My Edinburgh: Terence Blacker on white lies and shark-infested waters at the Fringe


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The Independent Culture

It’s great. No, really, the show couldn’t be going better. In fact, the main problem is keeping up with the demand for tickets.

I have discovered the first rule of putting on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe: you have to lie a bit. Revealing the truth would like bleeding in shark-infested waters.

Strictly between us, though, it has been tough. This year 2,871 shows are on the Fringe with 24,107 artists. At times during the past week, both those numbers might have been reduced by one. At last I would get the publicity I need with a small headline in Edinburgh Now – ONE-MAN SHOW WALKS INTO THE SEA.

The streets of Edinburgh are seething with the young, the exotically dressed, the loud and the shameless, thrusting flyers into the hands of bewildered festival-goers. Selling My Village and Other Aliens has been tricky.

“It’s got songs and stories and village secrets and a writer falling apart,” I told one women.

“I’ve seen enough depressing shows, thank you,” she said.

“It’s a comedy!” I wailed as she wandered off.

The shows I have seen tend to be restless and manic with sound effects, filmed interludes, nudity. It as if Fringe audiences are assumed to be suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder.

Yet, heaven be praised, people are coming to my little cabaret bar and, away from the madness outside, show every sign of enjoying themselves.

It’s going really well. I promise.

My Village and Other Aliens, Zoo Southside to 26 August (not 19). 5.30pm (0131 662 6892)

From 13-15 August, 10 free tickets daily will be available to Independent readers who bring a copy of the day's paper to the Zoo Southside box office.

Terence Blacker's Must See:

Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen  (Pleasance Courtyard, 2.30pm) may sound like a tiresomely zany concept, but is a comical and musical triumph. Smith weaves stories from his own battered life with those of his hero, growling out the songs magnificently. There’s also the most gratuitous piece of stage nudity on the Fringe. Weird, funny and moving.