We went to see The Gruffalo, The Giant and the Mermaid with Julia Donaldson this morning. I thought that as the author of these and many other works Julia Donaldson might just appear at the start to say - I wrote this or maybe act as a narrator, but fuck me if she didn’t take a central role in the whole thing. Along with her husband and sister. This was going to be like going to see Hamlet with William Shakespeare in it. And his wife and his brother. Or A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens and his kids and a family friend. What a mind-blowing thing to witness.
There were a couple of other (proper?) actors too, but the Donaldson clan were all pretty good in their roles and Julia played the mouse in the Gruffalo and a scarecrow and other parts with a real understanding of what the author as getting at. Because she was the author.
Before the show I’d written a script for timkey the monkey with the magic flute to perform with Tim Key during RHLSTP. Had I seen Donaldson first I might not dared of being so presumptuous, but like her I gave people related to me (in this case me) the best parts.
Utter delight talking to timkey who is a comedy genius, infectiously naughty and charmingly insulting. The show had sold out, which was of course his doing and full of laughs and enjoyable awkwardness.
The standard of these shows has been high, especially given the quick turnaround and absolute madness of doing 12 in 12 days. The decision to have just one guest a show was a good one. Having two might seem to make things easier for me, but it would be twice the research and there wouldn’t be time to get to the interesting and inventive areas that a single guest can get to. It’s even better if you go over 90 minutes but that’s not really feasible any more.
After the show I knew that the kids were being looked after by Catie and her mum and did what I have resisted doing all Fringe and dawdled on my way back to the flat and just had some time to myself, doing basically nothing. I went to say hello to the Lewis Chessman again, including the one in another case that I hadn’t seen last time and bought some Lewis Chessman stuff from the museum shop. The Lewis Chessman are my Edinburgh safe place. I am happier in the company of puppets and ancient artefacts and the Lewis Chessman are sort of both.
This desire for solitude and happiness with my own company and love of history gave me something to think about when watching Pierre Novelli’s very funny show “Can’t I Just Enjoy Things?” Because I have a similar philosophy to him about much of the stuff he talks about and he delivers a stunning conclusion about himself at the end, which possibly also applies to me too. And probably a good percentage of comedians. I do find it very difficult to enjoy things in the moment and have noticed in Edinburgh that at least part of the time in most shows I am just hoping they will be over. And it takes me a while to work out if I’ve liked them or not. Novelli’s show passed quickly and I liked it as it was going along and I was surprised when I looked at my watch to see 55 minutes had passed. I don’t think anything has made me laugh as deeply as a fair few of the bits of this show and with the benefit of some time to think about it, I liked it. Can’t I just enjoy things?
I just did an online test and it says I am no different than most people and so maybe I am not quite in the same position. The thing is that to some degree all these issues are universal. It’s just the degree you go into.
Anyway six out of ten for Pierre (that’s a cheap joke for anyone who has seen the show- it’s probably more like seven).
Nice to see something and nice to hang out with my friends, the Lewis Chessmen. And I almost entirely avoided the kids’ bedtime too, which I think is OK, because I’ve had to do most of them.
RHLSTP with Conrad Koch and Chester Missing and Right Bollock is now up here