Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fringe Variety

There's a big Korean presence at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. Encouraged by seeing, and enjoying, Tago last Friday (here), I planned to take in another of the various offerings from that country on yesterday's day out.

My day had begun by seeing Hibiki again, see here.  That was so good, that it was going to be difficult for the rest of the day to match up to such a high start.

But I bought a ticket for 'Chef', not that you can tell much of what it might be about from the poster, above, seen in various places about town.

The performance was in the University of Edinburgh lecture theatre venue in George Square, a big auditorium - and it was a sell out! Word gets around quickly when something is good. And it was that.

Hard to describe what it was about. Think gangnam style meets ready steady cook, and pantomime and old time variety meet beatboxing and breakdancing. Throw in some audience involvement and you've got the idea. Great fun!

Some of the talented performers relax afterwards. Who knew that Koreans had such a fabulous sense of humour.

I'm not a great one for selfies with celebrities. But here I am with 'Sexy Chef'!

Moving on ....

Yesterday's 'nourishment' was a Malaysian curry from 'Umami Spice Girl'. Best I've tasted outside of Southeast Asia. Yummy street food in Edinburgh - who knew! My first stop on future visits to the big city this month, that's for sure.

My 'I've got an hour to spare, what's on?' pot luck of the day, was this show by Elsa Jean McTaggart, promoting a new CD, 'Lassie Will Ye Go'.

The flyer says, "If Folk Music is Your Thing." Well it used to be ... back in the 1960s when I was a student. Recently, not so much. I confess I'd never heard of Elsa Jean McTaggart. But I have now, and she's great! What an enjoyable hour.

Accompanied on stage by her husband, she began with 'The Birks of Aberfeldy'. I learned that she went to school in the town, moved away to hone musical skills in Ireland and elsewhere, and has recently returned to Scotland, and was excited to be back 'home'.

A version of 'MacPherson's Rant' brought back the memories. A great Corrie's favourite, see here, Elsa Jean's take on this old song was captivating. And nostalgic for me, although Venue 43, a little lecture theatre in the College of Surgeons building, was a far cry from the beer soaked atmosphere of the Glasgow Folk Club back in the years when performers were seen (barely) though the thick fug of cigarette smoke.

Her new material was great too, and that too has persuaded me to pay more attention to folk music again. More about this talented multi-instrumentalist here and here. I really loved her fiddle playing.

This show 'Simon and Garfunkel: Through the Years' was a recommendation from someone I met at lunchtime. Bookends are a tribute act - a tribute to the music of Simon and Garfunkel as Dan Haynes and Pete Richards themselves make the point that they don't look at bit like the originals! They have played five performances at Fringe 2016, every one a sellout.

And I now know why. This was a delightful hour. The show took us through Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's story. Making good use of the huge screen above the stage, it was like a musical PowerPoint presentation! All the big hits were there. I loved it!

I had a shiver down my spine and a tear in my eye when the first notes of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' rang out. Not just because it is a such a beautiful song, but because the screen text showed that it is more than forty-six years since the song became No 1 on the UK chart, the album staying in the charts for 300 weeks, see here. Forty-six years! Seems like yesterday, where have the years gone?

Bookends' website is here.

'The Boxer' was ringing in my ears as I left the venue to head home. 

...  In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains
Lie-la-lie . . .

Talk about earworms. I 'lie-la-lie'd all the way back on the bus to my car at the Park and Ride and, having bought one of Bookends' CDs (above), I had a most enjoyable drive home listening to it. The short one hour performance at the Fringe could only contain part of Bookends' full repertoire. The pair do a full stage show and will be at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on January 27, 2017. A date for the diary, perhaps?

Postscript: Riding the Lothian Bus No 25 last night, I could not help but notice how many people thanked the bus driver as they got off. These guys do a difficult job well, especially at Festival time, and it was great to see people appreciating this. Me too.

What a day it was. Four great shows. I'm batting seven from seven at the Fringe this year. Maybe I should stop now.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful writing as usual, Bob. The Aberdeen Uni folk club fug was no different in the early 70s! As for BOTW, et al, it was still a favourite LP when I went to Uni 2 years later hoping to find a Cecilia! Looking forward to more tales.

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