During our 200 mile trek across Northern England, we did not have an opportunity to catch any shows. However, amongst the ruined castles, abbeys and priories, we did visit one theatre. In North Yorkshire, in the town of Richmond, we visited the Georgian Theatre Royal. It is Britain’s most complete Georgian playhouse. The theatre dates back to 1788. It was just recently restored to how it looked in the early 1800’s. The theatre tour we took was fascinating. The legendary English actor Edmund Kean started his life on stage playing in this theatre. It also displays Britain’s oldest set of stage scenery, known as ‘The Woodland Scene’. It was painted on canvas, probably between 1818 and 1836.
Edinburgh’s International Fringe Festival. According to their website, the festival presented 26,995 performances of 1800 shows in 247 venues. We only saw 25 of them in 6 ½ days:
A Swell Party - Cole Porter, John Kane -Musical revue of Cole Porter's life; very well done.
Almost There - Foteini Georganta - Three person comedy about love, jealousy, death and moments that change your life.
Apocalypse the Musical - Heather Newton, Ernest Merry – Wacky and campy musical. A tale of milkman falling in love with a whore set against the backdrop of the end of the world. God and Satan bet the house.
Beautiful Thing - Jonathan Harvey - The story of sexual awakening of two lads in Southeast London. Also a 1996 movie. Excellent cast.
Bus! A Jazz Musical - Tim Norton, Ned Bennett – Musical drama that occurs during the British General Strike of 1925. Similar in scope to ‘Ragtime’.
Corpus Christi - Terrence McNally - Passion play told with a gay twist. Good college cast.
Dark Horse, Indiana - Eric Barry, Punch Theatre - Gay world where heterosexuality is outlawed. Coming to New Conservatory Theatre in SF this fall.
Mikey the Pikey – Joel Horwood, Ben Rous - A “chav” musical of the young, urban poor. A modern day British ‘Grease’. A hot topic; there were over a dozen productions about chavs at the festival.
Nuts Coconuts - Jordi Milan - The story of the ‘Gibraltar Follies’ variety theatre company. Don’t be late! Is it a (gay) revue or deconstructionist theatre? Great fun.
Out on the Fringe - Philip Giorgi, Stephen Hancocks, Heather Weir and various contemporary composers - A musical conversation about gay life and love. Done by the same company that did the Cole Porter show but not as well.
Parade - Alfred Uhry, Jason Robert Brown - Musical based on the trail of Leo Frank in 1913, Atlanta, wrongly accused for the murder of a child. Best show we saw at the festival. Hopes to move to London.
Shakespeare for Breakfast - William Shakespeare, Judith Quin - Classic characters vie to win on a Survivor type reality show. Fun and witty.
Songs for a New World - Jason Robert Brown - Tedious selection of songs about choices and new beginnings.
The Bicycle Men - Skullduggery Theatre Company - Funny musical tale of an American trapped in a small French town with a broken bike.
The Fix - John Dempsey, Dana P Rowe - Political musical about the rise and fall of a polished but dysfunctional American politician and his almost First-Family. Good material.
Tomfoolery, The Songs of Tom Lehrer - Tom Lehrer - Musical revue with Kit and the Widow, and Dillie Keane. Songs just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago.
True West - Sam Shepard - Drama of two brothers, a screenwriter and a drifter/thief, who can’t get along.
Twelfth Night -The Musical - William Shakespeare, various contemporary songwriters, Rhythm Shakespeare Co. - Snippets of contemporary songs interspersed. Plus a live mermaid and Shakespeare at the keyboards! Very enjoyable.
Other type of performances
All Wear Bowlers - Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford - slapstick absurdist comedy by two film clowns who fall off the screen.
Caesar Twins and Friends - Acrobatics and cabaret show by two hunky brothers. One jumped off the stage and onto my lap. We were the only gay couple in the front row. We were surrounded by women who could play the lead in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo - The music and marching of the massed Pipes and Drums of the Scottish Regiments and the Massed Military Bands. Bagpipes galore.
Kiki and Herb – Comedy act of a washed up (drag) chanteuse and her life accompanist.
La Clique Un Spectacle Sensuel - Late night circus cabaret of strange and sultry performers.
Out of the Blue - Oxford male a cappella group. Great harmonies and song selections. Wish I bought one of their t-shirts.
Rigged - A joint modern dance concert by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and University of Nevada Las Vegas.