Saturday, August 26, 2006

Final round-up

We're now back home, surrounded by dead plants, unopened post, and luggage yet to be unpacked. Ah well, reality can wait for a while, and I shall postpone its arrival by doing the final batch of reviews. At some point (i.e. when I've had a really good sleep) I intend going back over the earlier posts and putting all the proper credits in, now that I can actually sit down with the full catalogue (which is well worth a read) beside me for reference.

We had a slow start on Thursday - went for a swim in the morning, lunch at the Filmhouse (very good food, especially the nachos, and the filo parcels and salad), then a fringe show in the afternoon, "Love's Labour Won", which was a reimagining of a number of Shakespeare's plots, written in Shakepearean style, but with the aim of a happy ending. It was clever in a rather knowing way, but very well performed, if a little long. Almost everyone seemed to get their own soliloquy, which dragged a little, and the Chorus (who also happened to be director, writer, and producer) popped up in the middle with an anti-war rant in verse which seemed entirely stuck on and inappropriate. It was good, but if it had been edited a little more sharply it would have been better.

Then back out to Cineworld for "The Oh in Ohio", a film about a couple who split up due to sexual difficulties. Watching a film about orgasms with your 17yo sitting next to you is really quite a surreal experience, one that is undoubtedly improved by what has to be the best onscreen public orgasm since Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" - a top class performance by Parker Posey. A splendid cast (Paul Rudd, Danny DeVito, Heather Graham, Mischa Barton, Liza Minelli) and a very funny but touching story (written by Adam Wierzbianski) made this one of our favourites. The director, Billy Kent, did a Q+A afterwards and talked about getting the cast together (they had no-one for the Heather Graham role, 2 days before filming, then Parker Posey said "shall I give Heather a call?" and she came on board), and also commented on the difficulties a film about sex might have in the more conservative parts of the USA - as he said, its fine to watch people having their heads blown off, but talking about physical pleasure is seen as unacceptable. What a bizarre world we inhabit.

Next, Dan Clark at The Pleasance, in a show called "The Day I Lost My iPod". The show is slightly surreal story-telling style comedy, with a song or two; he's very good at the observational type stuff, picking out everyday events and spinning a tale. He's also really good at dealing with odd people in the audience - when we saw him last year there was a bunch of blokes making random comments, and he seems to attract them because there was another totally nutty group in on Thursday, but he's really very good at building the oddball comments into his act. He's an excellent comedian - go and see him if you get the chance.

Then, a late night show - Mark Watson, who did one of the slots at the show I saw with Viv, Lizz, and VCB on Sunday. Again, observational comedy, starting off with him getting mugged and spinning this out into a really funny discourse on sin. This was an added slot, as his shows have been selling out, and he was clearly thrilled to be doing an extra show in a much bigger room than usual, and his excitement just made him even more endearing. We were laughing so much we were making our bench shake - again, if you get the chance, go and see him because he's an excellent stand-up comedian.

Friday, and our energy levels were flagging somewhat. A went for a browse along Princes Street while I met my life-coach mate Lyn at the TV festival. Viv was right when she said there were lots of fit men in Edinburgh, but if you want to see the highest concentration of fit blokes in suits, get thee to the TV festival. The film festival is good if you go for the slightly scruffy look (that's me in the corner, holding up my hand); the book festival is the place if you want the somewhat plump, well fed, middle aged and greying look (and definitely the place to be if you want men in sandals), but if you want smart, then the TV festival is where it's at. And their freebies are better than the film festival goodie bag - we got a pen, a balloon and a DVD of short films, they got a small bottle of wine, 2 DVDs, a double CD, iPod speakers, and an insulated mug (although thanks to a little sleight of hand, I came away with everything but the mug - all I need now is the iPod to go with the speakers - added to the 10 sample packs of coffee from the Lavazza stand by the Sheraton, and the "A Scanner Darkly" T shirt from the lovely blond barman at the Cameo, the freebie-gathering in Edinburgh has yielded some good results).

So, after all that, our final fringe show, Skinner and Bell at the Underbelly in "The Man Who Killed Death". It was OK, but no more than that - a total rip-off of The Mighty Boosh, one or two funny moments let down by the supposedly naturalistic dialogue being delivered in a far too obvious way. This was followed by our final film, "Driving Lessons", written and directed by Jeremy Brock, a semi-autobiographical tale starring Rupert Grint and Julie Walters. It's a sentimental coming of age story about the immature son of a vicar who goes to work for a boozy old actress; possibly one of the more multiplex-friendly films I've seen this week, yet no less enjoyable for all that. We both liked it - a nice film to end with.

The film festival awards have been announced today - "Clerks II" got the audience award (so I was right after all), and "Brothers of the Head" got the Michael Powell award for the best new British feature. Congratulations to all concerned.

And that's the end of Edinburgh 2006. Can I go to bed now?


Blogger Nez said...

Yes - you may indeed go to bed. Sweet dreams!

12:07 am  
Blogger Tim Clague said...

Well done on making it through to the end! It seema a lifetime ago to me already!

7:07 pm  
Blogger Stacie said...


1:58 am  

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