We arrived in Edinburgh this afternoon and quickly settled into the place where we’re staying. I was keen to get out and start exploring as soon as possible and fortunately I had a good guide – my co-performer Jess Mabel Jones (AKA Chopin). She’s been performing at the Fringe for the last six years so she knows Edinburgh and the Festival well.
Until now I’d had only a mental image of Edinburgh to work with, built up from descriptions by Leftwing Idiot, Chopin and Jolie. I hadn’t imagined the scale of the Festival, sprawling over so many venues. It seems that every nook and cranny of the City has been turned into a performance space, and it’s wonderful.
Our show is at the Pleasance Courtyard – one of the four biggest venues, and we have passes to go to other Pleasance shows for free, provided there’s space. And wheelchair access!
Normally if I’m going to see something in a theatre I do loads of preparation beforehand – getting in touch with the performer and the venue etc. But with so much on here all the time I wasn’t sure quite how this would work.
Mark Watson, a comedian Chopin had heard on the radio was on, so we thought we’d go and see him as a test run. Just as we arrived a fire alarm went off, so even though we’d allowed enough time to talk to him beforehand, in the end we weren’t able to.
But we did speak to the front of house manager who let him know I was in the audience even though he was already on stage.
He introduced me to the audience which was great, but said I’d ‘apologised in advance’ for making noise which I hadn’t.
The show is called ‘Flaws’ and Mark’s introduction seemed to suggest that my tics were a flaw. I pointed out that they were in fact my power. He seemed a little thrown by having someone in the audience with Tourettes and spent quite a bit of time asking questions about how severe my tics are and why I use a wheelchair!
I felt like I’d become part of the show, which is something I always worry about. Leftwing Idiot, Chopin and I had a talk about it afterwards and I’ve decided that I won’t go and see anything else unless I’ve had a chance to talk to the performer in person first.
I’m very aware that the show we’ve brought to the Fringe charts my increasing confidence in accessing theatre and comedy. So I don’t want to risk damaging this confidence by going to shows without preparing properly.