After a slight lie in (I am on holiday after all), I meandered into town on the bus, sampling the Royal Mile (only C fliers in evidence) before heading to C for Down the Rabbit Hole by Lincoln. I arrived at C in plenty of time, but started to worry after the queue I was in with only two people in front hadn’t moved for ten minutes. It looks like C were having severe problems with their ticketing systems, which I hope they fix before the influx as the Fringe proper starts. Nonetheless, I bought a ticket and got to C soco just in time, taking into account I’d gone to C+2 first before realising C soco is the second floor of the building next door…
Despite what the blurb says, Carroll doesn’t meet his own inventions – the play takes place either in Carroll’s house where Alice (Liddell) is staying for the summer before going off to school, or in Carroll’s dream as he sleeps whilst trying to finish Wonderland for Alice. The blurb does indicate some directions this could have gone, presumably given more time; as it was, the March Hare was fantastic, but I left feeling a bit confused as to who was fighting over dream-Alice and what exactly for.
I progressed to the Pleasance and Death of a Theatre Critic, a look at the positions critic and criticised play in the world of theatre, wrapped up in a classical tragedy. I’d say more, but although this is more a record than criticism, I’m worried by the lead character’s speech about critics only giving opinions rather than comparing how the cast implemented the idea they had (worded better than that, though), and it’s late and I’m sure this’ll be talked about elsewhere, so I’ll just move on.
After some more orientation, and a quick trip to Transworld frontiers bookshop for their Attack of the Knitted Tentacles exhibition, I settled at the Pleasance Dome, enjoying firstly Roisin Conaty, and then (after sausages and mash at Monster Mash) Nina Conti. It turns out I had seen Roisin last year in Glasgow, at a spur-of-the-moment comedy night I went to at the Stand. Here, what she did there was just a warm-up (and still amusing), before moving to the main part of the show, talking about being asked back to her school to impart some wisdom to the girls and how she feels she might not be suited for that in a variety of ways (I think she’d be great). This was the sort of comedy I always enjoy, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Although I’d never heard of her, Nina Conti is obviously very popular – the King Dome was full – and it soon showed why, with her expert ventriloquism, be it accents, voice swapping, or the classic drinking a glass of water, sorry, vodka. I wasn’t so sure on the interactive sections – ringing up a hotel doesn’t really make any difference that you’re a ventriloquist, it’s just you putting on a voice on the phone; and whereas the first person who had a mouth mask put on them went along with it, the second clearly was unhappy, although in the end stole the limelight by taking the initiative and dancing with Nina. But this was excellent, with it being far too easy to forget she was doing all the voices – until the puppet reminded you with a pithy quip. This was my first show involving an owl, but it certainly won’t be my last.