Edinburgh Diary: Bottoms up, as the naked racist takes to the bottle

 

Veronica Lee
Saturday 04 August 2012 19:52
Comments
Jan Ravens in 'The Intervention' with her over-exposed son, Phil Nichol
Jan Ravens in 'The Intervention' with her over-exposed son, Phil Nichol

The Assembly Rooms on George Street has reopened after a £9.3m refurbishment and experienced Fringe hands are delighted to welcome the old lady back.

The historic New Town venue, owned by Edinburgh city council, was much missed when it was being renovated during last year's festival. It's now under the management of Tommy Sheppard, owner of The Stand comedy club in the city, and is to be run as a year-round venue. Its refurbished performance spaces, new bars and boutique shops are already a hit. A Jamie Oliver restaurant is in what used to be a private bar for performers and critics, and the "star bar" has moved to a Spiegeltent outside the venue during the Fringe.

...

When the Assembly Rooms was closed last year, Bill Burdett-Coutts decamped the venue to the university campus in the Old Town to establish Assembly George Square. The two are now rivals and Burdett-Coutts is said to have complained about Tommy Sheppard calling the Assembly Rooms the, er, Assembly Rooms. As Sheppard pithily points out, the building has been there since 1787 and he sees no reason to rename it now.

...

Stewart Lee, full-time comedy genius and part-time controversialist, is at it again. The stand-up, who is performing his latest show at Assembly Rooms, has said the "big four" venues – Assembly George Square, Underbelly, Pleasance and Gilded Balloon – have tainted the Fringe by their commercialism. He has a point, but arts lovers must surely take issue with his suggestion that the Fringe threatens to be "a Chipping Norton of the arts". The Oxfordshire town is home to The Theatre, Chipping Norton, an accomplished multi-arts venue that's home to by far and away the UK's best non-commercial panto each year. I think he owes them a fundraiser.

...

Another Fringe, another year with no sign of the tram system that, some estimate, may cost more than £1bn by the time it's operational, although when that might be is anybody's guess. It's a farce, but no local playwright has yet taken the challenge of writing one. Perhaps for anybody in the city the subject is too close to tragedy.

...

You see some sights in this beautiful city, and surely one of the most striking at Fringe 2012 is comic and actor Phil Nichol in the buff in The Intervention – a play about an alcoholic being confronted by his family – at the Assembly Rooms. Nichol has previous in this department, as he got naked in his award-winning, ahem, stand-up show The Naked Racist in 2006. Jan Ravens, who plays Nichol's mother in The Intervention, is taking it in her stride. "I'm acting horrified," she said, "but as a woman of the world and a mother of three sons it would take more than Phil's willy to shock me. Water off a duck's back, darling!"

That's the spirit.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in