ED2012 Columns ED2012 Week1 Edition

Lynn’s Letter To Edinburgh: Make the very most of it

By | Published on Tuesday 7 August 2012

A broken foot meant Fringe legend Lynn Ruth Miller had to cancel her foray to Edinburgh this year. So we invited her to pen a letter to everyone at the Fringe with some words of wisdom for performers, and show tips for all.

“Edinburgh is an experience: A city of enormous gifts, whose streets sing of history whose cobbles tell tales” Alan Bold

Way back in 2005, when I first brought comedians from San Francisco to the Edinburgh Festival I had no idea I had suddenly and unexpectedly entered the most exciting era of my life: one where the performance was not just the thing … it was everything. That year I learned the basics of how to have a wonderful experience in Edinburgh, how to ride with the disappointments of empty houses, forgotten lines and endless rain. That secret is to ignore reality, forget profit and loss and keep your mind focused on the real reason you brought a show to Edinburgh to perform for 30 nights risking bad reviews, electrical failure or the inevitable incurable laryngitis. (It is going to happen… and if you are a true Edinburgh Troubadour, you will do your show anyway).

You went to the expense and trouble; you put forth your most creative effort to make your show spectacular because you believe deep down in your heart that you have something extraordinary to give to the whole world and Edinburgh in August is THE only place where that world actually comes to see you whether they have heard of you or not.

I am going to miss all of you, your enthusiasm, your belief that the arts are where the answers are. I ache for the excitement, the laptops failing and the fireworks exploding in the sky as I fight through the crowds on High Street and the Cowgate, the Grassmarket and George Street determined to sing my song to anyone who will listen.

I want to tell you about a few shows you must see besides your own. Don’t make the mistake of absorbing yourself only in your own production. The flyers can wait; the promotion in coffee shops and on the street do not need all your time. Word of mouth is your best friend and that will happen every time someone sees your production and gets what you are trying to say.

You are in Edinburgh to grow as an artist and to dip into the most exciting human experience.  You are there to see amazingly marvellous and original thought presented in tiny nooks and crannies all over this magic city. You are wasting Edinburgh if you don’t spend every waking hour soaking up shows and ideas, meeting the performers, the producers and the people who make your show worthwhile: the audience. The endless drunken late night chats, the unexpected bonding with people from different cultures and different generations: THAT is the real value of Edinburgh. When I am in Edinburgh doing my shows (and I always do at least two) I am ageless. I mingle with people I could have mothered and people who make me feel like a child (though this gets rarer with each passing year!).

So, before this week is over, I am hoping you check out a few of my own favourite people who will give you new insights on timeless themes, comedy too funny to believe and song so glorious the have to have that CD.

You only have ten days to see Sarah Louise Young’s ‘Cabaret Whore – Her Finest Hour’ 3-10 Aug, 7.30pm at Underbelly. It’s a ‘best of’ show so Young has selected her favourites from the past three years. If you have not had the pleasure of hearing this gorgeously talented and versatile woman in her original show that combines music, satire and comedy, you owe it to yourself to watch, listen and learn. Sarah Louise Young is a legend of excellence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and anyone who misses one of her productions has deprived themselves of a great Fringe experience.  She is a delight and an inspiration.

San Francisco’s Will Franken is a comic genius. His show ‘Will Franken’s Things We Did Before Reality’ 2-26 Aug at 10.35 pm at Just the Tonic will be unforgettable. I cannot recommend him highly enough. Franken is the only comedian I would actually cancel one of my own shows for, so I could see his. Each time I watch him perform I learn more about how to stretch the limits of comedy and make it memorable.

My pseudo grandson Drennon Davis is at the Assembly Roxy until 26 Aug at 10.30 pm with his fascinating ‘Imaginary Radio Programme’. Davis and I rap together and I would have been IN the show had I gotten across the pond, so when you attend (and attend you must) send me a mental message telling me how grateful you are that I told you about this unusual talent from Los Angeles. He sings, he jokes, he beat boxes and he does it with panache. I love him…and so will you.

One more Edinburgh favourite you must not miss: ‘Daniel Cainer’s The Jewbador’ at Venue 307, The Mood Nightclub, running until 27 Aug daily at 4.15pm. Cainer’s songs and banter are as charming and delectable as a bagel with schmear. That is pretty high praise, believe me. He also performs ‘Jewish Chronicles’ at The Festival Of Spirituality And Peace, Venue 127, St John’s Church, at 2pm, 3-7 Aug.

Indulge yourself in the fun, the extravagance and the world of the Edinburgh Fringe. I will be with you in spirit and I will be spurring you on. Don’t miss a minute of the excitement and the drama around you. I never did and I have never been sorry. At the end of August, when the last curtain falls, you will return to your own world exhilarated, enriched and ready to try new things in new ways you never dreamed possible.

“In just 50 years Edinburgh had more impact on our ideas than any town of its size since the Athens of Socrates”. James Buchan

LINKS: lynnruthmiller.net