Karen Koren: Fringe star Craig gets my vote at Forth fest

Craig Hill. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
Craig Hill. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
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I WAS very lucky last week to be part of the Forth Awards. I was asked by Radio Forth if I would present the Fringe Award and was delighted to do so. The awards took place in the Usher Hall, it was a glittering occasion.

Guests had to arrive at midday prompt and enjoyed lunch, before which Boogie started proceedings with a game - playing songs and asking us to raise cards in the air if we thought they’d sold a million copies or more. The winning table got six bottles of champagne... so they had a great time.

Radio Forth certainly put on a great show. The first performer was the 12-year-old winner of the Evening News’ talent search Edinburgh Has Talent, Saskia Eng. What an amazing voice and with a lot of hard work and luck she is bound for stardom.

Next was Tom Odell, then an extract from The Lion King. Susan Boyle received an award but sadly did not sing. The highlight, for me, was Boy George sporting a beard. By the time he was on I had been taken backstage to prepare for my presentation, which was a shame. Though while waiting backstage I met Boy George’s friend of 30 years and his make-up artist - we chatted about make-up secrets, which I have since put to use... and they work.

Then it was my turn. My heart was in my mouth when Grant Stott introduced me. I had to hold a microphone, hold the envelope and the cue card. I was all fingers and thumbs, added to that I went and gave the game away by mentioning the winner’s kilt before announcing his name. Yes, Craig Hill won the Fringe Award for having 14 sold-out shows at the Fringe.

I was chosen to give the award because he used to work at the Gilded Balloon, in the box office, and I gave him his first break. So we shambolically shuffled around on stage getting photos taken and then Craig managed to bring the house down with his brilliant pop impersonations.

A good day was had by all.