Brian Fer­gu­son’s di­ary

The Scotsman - - Curtain Up -

My first Wild Card Wed­nes­day cer­tainly lived up to its name with what must be one of the most hi­lar­i­ous and up­lift­ing re­sponses to the #Metoo move­ment.

I’m prob­a­bly not the tar­get de­mo­graphic for a “se­quin-clad, cham­pag­ne­fu­elled, cos­mic fem­i­nist ex­trav­a­ganza”, but I’m a sucker for power pop and disco so it didn’t take long for the Fringe Wives Club to win me and the rest of their full house at Assem­bly Roxy over with their daz­zling dance moves and wickedly orig­i­nal songs in­spired by em­pow­er­ment, sex­ism, ho­mo­pho­bia, sex ed­u­ca­tion and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Their show was ini­tially brain­stormed over “a late brunch in Ed­in­burgh” by Tessa Wa­ters, Rowena Hut­son and Vic­to­ria Fal­coner. As Wa­ters ex­plains, the orig­i­nal premise was fairly sim­ple: “Could we make peo­ple laugh their tits off while also teach­ing them a thing or two and em­pow­er­ing them to change the sys­tem?”

Like many other Fringe per­form­ers, Wa­ters and Fal­coner are ap­pear­ing else­where on the Fringe, in back-to- back shows at one of the fes­ti­val’s most in­trigu­ing new venues. I’m stick­ing my neck out here by spec­u­lat­ing that the Spiege­lyurt is prob­a­bly the only cabaret venue in the Fringe made out of an ash tree from the Bor­ders.

Bob Slayer’s lat­est

Above, daz­zling Fringe Wives Club. Be­low, Elvis in­flu­ence felt

in­no­va­tion is play­ing host to all man­ner of in­trigu­ing shows, in­clud­ing Wig­wam Won­der Jam – billed as a “marsh­mal­low melt of mirth, mu­sic and may­hem” – and Joz Nor­ris Has No Show This Year, but Mr Fruit Salad Does. But for a real off-the­wall ex­pe­ri­ence this month it may be hard to beat Lucy Hop­kins’ show Se­crt Circl at mid­night in­side the Spiege­lyurt. Her “late-night in­ter­ac­tive cer­e­mony of love” is per­haps more suited to Glas­ton­bury than its home be­side the Pot­ter­row un­der­pass. But if you’ve ever won­dered what 90 min­utes

in the com­pany of a priest­ess and shapeshift­er in­volves, and are not in a par­tic­u­lar hurry to get home, then her “rit­u­al­is­tic mess-about” may be the an­ti­dote to the boor­ish­ness of the nearby late-night bars.

Fur­ther re­ports of the in­flu­ence of Elvis Pres­ley on the Fringe have emerged from the un­likely en­vi­rons of Leith Dock­ers Club.

His 1950s hey­day pro­vides the sound­track at one of the few venues in the area com­pet­ing for au­di­ences with the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val’s new be­he­moth at Leith The­atre.

The cel­e­brated so­cial club, which was vis­ited by none other than Sting a few months ago, is mak­ing its Fringe de­but play­ing host to Danc­ing With Mrs Mur­phy, a play set at the height of the 1956 Suez Cri­sis about an un­mar­ried mother who fled Ire­land for Bri­tain.

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