Edinburgh Fringe Day 8. The Devil Without
Today was the 'How To Sell Your Show' seminar at Fringe Central and I was in two minds about going. However, I'm glad I did. Lots of good tips about social media and who to contact elsewhere. And a young man lounging in a front seat on the right who was mentioned as a reporter for Fringe Review, an online magazine that covers all the world's Fringe festivals but specifically this one.
The moment the talks were over, I was sitting beside him with a press release and 'hello, I'm a vicar and comedian.'
He could have brushed me off but he didn't; instead he engaged immediately and asked if I'd like to help him review a show called The Devil Without about Faust. That night. At 10.45. Luckily he confessed that it was past his bedtime before I'd said anything so naff myself So we commiserated with each other and he promised to text if he could get free tickets for tonight.
Tonight! I was going to Tesco's with Anne-Marie at 8pm, being somewhat short on rations. Taurean me was really rather peturbed but AdventureMaggy agreed enthusiastically while thanking God I'd had such a restful day yesterday.
I looked up the show while I was still at Fringe Central and both the poster and the context were certainly scary ... apparently it was about the devil trying to get to Faust (who in this show had evaded him for 500 years) and temporarily taking possession of one of the audience in the process (it's a show of magic). Hmmm. Well, I had a pietersite stone in my bag which is very good for protection ... and the Latin (short) liturgy for exorcism was to hand too. That subject has come up in the show a couple of times so it's good to have it—and really nice to finally have a use for my Latin O level.
Anyway ... the other exciting thing today (I know how to live) was taking the no. 2 bus from Fringe Central to Haymarket instead of walking up to Princes Street and taking the tram. That introduced me to Grassmarket and some other lovely streets which I could explore this evening between my show and the devil's.
Good show tonight at Ryries with people who'd actually heard of Mary Whitehouse (let alone The Mary Whitehouse Experience). Not all of them, of course, but it's nice when there's interaction with the audience about her. I hadn't realised how few people even remembered Newman, Baddiel, Punt and Dennis. God I'm getting old.
I stayed on to watch the guy after me—George Firehorse's 37 Years of Comedy. Lovely stuff with magic and fun. I ended up taking part in a ridiculous competition to see who could pin the most clothes pegs to his beard and to my delight won. Silliness is a very good thing occasionally.
And then (can you bear the tension?) I took the no.2 back to Grassmarket to wander around and have some gluten-free gnocchi (which are not, I've decided, a good idea) with yummy Neapolitan sauce at a little Italian restaurant.
Dan was at the venue before me but we only met up just before the show. As he said, "I suppose you being a vicar, you wouldn't think of waiting in the bar?" Oops. And then we had to sign our permission to be hypnotised and were in the darkened theatre room where Ian Harvey Stone began his performance.
A few years ago I would have been seriously freaked. But I didn't engage; didn't follow the prompts and held on tightly to the stone so I was detached for most of the performance. I don't therefore know if it was scary but I think it was. Certainly when one of the selected audience on stage began acting as if Mephistopheles had got inside her head.
Fair dos, Ian was very careful not to invoke any deep magic; he ensured that all participants including the audience were clear and focused on good before they left. But when I looked at the Pietersite, it was cracked.
Dan and I agreed that it was nothing that Granny Weatherwax couldn't have done but would have refrained from doing on principle and met Ian and his partner outside.
Dan basically wanted me to have a recorded chat with Ian which I didn't realise—and he introduced me as an exorcist (!) So, given that I didn't really know what to do, I interviewed him about what he knew about shamanisn (obviously quite a bit) and magic (ditto) and why he had come to do the show ... and whether he thought it was a good idea to mess with magic. After all; he might be able to clear up what he was doing but you never know what an audience member might bring in ... or what they might do next.
But it was all very amiable although, somewhat to my surprise, Dan said afterwards I shouldn't have been critical. What? That's what a good journalist does as long as its in the genuine spirit of enquiry. Still...I'm 25 years out of date so what do I know.
Taxi home ... not enough knowledge of night buses yet and 'my' two had stopped running. Got in at about 1am and had a really bad night's sleep. No, not scared, just to much adrenaline. But another very good ... and very interesting day.