YorkMix at Edinburgh ’13: Hits and near misses

Souvenirs… Ian's Edinburgh stuff. Photograph: Ian Cole
25 Aug 2013 @ 10.02 pm
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Souvenirs… Ian's Edinburgh stuff. Photograph: Ian Cole
Souvenirs… Ian’s Edinburgh stuff. Photograph: Ian Cole

Ian ColeIan Cole at the Edinburgh Fringe
Favourite shows

I saw 20 shows in five full days involving over 90 performers and the majority of the work was excellent. I’m always very conscious of being negative about the blood sweat and tear that artists put into their work but don’t feel I can shy away from what is my personal opinion (and who’s to say I’m right anyway).

My only regret about Fringe 2013 is that I couldn’t stay longer although another week of bad diet, no sleep and walking 10 to 15 miles a day would have killed me.

And so to my top shows of Fringe 2013 as in Juke Box Jury style, here are the top ten hits in reverse order:

10: Shadow On Their Wall from Sheepish Productions: this one man show is the stuff of nightmares.

9: Voices In Your Head – The Phill Jupitus Experiment good old improv with a new twist.

8: Norman Lovett’s show Old And New – gentle, funny and brilliantly executed.

7: Craig Campbell at Best Of The Fest. If I’d had more time I would have gone to see his full show and I’m looking forward to him touring somewhere near York soon.

6: Mark Thomas’s 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent and I have to admit that I am now one of Mark’s dissenters.

5: I’m With The Band by the Traverse Theatre Company & Wales Millennium Centre. I was amazed by how a left-handed bass guitarist could pick up a right handed six-string guitar and play it the wrong way round with the rest of the band.

4: The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – In Space. Everyone loves a little sock now and then.

3: On The One Hand by The Paper Birds Theatre Company – must try and catch Thirsty which is also still touring the UK.

Runner up: The Librarians by the Minotaur Theatre Company – one of the best university productions I’ve ever seen.

My Show Of The Fringe 2013: Who’s Afraid Of Rachel Roberts by the Torch Theatre Company. With a stunning performance by Helen Griffin.

Near misses

So what about the misses, these are shows that I wanted to see but just didn’t make it? Top of the list is Quietly by the Abbey Theatre. I’m pleased to say that the show has just won a Scotsman Fringe First Award.

I was handed a flyer by one of the cast members of Titus Andronicus and wanted to see this play it being Shakespeare’s most violent offering.

Hiraeth Artistic Productions have set the play in the 1980s London and deep inside British extremist skinhead culture with roman warriors being replaced with National Front political soldiers with their armour being switched for military-style shaved heads, combat boots, drugs and knives. Doused in Eighties politics, music, fashion and culture.

I also wanted to catch MJ Hibbard’s Total Hero Team – the two-man rock opera about superheroes (a free fringe show), the Mugenkyo Tailo Drummers and Rick Walkman but just ran out of time. But at least there’s next year…