i That Was The E

Year That Was

Thom Dibdin looks back through the mists of time to a year when St Mirren won the Cup, MacMillan was Prime Minister and chickens seemed to be the order of the day at the Edinburgh Feshvai...

I The first Fringe Club was opened by Sir Compton Mackenzie at the YMCA in South St Andrew Street. An information bureau, booking service and social facilities were available, but no alcohol was on offer. What! (It was probably all lost in a wee boat off an Outer Hebridean island . . .)

I Dame Edith Sitwell (72) made her Festival debut at the Lyceum dressed in g a purple wrap and ‘high, almost cardinal-like headdress.’ Punters in the gods had the temerity to ask her to speak up as they could not hear. ‘My voice has been heard over all America,’ she retorted, ‘so I don’t see how you can’t hear it. Why don’t you get a hearing aid.’ A second microphone was added during the interval.

I Dudley Moore appeared in ‘New Pills to Purge Old Melancholy’, an

evening of musical oddities, with internationally renowned folk singer Frederick Fuller.

I Sean O’Casey’s ‘Cock-a-DoodIe-Doo’ was put on at the Lyceum by the English Stage company. One Mr Pasuka, who made a special

. trip to Essex to study at first hand the

behaviour and prancing motion of farmyard roosters, played the Cock. His lull costume oi leathers, beak and

talons which he had to wear lorthree

hours was so tight that it the unfortunate actor needed a drink the

: beak had to be opened and water : poured into his mouth.

I Why the Chicken by John McGrath

(24) was premiered by the Oxford

Theatre Group. The Scotsman described McGrath as ‘affable and with

the soft spoken retiring manner of a

botanist.’ The play featured a razor

I fight.

I The Fringe Society was formed with

' an initial membership of 25 groups who 3 performed on the Fringe. Membership

was 105 6d.

I Eyes Without A Face, the horror

. movie from George Funiu featuring full 1 facial plastic surgery, had to be shown

to critics twice. Not all had the presence oi mind oi one unnamed hack who took smelling salts to the first

press show. ' I Who is to cut the Fringe?’ grumbled The Scotsman, complaining that it had

become ‘unkempt,’ and spread to ‘practically indefinable proportions.’ On otter were: ten plays, six musicals and verse recitals, three puppet shows, two monologues, two late night

3 reviews and a festival of student films. ; A quiet weekend’s entertainment by

modern standards. Perhaps they should have served alcohol at the Fringe Club atterall . . .


, Adele Anderson, will go towards the SOLAS Centre, the newly established

centre for people with HIV/AIDS. The

I Just desserts: Performance cook Bobby Baker is looking for a young man willing to be painted in chocolate, fruit and custard as part of her Fringe show Cook Dems at the Traverse Theatre. Anyone interested (and able to keep a straight face) should contact the Traverse on 031 226 2633.

; I Poethon: One of the most unusual

literary events at this year’s Festival is Poethon ’91, a 24-hour memorised recital spanning 10-11 Aug and involving the talents of 144 people placed at venues all over Edinburgh, from Arthur's Seat at dawn to Hillend Ski Slope chair lifts. Donation cheques should be made payable to the Moniack Trust, and proceeds from the event will go towards creating a Scottish National Writer’s Centre I Ticketlink: Donations of tickets continue to flood in iorTicketIink, the community project established by Edinburgh University Settlement to allow disadvantaged individuals and groups to attend shows at this year’s Festival and Fringe. Last year over 7500 complimentary tickets were distributed to some 250 groups. I I Adele Anderson: Proceeds from the I first performance of a one woman show 1 by ex-member oi Fascinating Aida,

show takes place at 3.30pm on 9 Aug in the Pleasance Theatre. Tickets £5 (£4)

are available from the Pleasance box


I What’s in a name? Picking which Fringe shows to see by the panache of theirtitle has always been a respected system. There’s nothing this year to match the brilliance of Whoops Me Nuts Vicar! I’ve SplitThe Packet, but

here’s a few promising candidates.

1) David lcke And The Orphans of Jesus —Theatre Zoo.

2) Bestiality Killed the Cat-The Durham Revue.

3) The Return of the Son of the Raiders Of The Lost Aardvark -Theatre For Africa.

4) A Tomb with a View - Southern Light


5) Wicked Bastard oi Venus-The Custard Factory Theatre Company. 6) An Afternoon with Klaus Barbie’s


7) Corky and the Juice Pigs—Corky and the Juice Pigs 8) It’s All Over My Trousers— Paradox


9) Santa Claus Is A Bastard - Fly-Away Theatre Company.

10)Two Old Farts in the Night-Hill Street Theatre.

A Fringe In The Day Of Johnny Immateria

Something has already changed for me this year. ’What’s that then Johnny?’ (I fantasise you all

replying, as one). My circumstances,

that’s what. I now live in Edinburgh for 52 weeks a year and not just for three. If I can quote Marvin Gaye, ‘mmm, let’s get it on.’ And now if] can quote him again, ‘wherever I eventually decide to put my hat is where I’ll probably end up living.’ And the big news hat-fans is that my size seven and a quarter Kangol has come to rest fair and square in the

fair and decidedly unsquare Burgh of

Edin. Or something like that.

In previous Festivals, I’ve been at the mercy of tolerant friends (‘Yes, alright, as long as it’s only for one night’) or xenophobic agencies (‘Do I detect an English accent sir? Of course I use the term “sir” loosely. That’ll be £5000 a week plus your mother up front as a deposit. No really, I can assure you, Inverness is an up-and-coming district of the city and it is on the Northern Line.’)

But as Moira Stewart once said, ‘Old habits die hard, but first the headlines.’ and sure enough, it’s proving difficult coming to terms with having my own roofand a couple of walls to go with it. So this year, for old times’ sake, I‘m sleeping on my own floor. I’m charging myself an extortionate rent, refusing to pay it, nearly coming to blows with myselfon several occasions and threatening myself with a solicitor. I’ve had my own key

Q cut and regularly call myself a

‘bloody student.‘ I get back in the . middle of the night and ask myself f ‘what time do you call this then?‘ I i have my so-called ‘music’ on too

loud, refuse to do my own share of the washing-up or pay the bills. Well, why should I when I’m sleeping in a room previously used for the World

f Cat-Swinging Championships? A . room that makes a postage-stamp

look spacious! Well I’ll tell you something. I won’t stand for myself any longer. What I need is a good

spell in the army.

Anyway, to cut a long story short.

The end.

? Johnny Immaterial will be

performing with Ian MacPherson at

the Gilded Balloon 9—31 Aug (not Tue) at 9.30pm.


I The Wedding The mysterious man of straw appears at a wedding to tell the guests what is going on in their hearts and dreams.

The Wedding (Fringe) R.S. 9Studioszinhaz, Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 5570707, 27, 29, 31 Aug, 3.30pm, £4 (£3).

I Full Tilt Surreal combination of street theatre and music centred around a jousting tournament.

Full Tilt (Fringe) IOU Theatre,

Assembly/ Wildcat, The Meadows (Venue 116) 226 4349, 20—22 Aug, 4.15pm and8. 15pm, 23—27Aug, 12.30pm and 4.15pm, £3 (£2/£1).

I The Ballad ofthe Limehouse Rat A legendary stranger comes to London in 1841 to deal with an evil monster prowling the streets.

The Ballad of the Limehouse Rat (Fringe) Louder Than Words TC, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294,11—31Aug, 7.05pm, £5 ([4).

I The Roxy (Venue 27) has ceased to be, with the effect that some shows have cancelled while others have relocated. Details are not complete at the moment. For up-to-date details, see the Fringe Daily Diary.

I 13 Based on the true story ofthe Apollo 13 space mission, the play examines the ultimate American Dream.

13 (Fringe) Tad Theatre Company, Theatre West End (Venue 126) 12—17 Aug, 10.45am, £3 (£2.50). I Grand Farewell Tour Former Winner ofthe Nobel Peace Prize treats the audience to her favourite songs and recitations (so it says here) on her way to the Cathedral ofSaint Margaret the Possessed. Grand Farewell Tour (Fringe) Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Pleasance (Venue33) 556 6550, 9—18 Aug, 12.15am, £4—£5.


I Comic Abuse Rude and funny stand-up material from Ivor Dcmbina. Parrot and Ian Cognito Comic A buse (Fringe) Pleasance ( Venue 33) 556 6550, 19—26Aug. 12.15am. £4—[5.

The List 9— 15 August 19917