Julian Hall's Edinburgh Festival diary

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The Independent Culture

Assembly Rooms staff seeking to use the members-only Club Bar have been told not to wear their work clothes while fraternising there. The measure was brought to our source's attention when he witnessed a staff member at the same table as Michael Barrymore – up here with the play Surviving Spike – reversing his work shirt. Our source was assured that rules forced the staff member to do this and that it was not a desperate attempt by him not to be recognised while out with Barrymore.

To promote his show, Mark Allen's Pet Project, the comedian dressed in a dalmatian costume. All was well until Allen encountered a real dog who took a dislike to him: "I thought it would be quite funny to growl at him. Then the dog went for me, it took two people to restrain him. I fled with my tail between my legs."

Gay comic Scott Capurro has taken his mock-predatory stage persona out onto the streets. The San Franciscan Fringe regular has instructed his people to seek out boys who are "cute and curious enough" – meaning "pale and young enough to be my muse." Those who fulfil this criteria will be rewarded with freebies. Tickets, that is.

Part of the Proteus Theatre Company's The Elephant Man involves a watermelon being passed around the audience to demonstrate the additional weight John Merrick carried on his neck due to the sheer size of his head. Two watermelons had been left in a box. When the director opened the box, the watermelons had created something that really did belong in a freakshow. The show's artistic director, Mary Swan, asked the audience to ignore the foul odour pervading Merrick's form, saying: "It's a little more accurate than normal!"

juleshall@hotmail.com

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