Edinburgh Festival Day 9: Apparently . . .

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The Independent Culture
PERFORMERS take punters dropping off during shows in their stride; it's only when they turn green and rigid that they start to worry. Having put up with a lights failure, an accidental shower of glitter from an overhead prop belonging to another show, and Arthur Smith wandering a touch unsteadily on to the stage in search of the gents, Greg Proops's show at the Assembly Rooms ground awkwardly to a halt when a large man wedged in the middle of the side rows slumped forward in his seat. Proops, spectacularly misreading the situation, ventured, 'This is what happens when you eat nothing all day then drink 15 pints,' followed by, 'Wouldn't it be inappropriate to tell a dick joke now?' It was only when punters (including the inevitable doctor-in-the-house) and staff rushed to the sick man's aid that Proops stopped the show. Not to be deterred, however, and unaware that the man was coughing blood as he was carried into an ambulance, Proops asked, 'Does anyone have any plans to spontaneously combust? Wow, if he died, I'd be fucked . . . but it would make a great story later.' Fortunately these words will not come back to haunt the clever and talented American refugee from Whose Line Is It Anyway? The man has made a complete recovery.

THERE is a distinct lack of goodwill at the Demarco Foundation of late. When London's Antic Hay Productions arrived at the venue last week, they were forced to cancel the opening show of Bel Ami because the performance space wasn't ready. The company was even less amused to discover that the published box-office number was in fact that of a local primary school. As the week toiled on, disappointment turned to despair as audiences struggled to break into double figures. Publicist Jennifer Colgan mounted impressive campaigns in the streets, but to no avail. Finally, she contacted the Fringe Office, only to be told that the play was listed as cancelled and that tickets had been withdrawn from sale.