Written by Julian Lopez-Morillas   
Thursday, 09 August 2012 08:35

    Well, let's face up to it-- in one respect, the trip has fallen well short of expectations. The attendance at our shows has been pretty wretched.

    This is common enough at the Fringe, and I was somewhat prepared for it. I've heard many stories of shows playing to tiny houses, but like Mark Twain and death, I always thought there would be an exception made in my case. But we have been playing to very small houses, and the hope that British audiences would be drawn to a show about one of "their" poets was clearly over-optimistic. Maybe I should have done Robbie Burns.

    The culmination was three nights ago, when curtain time came and went and there were no tickets sold. Silver lining: I got quickly out of costume and we nipped upstairs to see Wojtek the Bear, which Jannie had got to see but the rest of us were fated to miss because it plays in almost the same time slot. It was remarkable, with two very accomplished actors performing energetically, intensely and with an inspiring working relationship between them.

    Anyway, we're not downhearted. Those who are coming to see us are giving us very positive feedback, and we depend on them to pass the word along; and they've just opened the Half-Price Hut outside the art museum on Princes Street, where we're listed and where we'll be going each afternoon to hand out flyers and talk to people about the show. We hope to finish (relatively) strong.

    We continue to see provocative shows, along with a few misfires. Armada! the Musical, for instance, which i saw on a whim because I thought the subject matter was promising, turned out to be kind of a dog. But Mike McShane's show about an American stalker obsessed with the Queen was really well done; and the American import Re-Animator the Musical, which my old CMU friend Cynthia Carle is in, is a real hoot, a tongue-in-cheek Grand Guignol spectacle tenuously based on an HP Lovecraft horror tale (by way of an 80's cult movie), with the first four rows getting drenched in stage gore and other body fluids (they handed out black polythene rain ponchos for those up front; we prudently sat bak a few rows). Very professional production, clearly aiming for a second life (so to speak) after the Fringe closes.

    And we continue to enjoy exploring Scottish culture and history. We've been blessed with glorious weather the last couple of days, with a promise of a couple more dry days to come. Two days ago we took a city bus out to Rosslyn Chapel, familiar to the Da Vinci Code buffs among you:

    ...with the most amazing array of 15th-century stone carving inside, as impressive in its way as anything I've seen at Notre-Dame or anywhere else. Beautiful, atmospheric place. Then yesterday I took a morning train into Glasgow to look at the cathedral, the only one in Scotland not to have been wrecked during the reformation:

    Beautiful and unique, with a "lower church" under the choir which figures in Scott's Rob Roy. Also nearby, Provand's Lordship, a churchman's house built in 1471, with exhibits of the period inside.

    Today Jannie returns from York, having seen the Mystery Plays last night. Her guest posting will be next on this blog.