Edinburgh 2013: Terence Blacker's My Village and Other Aliens is an accomplished Fringe debut
For a writer to share his or her problems with writer's block is, says Terence Blacker, like bleeding into shark-infested waters. He has taken the plunge nonetheless and in this, an accomplished Fringe debut inspired by his struggles with ideas and wrangles with publishers, the risk pays off.
A novelist, comedy writer and Independent columnist, by his own admission, Blacker would normally be a shoo-in for a yurt down the road at the Book Festival. Instead he is perched on a stool in a makeshift cabaret bar beneath a church and the result is far more unexpected, illuminating and enjoyable than the average author Q&A.
The hour knits together anecdotes from his own career and witticisms from great authors, with tales of his neighbours and of the village writers' group he set up to help himself out of a creative slump. In between there are bittersweet songs about lost love and posh barbecues. This is no twee meander through rural life, though - there's a pleasing bite behind the melodies and for every song about a leylandii hedge, there's another about a neighbour's porn addiction.
Blacker - red scarf around neck, guitar on knee - is a natural raconteur, utterly at ease on stage. At the start of the show, he says that his village has few literary credentials other than the fact that Virginia Woolf once went for a bike ride near it. Now it can claim to have inspired a successful Edinburgh show, too.
To 26 August (0131 662 6892)
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'The Fappening': Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how the internet reacted
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, review: Revolution still seems far off
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Foo Fighters: 2015 tour dates announced for Sonic Highways
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God