The Edinburgh Festival Fringe returned in 2021, but much smaller after the ravages of Covid. What do the participants think about this year? What about the future? Nick Hennegan talks to actor Tim Marriott, New York stand-up Jack Dennis, Assembly PR Hannah Bradley Croall and Assembly Marketer, Daniel Saunders in the Assembly Festival Gardens, for Resonance FM and Bohemian Britain.com — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/bohemianbritain/message
A great, friendly little pub in the little Welsh Village of Llanon. Mainly locals, with a smattering of holidaymakers, the food is good value for money, the staff universally friendly and the wifi strong for those research/download/upload moments.
We love this. The land of Dylan Thomas! Go for it, Aber! And our writer @NickHennegan is always in #Wales #Literature #aberystwyth @CambrianNews #londonliterarypubcrawl
Nick Hennegan gives an instant review of the Lyric Hammersmith’s ‘Heart of Hammersmith’ community production. And mentions again that it was his idea! 😳
There are some negatives with this production and its not surprising because emotionally and artistically, I’ve been planning it in me head for years! Some negatives, yes, but the cast, a crucial part of any such community theatre venture, is not one of them! Sure there’s the odd mumble and diction occasionally gets lost, but they are all eminently watchable and talented and their enjoyment is infectious and moving. Well done. It’s quite a young cast as well, but they were generally all well used and there’s a fascinating range of characters and local places. Even a sandwich delivery bike crosses the stage at one point, a stage lightly set with box like buildings.
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Heart of Darkness… Sorry… Heart of Hammersmith https://anchor.fm/bohemianbritain/episodes/Heart-of-Darkness—-Sorry—-Heart-of-Hammersmith-e17fbqa
There are some negatives with this production and its not surprising because emotionally and artistically, I’ve been planning it in me head for years! (See earlier post! :-)) Some negatives, yes, but the cast, a crucial part of any such community theatre venture, is not one of them! Sure there’s the odd mumble and diction occasionally gets lost, but they are all eminently watchable and talented and their enjoyment is infectious and moving. Well done. It’s quite a young cast as well, but they were generally all well used and there’s a fascinating range of characters and local places. Even a sandwich delivery bike crosses the stage at one point, a stage lightly set with box like buildings.
The negatives come more from the structure of the piece which, in my very cynical opinion, lacks focus. It also lack pace on occasions, but that’s not the fault of the cast. It is hugely noticeable, almost a shock, how the piece comes to life with the series of musical tributes that suddenly and perhaps a bit illogically, appears in the middle of the show. It’s also when the show becomes it’s most theatrical and entertaining. It also does that theatre thing I hate when theatres do ‘community’ and make assumptions about working class folk. The production gets annoyingly preachy… quite often. As a working class kid, born and bred on a council estate in Birmingham, it constantly annoys me how professional Uni theatre folk seem to think we live. But apart from the obvious bit of preaching, the local cast keep it honest and this show is packed with local references, as you would expect.
There’s a slightly surprising twist too – and it finished off a low beat ending. I was hoping for something a bit more celebratory, but it was not to be, in spite of a loud and enthusiastic audience.
So well done Hammersmith.
And Lyric, you’re a big beautiful theatre and are to be congratulated. It’s great coming together after the times we’ve been through. But maybe you could have done better. Give me a call next time. It was, after all, my original idea! Oh, I may have already mentioned that…! x
Two years after Nick approached the Lyric in Hammersmith with the idea, they are producing their first community play. After the success of Maverick Theatres People’s Company in Birmingham, how will this shape up? Podcast Part Two will follow the show tonight! 😳 please comment if you’d like to!
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Heart of Hammermith – Part One! https://anchor.fm/bohemianbritain/episodes/Heart-of-Hammermith—Part-One-e17f4jb
Torin Douglas hosts the Waterstone’s local authors launch party at the George lV, on Chiswick High Road and tells us why Chiswick in West London is possibly the most literary place in the UK!
The Black Lion, Hammersmith.
A favourite writing boozer of mine, Dylan Thomas sofa-surfed a few doors down for a short time in WW2. And the lovely management let me use a space in the pub for a Dylan Thomas Day get together a few years ago. It was online as well as being live. I said to the manager there could be a good turnout and a good bar take. There was. Nearly 200 people turned up. All but one online! I did my best to up the beer-take mind. And I have done my best ever since! Lovely pub, lovely management. Next to the Thames. Not much not to love!
We’re at the Duke of York in Fitzrovia. A controversial pub sign and connections with Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.’ Join us every Saturday to find out more. http://www.LondonLiteraryPubCrawl.com.
“The Edinburgh Fringe is stupid. It’s too tough. It’s too brutal and bloody ridiculously expensive and in spite of occasional successes I’m never doing Edinburgh again.” So said one Edinburgh Fringe veteran to me in 2013. I won’t name him here. But then he said the same to me the next year. And the year after. And the year after that…! You get the idea.
“Ignore him,” says his wife. “He’ll be back. He always comes back. Edinburgh is like a drug.”
And as the train pulls slowly out of Waverley Station, I feel an unfathomable sorrow. Maybe it’s because there’s still some of the Fringe left to go and I’m suffering FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out!) which I often do, but it’s not just that. It’s not even been the sort of Edinburgh festival fringe I’m used to. Last time I was here I had two productions of my own and there were nearly 4,000 shows. This time it’s around 180!
So in spite of travelling light to the 2021 Fringe Light, with only two bags, at the end of my stay at Fringe ‘21, I walk very heavily out of my not very cheap budget hotel, past the Waverley Pub, over the Royal Mile, past The End Of The World (pub) past the baked potato place toward the train at Waverley Station on the way to Kings Cross. For the first time in years, I’ve not had a show (or two or three!) to worry about. None of the usual stresses. And there’s actually a seat reserved for me on the train! Normally on the last day of the festival there’s a lethal lack of space on all the trains, oversold by the grasping gits who run the services! Just saying…!
Now I HAVE been rushing round like a mad thing for a week and talking to people and doing radio shows and podcasts and I DO feel a bit knackered. But I mainly feel sad to be leaving. So why? What is it? Is it the people? Well, actually, in once sense, yes it is. Because after the years here, I now know people, lovely artists, who I only see – and very much look forward to seeing – in Edinburgh in August. Mmm! So maybe my fringe legends’ wife was right.
It’s taken me a while to try and work it out and I think it almost is a kind of drug. Edinburgh is the biggest open arts festival in the world. So there is nothing else like it in the world. The fear, failing finances and fatigue that we experience here is unique in the world. As are the friends, fortitude and fame that might (rarely) result from being here too.
Yes. I think that’s it. The human experiences at the Festival are unique in the world. Different to a West End opening. Different to a new tour first night. So. One way or another, I shall be back with at least one production next year. Along with my Fringe Legend Friend who, as I was leaving this time, said, “No. I don’t think so. Not next year. It’s too tough.”
We’ll BOTH see you there.