In which we open boxes with suspicious odours and time-travelling parcels
The Fringe is finally upon us, and us arts writers have started our trusted stretching exercises, to keep our writing hands in tip-top shape until the end of August, rehearsed our 'avoid the flyer people' shimmy, to get us to shows on time, and completely given up on keeping any sort of organisation of our diaries already.
Yet, the Big Fat Bribe blog is the feature we look forward to every year here at The List. We look at the postman with gazes similar to the ones the little green men sport in Toy Story when the claw approaches, whispers of 'ooohhh' also escaping our curious selves when a bribe arrives. We are not sure yet what he thinks of all this, but if your postman has recently started believing he is some sort of a god, we might share the same one and we profusely apologise.
We've had a nice assortment of items reach our cluttered desks this year already. Beating everyone else to that coveted place of 'first bribe through the door' (which is totally a thing), we had Paradise Lodge, a musical comedy on a man's experience of caring for his dementia-stricken mother-in-law. It might not sound very cheery, but we had a good time digging through the shoe box the members of the Paradise Lodge care home so kindly put together for us. Granted, there were some suspicious looking tissues, and a smell that took us back to our childhood days around our grandparents' house, but the included bag of mint imperials will surely succumb to some deadline-induced ravenous craving. Witness The Doodlebugs leading the care home through an exploration of identity, reality and loss (with some Beyonce sure to make its way in) at Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug (not 12).
Manual Cinema's Frankenstein
The winner of 'the furthest a bribe has travelled to the List office' award this year (again, totally a thing) goes to Manual Cinema's Frankenstein, who sent us one of the many shadow puppets that compose their show all the way from Chicago. Blending the tale of Frankenstein and his monster and Mary Shelley's biography, the multimedia company promises that their show is 'like watching a silent movie but it's all being made live on stage'. See it for yourself at Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug (not 12). And, if their puppet designer is just now learning about the missing puppet, we are sorry but we are definitely keeping it.
We didn't feel old at all when Scream Phone treated us to a blast from the past. The Love Hearts Dip has somehow survived so far (we give it until week 2 of the Fringe), and we immediately had to find a digitally available version of Now 8's '32 top chart hits' to put us in the mood for this dark musical from Swipe Right Theatre. Inspired by the retro classic game Dream Phone, you are in for an 80s treat at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug (not 7 & 14).
Last, but surely not in the least, we've had someone who took the concept of a bribe very literally. Ockham Razor are returning to the Fringe with This Time, following on from last year's incredible popular Tipping Point. Confusion set for a minute or two when we saw the envelope containing a five euro note, but the scribble stating that it would come in handy come next year's festival turned confusion into a Brexit-induced sadness. We don't know how much that note will be worth next August (and guys, please, we'd rather not get any more money through our mailbox. We're not that underpaid), but we know that Ockham Razor will not disappoint with their new show about 'time, age, and the stories we tell ourselves'. Be amazed with their acrobatic skills at Saint Stephens Theatre, until 25 Aug (not 6, 13 & 20).
In the iconic words of Porky Pig, 'that's all, folks'. However, there is still plenty of time to peak our interest and get some free coverage of your show while you're at it. Get those creative juices flowing (while you still have them), and send us a parcel that will pull us out of our reviewing haze (and keep confusing the local post service).
Send your bribes to:
The Keeper of the Bribes The List Tweeddale Court 14 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1TE
Returning to the Fringe with an exciting UK premiere, Manual Cinema (Ada/Ava, Lula del Ray) find a special affinity with Mary Shelley’s gothic story about the reanimation of obsolete materials. Creating their own Frankenstein, against the backdrop of Shelley’s own fascinating and little-told biography, Manual Cinema…