Sunday, 2 August 2009


As I was leaving the theatre on Saturday I got an emergency call from Kasia. The seventeen seater minibus that Lost Banditos had hoped could be taken up to Edinburgh and dropped off up there, was no longer available. The compromise fifteen seater was free, but needed to be back in London the next day. Could I do it?

If I can help I generally do and so it was that I found myself at Kasia's house at 6am in the morning being briefed on addresses in Edinburgh, where to return the keys when I've motored home and how to feed her fish to avoid death by festival neglect! Then off to College to pack the squashed van, lever the 'not so good first thing in the morning' company into what was left of the seats, tuck them up and set off.

The trip up was actually great fun. Lost Banditos excited and expectant and it was a lovely feeling to watch the miles slip as we hit the motorway. We stopped briefly at The Angel of the North and finally pulled into the Pleasance, where Destination GB opens on Wednesday, just after 6.30pm.

None of the company have done the festival before I could feel the buzz as they unloaded and then stood, hands in pockets in the Courtyard staring at the montage of posters for every show under the sun on the wall in front of them.

Next stop the companies spacious tenement flat behind Tollcross, made all the more attractive by a huge ejaculating penis graffitied in silver permanent marker on the front door - welcome to Edinburgh!

The evening was moving on fast and I was keen to at least stretch my legs before a quick sleep and turning the bus round. Kas and I went and had a curry with some of NIE, who are in town playing their show My Life with the Dogs. Next I tried to meet up briefly with Lara, whose up with the second installment of Barbershopera playing at the Pleasance Dome, but unfortunately her company were flat bound working on last minute cuts, so we missed each other. Instead I went over to the pubs on Rose Street and found some of last year's first year Danny, Sarah and Michael who are working as tech support.

By ten o'clock I was ready for my bed, back at the sign of the cock, but managed to find my way to The Peartree, an old haunt, to say a final good luck to everybody. In years gone by Bare and Ragged, the Warwickshire based company I used to direct for, made this their home from home and it's good to see it quickly inherited by this lot.

Weirdly standing across the street from the pub chatting on her mobile was Penny Gaize, an ex-student, whose first work was on those Bare and Ragged tours a decade ago. She's now a senior technical support at the Underbelly. It was great to see her so many moons later.

'How random was that?' said Danny

... but the truth is the theatre profession is as small as a village and Edinburgh as familiar as the cornershop.

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