August rolls around again, and like Sisyphus we shoulder our biscuity boulder up Arthur’s Seat – looking out, we can only imagine what delights and dreads await us in the fair city of Tennants, Grayfriar’s Bobby, and Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond. In the birthplace of Harry Potter, where Ben Jonson famously called Shakespeare ‘a bit of a bell-end’, what sights lay in store? What sounds?
If the Gilded Balloon’s programme is anything to go by, some pretty excellent ones.
The folks at Teviot House have long had a pedigree in bringing homegrown talent to international notice, but this year some of their most exciting shows are prime Aussie imports. Sam Simmons returns after storming last year’s Fringe; appropriately enough, his show is About The Weather. We loved Asher Treleaven’s Matador in 2011 for its ‘socially responsible rhetoric, and cock jokes.’ He joins the Balloon for 2012 with the autobiographical Troubadour, so hopefully there’ll be more of the same. And tempting some kind of wryness overload, dryer-than-thou Hannah Gadsby presents both Hannah Wants A Wife and Mary. Contrary. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a deader pan than she.
More canny doubling sees filthy crowd favourites Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre join the surprisingly risqué Showstoppers in presenting new family-friendly efforts as alternatives to their late-night fare, and moustachioed magicians Morgan and West continue their time-travelling adventures during the day, while holding intimate evenings of card tricks and storytelling for small audiences. I’m ready for my close-up (magic), Mr. Demille!
We like the sound of Sarah Hamilton’s storytelling piece A Donkey and a Parrot, and we’re looking forward to seeing the Fringe première of Mike Daisey’s hubristic take on Apple’s dirty secrets; if you’ve been following the furore surrounding this totally-true-not-so-true-actually-false-but-still-quite-good monologue, there will be all sorts of meta-layers and schadenfreude to enjoy in The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
The Gilded Balloon also plays host to last year’s runaway hit of the Free Fringe, mentalist Doug Segal. We failed to review his show, How To Read Minds and Influence People, because it was too full to enter. A little like why all us Londoners have fled north this August – no room at the inn, and all that.
So while the country sighs in disappointment at the inevitable bungling of one ‘Team GB,’ we expect to be raising our pints to another, hollering ‘good show!’ from a cushy corner of the Library Bar. We cannot wait.