them out at Meadows Festival Edinburgh. No mention of a second smaller stage for young, upcoming bands this year, so I don’t know if that’s happening or not. Annoyingly I have somewhere else to be on Saturday from noon, but I should manage to be up there in plenty of time for Black Cat Bone at five o’clock.

do you wanna get ahead?

I may be a tad whacked on Saturday because The Buccaneers are playing the midnight slot at Whistlebinkies on Friday night. I’m thinking of seeing the new Dr Strange film beforehand, the 8:40 showing won’t finish until 11:15 which gives a nice time to walk from the cinema to Binkies. [EDIT it was just Binkies nonsense again, I checked with Mr Marah, he was away playing on Islay] It is a good stop-off point on my home from a movie, I went to check out their Legendary Open Mic Night on Monday after seeing Downton Abbey: A New Era (very enjoyable if you’re a Downton fan – very predictable but the script is witty with the Dowager Countess getting all the best lines as usual). Why is Binkie’s open mic “legendary”? I don’t know, maybe there is a history that justifies the term, I hope so, legendary to me is a term that should be whispered by others not claimed for oneself.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival will be fully back this year, disappointingly not this month. They’ve put it back in August like it was until around 2007 when it moved to June; I much prefer it in June, there’s enough to see in August with it! I’ve now had a look at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival programme for this year, the lovely Nicole Smit has two shows on the final weekend. Oo, it’s a great venue, the Piccolo tent, perfect for Nicole Smit: Travelling Tent Show to celebrate the music of 1920s tent shows; I don’t have a ticket yet but I shall! (at £18 it’s pricey for me, but she’s worth it)

Free to wander around will be the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket on Saturday 16th July and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival (around the Mound and Princes Street) on Sunday 17th July. Fingers crossed for a sunny weekend! It’s starting to feel like an Edinburgh summer now, where’s my sunglasses?