This is my last day at Edinburgh Fringe 2013 and I’ve only had four hours sleep due to my visit to last night’s Best of the Fest show and this morning’s early (for the Fringe) show at 10.30am.
The show in question is The Big Bite Size Breakfast. I first saw this cast perform at last year’s Fringe. The idea is we get five short plays from between seven and 14 minutes in length and a croissant and coffee for breakfast – so what’s not to like.
This is a superb cast of six actors and I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s offering, so was looking forward to this show (even if I did have to get up early to make it). On offer today was Menu 1 – Two’s Company. The first play was Drury Lane and for me this wasn’t particularly engaging as it was a little too long.
Elephants and Coffee was better but the outstanding play of the five was Thin Air, a one-woman play skilfully acted by Tegen Hitchens about her life on the high wire. The last play Hitched was also notable as being very funny and had all of us in the audience in stitches (that pun will make sense if you see the play). A fantastic theatre company but a patchy group of plays.
Man Ray Portraits
I’d left some time free on this last day to visit a CD & record fair in Charlottes’ Square. It promised rare music but didn’t deliver and I only spent about 15 minutes looking around as I’d decided to go and visit the Man Ray Portraits exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This isn’t part of the Fringe but being a fan of the surrealist art movement of the 1920s and 30s, it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
If you are unsure who Man Ray was he was an American modernist artist who spent most of his career in Paris and he was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements.
This is the first major retrospective of this influential artist and although Man Ray worked in all media, these are his portrait photographs. It seems as though he photographed anybody who was anybody from the 1930s onwards – including Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway the list goes on.
His most stunning portraits are of his assistant and lover at the time Lee Miller (who was a model and photographer in her own right). It is said that Lee Miller flew to Paris to meet Man Ray found him in a café and said “I’m your new student”. It’s important to say this is not a Surrealist exhibition but the majority of photographs on display are fantastic.
Man Ray Portraits ★★★★☆
After buying the Man Ray poster, badge and fridge magnet I decided to spend my last couple of hours in St Andrew’s Square Gardens where there was lots going on with a mini beach, golf course and kiddies peddle car race track and music being performed by some very good solo acts. The most impressive was a Scottish guy playing very good home grown reggae tunes on his guitar.
I had planned to go see Quietly at the Traverse Theatre at 4pm but the play was 1 hour and 20 minutes leaving me only ten minutes to catch my train home (an impossible task), I was very disappointed not to see this play as its already receiving four- and five-star reviews and I have an great interest in Belfast (and the troubles) since I performed at the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music in Belfast in 2012.
I’m working on an album of music inspired by the city and I thought that seeing the plat might contribute to that work. My only hope is that Quietly tours the UK and comes to York later on in the year.
And then all too suddenly I was on a packed train back to York looking forward to going home but missing the buzz of the Fringe.
After seeing more than 20 shows in five days, I’m looking forward to a good long sleep – but my next blog will round up my top shows of the festival and some of the shows I’d hoped to have seen but missed.
Show of the Day: Man Ray Portrait exhibition
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