Liam Rudden: The Fringe can be a bloody affair

Lieutenant of Inishmore. Pic: Comp
Lieutenant of Inishmore. Pic: Comp
Share this article
Have your say

IT’S nearly August, which for any entertainment editor in the Capital means just one thing, a manic schedule you know you’re unlikely to fully accomplish - there are just too many shows and distractions.

These days, of course, with any venue worth their salt offering free wi-fi, it’s a bit easier. You can set up office where you like and just get on with it. It’s a great excuse to check out the different venues. Something that is always worth doing, especially if the weather is good.

Sitting in the Loft Bar, on the roof of the Gilded Balloon, on a glorious day is hard to beat, as is wiling away an hour or two in the bustling Pleasance Courtyard, which celebrates its 30 birthday this year.

But it’s worth checking out the lower profile venues too. A couple of years ago Queen legend Brian May could be found happily chilling in the tiny bar of the New Town Theatre on George Street, causing many a double take.

Of course, while many venues like nothing better than to see their bars bursting at the seams - it’s revenue, after all - for the performing companies, the good weather can be a curse.

Who wants to sit in a sauna of a venue when they could be sipping a cool beer in the sun. I remember one venue, a couple of years ago, where, not only did one of the audience faint, but a cast member wasn’t long in following suit.

With the cost of doing the Fringe growing by the year, it comes as little surprise, therefore, to discover most companies hope for, if not inclement weather, then insipid at least.

Finding the right balance is difficult, though. Surviving a venue smelling of mildew, steam rising from clothes freshly soaked in the latest downpour, is even worse than sweltering in a hot venue.

Although, if you head to Hill Street Theatre, that will be the least of your worries. Their production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore takes place in an abattoir - you get covered in blood. Only at the Fringe.