Frankie's Fringe

‘I’m a bit new to all this’, I thought.  I walked to the Imps flat, where for ten years the Imps have been coming to do a month-long run at the Fringe festival.  Ten years ago I was nine! One year ago I wasn’t even at university! I’m so youn–It was all a bit much. But, there I was, on a titled Edinburgh street.  I pressed the button on the panel.  It buzzed loudly.  I enthusiastically sang through the intercom ‘Hiiiiii-iiiiii! It’s meeeeeee-uh’.  Not a great response; the noise from the intercom sounded like shit foley…then the door sort of sighed its way open.  Three flights of stairs later, clunking my suitcase, I was still searching for the flat.  And also saying hello to the glimmer of sweat on my brow and the raw perspiration under my pits.  I’d say the sweat was 1:2, exertion, nerve.  I was at my first day of school, it seemed.   ‘I’m a bit nervous’, I thought.  I smiled in anticipation.  There it was.  The Edinburgh flat door.  I knocked confidently. Thrice.  Slowly, very slowly the start of my Edinburgh month appeared.  The milk-coloured, hairy…Dave.  It was Dave, a bloke in his boxers.  I’d knocked on the wrong door.  The wrong door! Blimey!  Silly me, am I right Dave?  Ha ha ha.  Oh, no that’s okay Dave, I’ll find the flat.  Please stay there, Dave.  No, yup.  Oop.  Ok Dave.  Cheers.  Bye Dave.  Bye.

‘I’m so new to this.’ I thought.

The start to the month was confusing with Dave in his boxers, sweat in places etc. etc. but soon things started to make sense. My first ever Edinburgh show happened, it went well, and that meant one less item on my bucket list.  In the flat there were whiteboards, they had schedules on them, they had information on them.  Mid-way through the month they brandished a few penises, and the motto: “Strong Branding is Dom Branding”.  Dom was our director.  Shows came and went, audiences laughed, things happened.  One thing that happened was a weekend slot to perform at Edinburgh Zoo, where the sloths were the only audience, lounging on the other side of the empty patch of grass we were standing on.  We had to be careful though, because too much noise and the sloths could become stressed.  The zoo made the Gilded Balloon feel like a sell-out Wembley.  Other things that happened included Alice and I wearing wigs, and men wearing dinner jackets but with a giant Imp head (see photo).    

But the Fringe experience was magical.  The first week was a reminder of the great things that Imps have gone on to do: Daniel Roberts, Tom Skelton, Dylan Townley, Dougie Walker, Chris Turner: Aaaaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised, Chris Turner: Pretty Fly, Rachel Parris: Live in Vegas, Joe Morpugo: Odessa, Ivo Graham: Bow Ties and Johnnies were all shows that were doing so well, and all involved old Imps.  It made me feel a bit cool.  Until I stopped Ivo in the street and he looked confused, but I think he liked me after a while.

Back in the flat, not chatting to strangers, life became blissfully routine.  Our free show, The Curious Case of the Improvised Musical had Imps up and rehearsed and in costume by 9AM for the last two weeks of August. Flyering and postering The Royal Mile became second nature, and rapping in public stopped being weird, or started being cool… (?)  The end of the month came too soon.  We’d performed between us forty-five shows, Chris even won an award and got a photo kissing Trygve (Squidboy!) on the cheek and Tanner’s peroxide hair was fading to vomit colour.  Regardless, the month ended.  I walked up Arthur’s seat, where the sun set on Edinburgh and I realised that the best things in life are the improvised things.