The Scotsman

Brian Ferguson’s diary


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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