Festival Diary: Celebrity spotting off to a flier thanks to Ewan and Alan

Keep your eyes peeled, the stars are in town
Phoebe Waller Bridge won a Scotsman Fringe First Award for the stage version of Fleabag in 2013.Phoebe Waller Bridge won a Scotsman Fringe First Award for the stage version of Fleabag in 2013.
Phoebe Waller Bridge won a Scotsman Fringe First Award for the stage version of Fleabag in 2013.

Celebrity spotting at the festivals has got off to an absolute flier this year.

There was almost as much interest in the look Ewan McGregor was sporting, with a flat cap, beard and moustache, as there was in what he was actually doing in the city, which is still a bit of a mystery

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He was a good couple of weeks early for the return of the film festival, where he has graced many a red carpet, and a possible reunion with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who has been recalling the 30 years since his groundbreaking novel was published.

A near-naked image of Alan Cumming has appeared at the side of Leith Walk after he joined forces with animal rights campaign group PETA.A near-naked image of Alan Cumming has appeared at the side of Leith Walk after he joined forces with animal rights campaign group PETA.
A near-naked image of Alan Cumming has appeared at the side of Leith Walk after he joined forces with animal rights campaign group PETA.

Although he is not performing on stage this month, there have already been several sightings of Alan Cumming, including at the Traverse bar, The List magazine’s infamous party and on a billboard on Leith Walk.

The actor is virtually nude, save for a strategically placed lettuce, in the image unveiled by animal rights campaigners PETA. If you’re travelling up and down Leith Walk on the new waterfront tram link keep an eye out at Croall Place for Cumming proclaiming “I’m the vegan option” at Croall Place.

My own highlight so far was at the Traverse where I was mighty impressed at recognising actress Jennifer Black a mere 40 years after she starred in Local Hero.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is normally the bigger names who dominate the pre-Fringe media coverage. But Robin Grainger was among the big guns like Gail Porter and Bridget Christie with his recollections of how he was propelled to fame at last year’s Fringe after going ahead with a solo show in front of just one audience member.

Now Georgie Greer has become one of the most-discussed acts at this year's Fringe after posting a tearful selfie on Twitter following a performance of her one-woman play Sunsets at the Gilded Balloon, which sold just one ticket, with her post being shared more than 1000 times and provoking messages of support from comics like Dara Ó Briain and Jason Manford recalling their own tough times at the Fringe.

If you can’t use your show’s celebrity connections at the Fringe where can you use them?

One of many hit shows returning from last year is Kathy and Stella Solver a Murder! – a true podcast murder mystery musical back with an expanded cast and a longer running time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Producer Francesca Moody has become a key player at the Fringe after bringing Fleabag to the festival 10 years ago this month, so it was perhaps not a huge surprise to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge starring as an impressed audience member in the promotional video for “Kathy and Stella."

It wouldn’t be the Fringe without veteran impresario Toby Gough getting in touch to report some off-stage drama with one of his productions.

Getting a group of Cuban dancers to Edinburgh was never likely to be a simple task.

But it was made infinitely more difficult for the cast of Havana Street Party when plans to travel via Germany had to be aborted due to a last-minute change in visa rules.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They were left in limbo for three days while Gough attempted to work out a viable alternative route, but eventually got in touch at 6am with a happy picture of their arrival at Edinburgh Airport, after travelling via Venezuela and Istanbul.