Edinburgh Festival Day 12: Apparently ..

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The Independent Culture
THE BEAUTY of being a surrealist is that you can get away with anything: Dadaist comedian, writer and megastar Arthur Smith promised the 80 audience members for his new Edinburgh Rock Show a complete shambles . . . and that was what they got. An alternative to Smith's beer-fuelled small-hours alternative tours of the Royal Mile, the show began at 3pm in the Pleasance courtyard. Smith, clad in a lycra all-in-one with eyes over his nipples and a mouth dangling a cigarette protruding from his crotch, herded punters into a coach bound for the Owl House in the Pentland Hills, six miles south of Edinburgh. The journey was enlivened by witticisms from Smith and Shakespearian lute songs from Time Out's Rick Jones, until the bus broke down amid much swearing. During a pause to top up the radiator, the audience was distracted by Mark the phlegm juggler, whose act cannot be described in a family newspaper. All went well until the bus reached a dirt track leading to the Owl House, only to find it un-negotiable. Undeterred, Smith backed the convoy up to the nearby Flotterstone Inn; with the local policeman pressed into service behind the bar, the show relocated to the pub garden, where the audience was treated to a round of drinks from Smith prior to a loose interpretation of the Bonny Prince Charlie story, complete with fireworks. One of the pub's three regulars, a farmer, commented that the Flotterstone Inn was 'usually very quiet at this time of day'.

ANY COMIC worth his salt is ready for a heckler, but Phil Kay couldn't have been prepared for the repeated pitch-invasions during his Gilded Balloon Backstage show by a man carrying a guitar and a ghetto blaster. Arriving late and loudly, the man was escorted out by one of the venue staff, only to return to demand that Kay ask him to leave personally. Kay did so and resumed his set, only to be interrupted again while a search was conducted for the intruder's guitar, which he'd left in the theatre. Since Kay's act includes the making of spoof phone calls to unsuspecting innocents, this could be a case of audience participation strikes back.

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