Oh, yeah. Jim and Val and i picked out two shows at random and got a couple of great shows, both nearly sold out. At the first one we slid into the back row. At the second, we lucked into three seats near the front of a packed bar venue, but had to climb over and under the tables to get to them.
Both shows, completely coincidentally, were offshore raconteurs who, with the aid of nothing but a chair or stool, told long, rambling tales punctuated by much digression and impromptu commentary. Ah, that Brit wit — when it works (and by the time it gets this far afield it always works), nothing beats it.
- The Spy — Aussie performer Jotto Katz is a master of deception, misdirection and sleight-of-mind in this mid-70s tale of espionage and shifting identity. Playing multiple characters, boldly inviting commentary from the audience, boldly ignoring the theatrical suspension of disbelief, and with a line of narrative as tangled as a plate of spaghetti, he truly seemed to be having a good time. So did we.
- The Further Advetures of Antoine Feval — Wonderfully confident Brit actor Chris Gibbs (now Toronto-based and with a 3-week-old Canadian baby, if his multifarious asides are to be believed), standing on a 4-by-10 makeshift stage against the wall of the top floor of the King’s Head restaurant/bar, addressed a full, full house of wined (beered) and dined patrons. (The remains of a fish-and-chips graced our table for the whole show.) Elocution, my dears: he learned it. It was learned by him. Very Shakespearean. Very Victorian. A long, looping, literate tale told in a plummy accent by a pro. It was delightful to watch the rapt audience following the tale like children.
I’m really enjoying the spoken word shows, and will make a delibelate effort to catch as many as i can during the Fringe. Alas, i’ve learned that mumsy has arranged several visits with the rellies during the coming week, which will sorely limit my Fringing time. I must approach it with military precision.