Ferretbrain Goes to Edinburgh

by Dan H

Dan (and Wardog) review the Edinburgh Festival, just in time for it to finish, so it's not like any of you will ever be able to see half this stuff anyway.
Our esteemed editor (hereby denoted by esteemed italics) and I have recently returned from the hilly climes of Edinburgh, where we spent the week seeing more shows than was really good for us and forgetting to leave time to eat. What follows is a set of about a dozen mini-reviews of everything we saw, most of which was actually pretty darned good.

Sunday: Improv Day

Having arrived on Saturday and slept most of the day away, we spent Sunday booking up the rest of our week (our Esteemed Editor being a very organised person. Well, it's the only way to do Edinburgh properly because there's such a lot of going on and although being whimsical and spontaneous is lovely in theory you tend to end up seeing absolute dross. Excel Spreadsheets are optional however) and watching comic theatre, most of which was improvised.

We started out with the Oxford Imps, who have quite the reputation round our way as being the best thing since sliced bread. I don't think we caught them on their best night (improvisation in hit and miss shock) but I'm afraid we left a little disappointed. Like I say, the Imps have a good reputation on the Oxford Circuit, but when you get right down to it short-form improv is short-form improv. It's a bunch of guys and girls on a stage making up comic scenes and doing relatively amusing guessing games, and even at its best it's still more "entertaining half hour" than "life-changing comedic experience".

As improv tends to be restricted by the imagination of the audience I think we were a particularly lacklustre lot offering up such tepid challenges as "orange screwdriver" and "frogs" and "rabbits." Not that I was offering a sparkling tirade of wit and whimsicality either but, still, frogs and rabbits I ask you. I'm also not sure to what extent they were hindered by a mid-afternoon time slot - I'm not saying that improvised theatre belongs in the sewer (I believe the Edinburgh Improverts are particularly renowned for the scatological) but I think The Imps were just a touch too wholesome for their own good.

Next up was Sound and Fury's Cyranose, a delightfully childish parody of (guess what) Cyrano de Bergerac performed by three charmingly enthusiastic Americans none of whom, they reliably inform us, voted for Bush and two of whom were unexpectedly heterosexual. Cyranose was one of the most entertaining things we saw all week. It was totally juvenile and very silly, with a raft of cheap jokes of the pun-based, fourth-wall-breaking, silly-voice variety. There's even an honest to goodness Mad-lib in there at one point. I'm personally still giggling over the "bakery of pain" sequence, because there's nothing I find funnier than jokes about how French words look like English words.

This was one of my favourite shows all week - yes, it was very silly indeed but the three adorable Americans were genuinely impressive performers, juggling multiple roles (and hats) with aplomb and never flagging in their energy and enthusiasm. They are, indeed, all-singing, all-dancing, all-invisible-sword fighting and if you ever get a chance to see them I heartily recommend you should.

Our final stop on Sunday was the rather brilliant One Night Stand. One Night Stand are apparently a group of high-school friends who have since gone their separate ways, but still keep in touch and still do improv together. In particular, they do what is apparently known in the trade as "long form" improv, specifically musicals. These guys are just plain awesome. Long form improv is, I think, somewhat harder than short-form (if only because if you mess something up in short-form you blow a two minute scene, whereas if you mess something up in long-form you blow the whole show) but it pays dividends because it's much more impressive. Seeing seven kids invent a musical on the spot, complete with songs, dancing and dialogue is an awful lot like seeing magic.

Um. Yes. Totally. Our esteemed contributor and I dissected it at length after and, despite our combined ability to reduce anything to a desiccated husk within ten seconds flat, there was only one possible conclusion to the discussion: this was genuinely awesome.

For what it's worth, on Sunday we also bought the first season of The Tudors on DVD. Well, it was cheap.

Monday: Comedy Day

On Monday we watched a fair amount of comedy. We started off with a hit-and-miss parody-musical-whodunnit (aside: OpenOffice spellcheck offers to change "whodunnit" to "Sunnite", make of that what you will) called The Butler Did It. It was ... well ... hit and miss. Essentially a parody of Agatha Christie mysteries it had a full cast of insane aunts, gay cousins, simpering Milquetoasts and blustering uncles, along with an interfering sleuth by the name of "Miss Marbles" but something about the whole show didn't quite hang together. The songs were reasonable, but the plot was too consistent to be ignorable, but not consistent enough to follow. It was too silly to take seriously but not silly enough to enjoy as an anarchic pisstake. If we hadn't seen Cyranose, we might have been better disposed towards it.

I was generally better disposed towards this, although it was, was Dan has said, very flawed. It was performed with a lot of gusto, however, and the sheer profusion of side whiskers was impressive ... but, despite a couple of decent songs, it did fall a bit flat.

Next up was Aeneas Faversham Forever by The Penny Dreadfuls.. This, as you might imagine, is a parody of a Victorian Penny Dreadful, complete with murders, detectives, and evil cults (there's a certain element of the Cthulhu Mythos creeping in there as well). It's a three man show, and is extremely well judged and extremely funny. Apparently these guys have been on Radio 4, so you might want to check them out some time.

I don't really have much to add to this except further it was brilliant and points for excellent use of shadow puppets!.

The last show we caught on the Monday was Josie Long. I'm actually not in a very good position to comment on this one, because she's a friend of mine from way back. She's the sort of comic generally described as "whimsical." She has a DVD out if you're interested.

Not being hampered by friendship to the performer I, however, have no such scruples. This was the first I'd heard of Josie Long but I understand she was something of a phenomenon at The Fringe a few years back - and you can see why, her thoughtful, high-concept, whimsical, mischievous brand of humour comes across as something quite unique. I haven't seen her previous show(s) and so I don't have anything against which to compare her latest - All of the Planet's Wonders (Shown in Detail) - but I did, overall, enjoy it very much although I can equally see why somebody else might just not get it. I think it's fair to say the hour provides smiles and a warm glow rather than rolling on the floor hilarity - and the show is very much centred on Josie herself, her charm and her eccentric, romantic, very small-scale view of the world in which a misplaced bottle of Morrisons mineral water can become one of the infinite unsolvable mysteries of the universe. It's an ambitious show, that attempts to unite the small and the large, to trace connections between her childhood collection of frogs, the secrets of astrology, and museum exhibitions, and it is, on occasion, very funny indeed (a sequence in which she imagines the reactions of scandalised church goers to the works of Hieronymus Bosch, for example, tickles me even now) but it doesn't quite come off. The conclusion feels strained and ultimately the same narrowness of focus that makes the show so intimate also renders it just a trifle hollow.

In the evening we carried on with The Tudors. It's simultaneously really crap and rather good.

Tuesday: Magic Day

Tuesday kicked off with The Expert at the Card Table, by Guy Hollingsworth. This hour-long show focused exclusively on card magic, and was based around the book Expert at the Card Table. For those who don't know, Expert at the Card Table (the book) was published in the early 20th century by one "S.W. Erdnase" and provided a full and frank account of the various ways in which card manipulations could be used to either perform magic tricks or cheat at gambling. Nobody knows who S.W. Erdnase is or was, but Hollingsworth spins an engagingly sordid tale about a man named E.S. Andrews who uses his skills as a magician to cheat at cards, and gradually sinks deeper into a cycle of crime and deception, while his childhood friend Erdnase travels the world as a gentleman magician. The story is interspersed with a variety of skilfully performed card tricks, which are sometimes presented as the illusions of a gentleman magician, and sometimes as the underhanded grifts of an obsessive card-sharp.

This trick of presentation really makes the performance stand out over the other magicians we saw in Edinburgh. By presenting half of his effects (like the torn and restored card I've still got in my wallet) as "tricks" he leads the audience to believe that his other effects (like sorting a deck of cards into perfect order without looking at them) really are feats of incredible skill, rather than just being a different set of tricks. I've talked before on Ferretbrain about magicians, and how one of the most important and difficult things a magician can do is convince the audience that they're genuinely watching something miraculous, and Hollingsworth pulls that off with aplomb. The revelation, at the end of his set and his story, that Erdnase and Andrews are the same person (S.W. Erdnase being E.S. Andrews spelled backwards) serves to reinforce this central illusion, that the skilled magician can perform miraculous feats purely by the dexterous manipulation of cards. All in all probably the best magic show we saw in Edinburgh.

A bit post-Prestige, perhaps but definitely my favourite of all the magic shows we watched.

We followed Expert at the Card table with Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams. Billed as "A musical. For adults. With puppets." it follows the Avenue Q tradition of putting Muppet-like puppets in adult situations with hilarious consequences. It's genuinely really funny, and remarkably impressive given that it's only performed by two guys and a bunch of hand puppets. Like a lot of other things we saw at Edinburgh, it was a musical, and included such memorable songs as "Fuck You Disney" and "Every Day I'm Learning (How to be Less of a Dick)". It also includes hot Muppet-on-human action (baby) and a rather nice deconstruction of the cosy, simplistic world of children's stories.

This was an amazing feat, considering there were only two guys behind all the puppet work and one them (Sammy J) was on stage most of the time anyway. It is a little reliant on what you might call low humour - the first time you hear a puppet say "felching" it's enough to shock a laugh out of you but that pales after a while - but still a genuinely impressive and enjoyable piece of, God I don't know what to call it, puppet filth theatre, if not for the faint of heart or easily offended. Also Sammy J is very cute indeed. I'm saying.

On a whim, before our final show of the day, we went on to see Umbridge Swain and the Magical Diamond of Ramtuttitti. It had received some glowing reviews in the Festival press, and it was therefore with some disappointment that we were treated to an hour of decent enough 80's music gags marred with some faintly offensive gay jokes.

To fair, the rest of the audience - who were noticeably drunker than we were - seemed to enjoy it considerably more than we did. Some of the reviews I read claimed the production had a lot of warmth and heart ... it certainly had enthusiasm from the (disconcertingly large) cast but I couldn't see much more to it than that. The 80s music love was entertaining enough but I have completely lost patience with the age old theatrical tradition that being gay is, in itself, a riotously funny joke.

We ended the day with another magic show, Esoterica presented by Eric Walton. This is another one of those "if we hadn't seen something similar but better earlier on, we might have liked it more" issues. Eric Walton is a talented magician who performs some genuinely baffling tricks (there's a great card revelation he uses which I'm pretty sure doesn't involve any kind of force) and some excellent feats of mental acuity (he remembers the name of every audience member he talks to, for example). His stage persona is well crafted (if a little bit smug), often going off at tangents about different aspects of philosophy, psychology or whatever else seems relevant to the trick at hand, but his act as a whole doesn't quite hang together as well as it could. The problem, I think, is that he hasn't yet worked out how he wants to "sell" his effects. His routine involves a lot of traditional mentalist tricks, and he seems uncertain whether he wants to present them as psychology (I will use subtle clues to tell whether you're lying) or genuine ESP (I will now pluck the image you drew directly from your mind).

The problem is that he doesn't build quite enough of a rapport with his volunteers that you can believe he's using psychological manipulation, and he clearly doesn't believe in ESP, so the overwhelming impression you get from a lot of his effects is "well that was a good trick" when with a little more polish it could have been "oh my god, how did he do that!?". A talented performer with a well crafted act and excellent stage presence, he needs just a little bit more polish to push him from "good" into "amazing".

I have much less insight into magicians than Dan does but his slightly stand-offish cleverer-than-thou persona rubbed me up the wrong way. (I know what Brobdingnagian' means, thank you oh so very much Mr Walton). His card tricks turned out to be quite similar to things we had seen earlier in The Expert At the Card Table but slightly less well presented and slightly less well paced.

Tuesday evening's installment of The Tudors involved significantly fewer exposed nipples than on previous evenings. I was disappointed.

Wednesday: Serious Theatre

Realising that we were running the risk of going an entire week without seeing anything that wasn't either comedy or stage magic, we decided to devote Wednesday to Serious Theatre. Well, half of it, anyway. Of course the problem with seeing Serious Theatre is that it's so very ... well ... serious, and unless you're strongly invested in it there's not a lot to say about it except "well that was serious".

Our first Serious Theatre outing was Scaramouch Jones, performed by the writer. This monologue (and we saw a lot of monologues) is a retrospective of the twentieth century through the eyes of a hundred-year old clown by the unlikely name of Scaramouch, born in Trinidad in 1899, and passed around the middle east and most of Europe on his search for his true home as an Englishman, he gains "seven white masks" as a result of his various travails. It's very worthy, a little self-indulgent, and has an obligatory Holocaust sequence. It's well performed and very, well, serious and I certainly left the theatre with the feeling that I'd spent my time in a sensible and improving manner. I might even go so far as to say I enjoyed it.

I think I'm probably quite shallow but this was intense and worthy ... and I think it was good? I quite enjoyed the dark picaresque feel of the piece, and the rather elaborate Dickensian way he relates his adventures, but I can equally see why you might find it long-winded and pretentious if you weren't in the mood for that kind of thing.

After a quick stop for bagels, we went on to see, Dance Helix's Damned Beautiful, a modern dance interpretation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, for which I have no real basis of comparison. I think I can honestly say I liked it. It was certainly very gracefully danced, and the two performers were clearly very talented. It was even fairly recognisable as The Picture of Dorian Gray, although maybe I only say that because I knew in advance what it was supposed to be. So, yeah. Dance. Check out my cultural prowess.

Gosh, this was, um, interpretative. Interpretative dance is interpretative. There was quite a lot of Dorian Gray sloshing about The Fringe this year, what with several stage adaptations and, of course, Matthew Bourne's contender. So we went to see this one, performed by two guys from Cambridge, instead. And, um, yes, it was ... interpretative. Okay, I know bog all about dance, as anyone who has seen me getting down with my bad myself in at the local goth night can attest, but I think this was genuinely beautiful with a nice little twist at the end. Set against a discordant soundtrack and snippets of dialogue from the text, we were presented by two lovely, lithe, glistening young men in Victorian dress performing an intense duet on a stage washed in blue and gold light. Ahem. Ahem. I think I was probably getting stuff out it I shouldn't have been (they were very lithe) but it genuinely succeeded " for me " at least in abstracting some of the themes of the text, vanity, hedonism, despair, twisted homosexual relationships (yay!), into physical movement.

There was a bit of a gap between this and our next show, so (slightly perturbed by our experience with Umbridge Swain) we signed up for a show called Jabberwock. This was a pleasant surprise. A short play by a group specialising in stage combat, it was basically a well-executed excuse to string a series of extremely impressive fight scenes together. I think the same group ran a stage-fighting workshop, but I didn't get around to going to it.

More glistening young men! Yay! I was really glad one of our whimsy shows didn't suck. This was high-energy fun, with lots of bounding about the stage and, err, did I mention the glistening? I am always thrilled by the art of good stage combat and this was definitely thrilling.

Our final outing on Serious Theatre day was the not-serious-at-all Sword of Maximum Damage. This was pretty much the only play at the Festival I genuinely regret having attended. As you might have guessed from the name, it was basically about a clearly D&D-inspired game called "Castles and Kings" (or was it "Caverns and Trolls?") and focused on the final of a tournament of this particular "roleplaying game". I use sarcastic quote marks because nothing about the game resembled any RPG I have ever played (although it is referred to explicitly as a roleplaying game in the play). It involves two teams, each consisting of a Knight and a Squire (who are consistently referred to by these titles with no indication that they refer to a character who is distinct from the player) who compete to fight their way through levels of a dungeon for no clear reason. The play reinforces all of the baseless, insulting stereotypes about gamers, presenting the players as pathetic, delusional losers whose obsession with their manifestly stupid hobby prevents them functioning in the real world in any sensible way.

There's an almost-sweet romantic subplot between the two "Squires" (who are treated like servants by Knights, because roleplayers apparently live out their pseudo-medieval fantasies in real life) but it falls down because, of course, it is presented as a choice between the Normal, Healthy option of Having a Girlfriend or the Bad, Weird option of Playing the Game. The two are of course completely incompatible because you can't have a hobby and a relationship. This travesty ends with the Good Gamer (who we know is Good because he decides that he's going to give up gaming and start having sex) pulling a last minute victory out of the bag which causes the Bad Gamer to go psycho and kill everybody with a plastic knife. No. You didn't misread that. He goes psycho and kills everybody with a plastic knife. A fucking plastic knife. What the fucking fucking fucking fucking fuck.

Sorry, I've spent rather a long time ranting about this particular play but really. Is there some kind of law that says you can't have a story about gamers that doesn't end with them losing all sense of reality and killing themselves. Fuck.

I don't really have much to add to this. It did cross my mind that the plastic knife scene might have been satire ... except it wasn't well-realised enough. I've seen very few fictional explorations of gamer culture that don't somehow always return to the proposition "these people are weird and will fucking kill you" and this was, sadly, no exception. I just understand why you'd write a play about gaming, having done only the vaguest amount of actual research on the subject. I mean, you wouldn't write about, oh I don't know, caving or scrabble without at least a basic level of knowledge and involvement in it. Sigh. Just sigh.

This actually upset us so much that we decided not to see any more shows that evening and went home.

Thursday: The Day We Didn't Really Have A Proper Theme. It was meant to be physical theatre, day, actually but scheduling didn't quite pan out - curses on you Excel spreadsheet, you let me down!

I said that The Sword of Maximum Damage was the only play that I actually regretted seeing at the Festival, and I stand by that. It was not, however, the worst play I saw at the Festival. That honour goes to a play called Shafted. I feel a little bit bad for dissing this one, because the cast looked quite young (possibly even secondary school age) but it was really, really really bad. The premise was intriguing " three people are trapped in a lift, the lights go out and one of them is murdered. A "murder mystery with a psychological twist" as it was billed. Unfortunately there's a couple of flaws in the play. The first is that there are too few characters to have any real tension. If there's three people in the lift, and one of them is dead, then whoever knows they didn't kill the guy knows that the other guy did, and there's no point talking about it because you've not got anybody to convince. If there had been one or two extra characters then there could have been some really interesting intense arguments, as everybody tried to work out who the murderer was. As it is it was just the same. Damn. Conversation. Over and over again. You wanted him dead because you blamed him for your sister being a heroin addict. You wanted him dead because he knew about the "embezzlement scam" (seriously, who the fuck says "embezzlement scam"). Ad nauseam. The second flaw with the play is that it's just badly written, you keep wanting to grab the writer by the throat and shout "people do not talk like that" at him.

I could add further criticisms this play of pure awful but it would be unnecessarily cruel so I won't - even the cast seemed as depressed and embarrassed as we were by the end of it.

Once again, this made us so depressed that we went home and slept.

Things got considerably brighter in the evening with The Judgement of Paris by Company XIV. Hot chicks doing a cabaret version of Greek mythology, you really can't go wrong. There's not really a lot to say about this (our Esteemed Editor may be more forthcoming). Possibly they went a bit overboard with the smoke machines in the second half.

I am certainly very happy to forthcome on the subject of hot chicks in corsets and lacy pants. By there's "nothing much to say" I hope Dan meant there's "not much to criticise" because this was fucking amazing. It felt like a wonderful throwback to a lost sensual art as well as a truly modern piece of dance theatre. By setting the tale of Paris and Helen within a cabaret performance, The Judgement of Paris explores in a very accessible and dramatic way the simultaneous valorisation and exploitation of beauty. It's as sexy as all hell, and also genuinely disturbing with it.

We rounded off the evening with a late night production of Shakespeare's great unacknowledged comedy, Titus Andronicus. It wasn't what you'd call a conventional production, not only was it heavily abridged and awash with stage blood, but it also made the inspired decision to dress all of the Goths as ... well ... Goths, complete with fishnets and black eye-liner. It actually worked spectacularly well, cutting out a lot of the more tedious bits of the play, and pitching it almost as a weird black comedy. In the final scene, Titus is dressed in full chef's hat and whites, for the best in wacky cannibalism humour.

I think an hour and fifteen minutes is pretty much the perfect running for a play as ... challenging ... as Titus Andronicus. The fact the audience was giggling nervously throughout suggests to me that the performance was just about perfectly pitched because, really, there is another response to this play. It was pretty horrific to be honest but the sheer gusto of the extensive cast, and their enthusiasm for all the blood and violence, meant it never tipped into gruelling. Strong performances, a hard rock soundtrack and impressive direction made this about the only Titus Andronicus I'll ever be willing to stomach (did you see what I did there?).

No Tudors for us this evening, we were too tired.

Friday: Monologues, Magic and Bouncy Castles

I'd first of all like to go on record as saying that Friday was originally going to be Whimsy Day, on which we would get up early, wander into town and see whatever took our fancy. However a combination of having been burned by some slightly iffy shows and our Esteemed Editor's aversion to all things disorganised saw us booking up "Whimsy Day" completely by Wednesday afternoon.

We opened with Bully, a monologue about a young gay man who grows up in an abusive household, bounces from bad situation to bad situation and winds up in prison. It's quite good, and presented in an engaging free-verse style which blends humour and tragedy without getting too mawkish. It's not the greatest piece of theatre I've ever seen, but it didn't make me want to go home and lie down.

I had a feeling this didn't quite know where it wanted to go in the end or what it wanted to say beyond the fairly obvious "the cycle of violence, right, it like goes round and round" but it was well performed and generally okay.

Somewhat more interesting was the next show, I Love You, Bro inspired by (and actually, I think, sticking fairly closely to) the a true story you might remember from a few years back. It concerns a boy named Johnny (not his real name) who meets a boy named Mark (not his real name either) in a chatroom, and builds a web of deceit so Byzantine and complex it beggars belief. The story, made famous in a Vanity Fair article entitled U want me 2 kill him? ends with Johnny, through an alias, convincing Mark to murder him, which he attempts to do. The monologue manages to present the whole confusing, messed up affair in a remarkably sympathetic light. Told from Johnny's point of view, the play paints a picture of a confused and disturbed young boy, bewildered and out of his depth trying to impose some kind of order on his otherwise miserable life by building a fantasy life for himself with a boy he was clearly obsessed with. It also manages (writers of "The Sword of Maximum Damage" take note) to avoid painting an unrealistic or sensationalist picture of chatrooms or the internet in general. The story is only ever presented as something that happened between these two boys this one time in Manchester, it never strays into "and all this happened because the internet is corrupting our children!" territory.

Oh my God, this was awesome! Exactly what a monologue should be (and we did end up seeing a bunch of them), tense, intense, beautifully acted and beautifully written. I'd actually read a few things about the event that inspired the play, and what's particularly remarkable - as Dan has mentioned above but I'm just going to say it again because it's really damn remarkable - is how the writer has constructed a plausible and coherent psychology for something that is usually reported with faint journalistic bewilderment. The confused and desperate loneliness of Johnny (and, to a lesser extent, Mark) was genuinely heartbreaking to witness, and his behaviour all the more understandable in the light of it. Amazing performance from some random guy from Australia as well " I nearly fell off my feet when I congratulated him afterwards and his Northern accent gave way to a broad Australian drawl.

Our one piece of whimsy on what was to have been Whimsy Day was to go and book ourselves into the next show available at the Gilded Balloon, which happened to be Ali Cook: a Touch of Vegas. To borrow his own description of the act, Ali Cook is a "new wave magician, which means his tricks are a little bit sick." He pulls the head off a dove, eats goldfish, and ends his act by swallowing razor blades (accompanied by fountains of stage blood). Weirdly, though, I thought his most impressive tricks were a simple card reveal and a cups-and-balls variant, both of which were performed with a remarkable degree of skill. The performance was enhanced somewhat from my perspective by the couple sitting next to us who managed to respond to pretty much every trick with wide-eyed amazement and cries of "how did he do that?" I think if I was a magician I'd hire a couple of people to do that, because it makes you look awesome.

He ... ate ... razor blades. Dude. Also apparently he's on TV so he must be good..

Following straight on from the good Mr Cook (who I have just realised has the same name as the guy who did Letter from America, weird huh?) we rounded off our Epic Festival Adventure with Bouncy Castle Dracula. From the people who brought you Bouncy Castle Hamlet and Bouncy Castle Macbeth. It's Dracula. On a bouncy castle. You really can't go wrong. It was very, very silly a little bit self-indulgent at times (the guy playing Harker kept bogging things down with slightly tedious ad-libs) but basically it was good clean stupid fun. The best gag of the evening is probably their elaborate plan to trap Dracula: "When he takes the bait, we turn the crank, then the Stop Sign knocks the boot, which makes the ball fall into the bucket which signals the diver to jump onto the target which makes the cage fall down and trap Dracula!" (it's one of those "hang on a second ... oh they didn't" gags which people catch onto in patches so you get a laugh that kind of drifts across the room. I like those sorts of gags).
Bouncy Castle Dracula dude. Bouncy castle Dracula.

Bouncy Castle Dracula appears to have received an unfair hammering from the Fringe Press. Yes, it's shoddy, badly acted and full of cheap laughs ... but what else do you want from Dracula on a bouncy castle, at midnight on a Friday night? Perhaps I'm just not sophisticated enough for real art but this might just qualify as one of the most giggle-inducing things I've ever seen. I loved it. Okay, so it's not great theatre but it's On A Bouncy Castle.

And that was it, apart from a couple of rather tedious episodes of the Tudors focusing on Sweating Sickness (there was an outbreak at the time, and according to Wikipedia people still don't know what it was). Saturday we came home, Sunday and Monday we spent asleep and recovering. Tuesday and Wednesday we spent writing the article.
Tune in again this time next year.


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Comments (go to latest)
Rami at 11:10 on 2008-09-01
because, of course, it is presented as a choice between the Normal, Healthy option of Having a Girlfriend or the Bad, Weird option of Playing the Game
Sigh. Groan. Sigh again.
Wardog at 10:27 on 2008-09-04
Yes, sigh indeed. I saw an Alan Ayckborn play once called Wildest Dreams which was, yet again, how people turn to / are interested in roleplaying because they are in direct flight from reality. This is what he has to say about it:

"People are hiding in their computer screens. My latest play, Wildest Hearts, is about people escaping. Four rather sad misfits meet every week to play Dungeons And Dragons, the role-playing game, and the play is about plunging into this invented world. They become so involved they can no longer fit into the real world"

This is what I have to say:

"Oh for fuck's sake."
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