ED2010 Columns ED2010 Theatre ED2010 Week2 Edition

But First Pip Utton

By | Published on Tuesday 31 August 2010


Our second guest editor of 2010, Pip Utton, confirms the Fringe is still about discovering and enjoying the unfamiliar.

It’s the start of Week Two as I write this, and already I’m feeling guilty about the number of friends’ shows I’ve promised to see with little intention of keeping the promise.

I tell myself that there just isn’t enough time, that I’m doing two shows a day and I need to unwind, eat, sleep. But the real reason is that for the four weeks I’m here I get the chance to see things that don’t tour to my local theatres, and that don’t regularly perform in the UK at any other time and, if I’m being honest, it’s those shows that are at the top of my priority list.

I’ve been performing on the Fringe for eighteen years (still hoping to become an overnight success) and have watched it continue to grow like topsy. Every year the cry that it’s getting “too big” and that “comedy’s taking over” will be trumpeted in some publication or other when it runs out of anything else to bleat about. But that’s a tired old grumble. Take a proper look at the Fringe. The whole Fringe. It’s all growing. It’s all pushing the boundaries of performance and reaching new levels of excellence. And, of course, plumbing new depths of awfulness. But that’s the glory of it all; the opportunity to succeed and the freedom to fail.

All the sections in the Fringe brochure change in size and style every year.

The blitzkrieg of postering for comedy and the deluge of flyering for theatre ensure that music isn’t at the top of many ‘must see’ lists. But the music section in the Fringe programme grows each year and the opportunity to experience the range of styles is too good to miss. From a cappella to ukelele, from Bach to the ‘Yiddish Song Project’, there’s enough variety to tempt anyone to expand their music experience.

And that’s part of what the Fringe is about; expanding experience. Whatever else you get out of the Fringe, the opportunities to take a chance and watch or listen to something you would not usually consider are boundless. I get few chances to listen to live music, other than the annual trip to Glasto and the handful of local performances I can get to at home when not touring, so for me this is too good a chance to miss.

With that in mind, as Guest Editor of ThreeWeeks this week I wanted to interview performers from two opposite ends of the music spectrum; the globally famous Camille O’Sullivan and an unknown rock band from Mumbai called Something Relevant.

Camille is guaranteed to be performing to sell out crowds and will get well deserved attention from the media, whereas Something Relevant will, I expect, have to work very hard to get noticed. Their experiences performing here will be so different. But perhaps their hopes and dreams might not be so far apart. Perhaps the hopes and dreams of all of us up here, whether for the first or the umpteenth time, are very similar.

And finally, a short mention for all those techies and box office and back room folk who come here without any chance of 5 star reviews or fame and certainly not fortune. Thank you. And I hope your cold’s better Neil (my technician).

Pip performed ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and ‘Charles Dickens’ at the New Town Theatre at Fringe 2010.