Monday, 23 August 2010

Was it worth it?

[Updated Oct/Nov 2010]
So… was it worth it? Well, I suppose it depends on what I was really expecting from the Fringe... Do I even know? 

There were many motivations behind my participation in the festival. But I guess what I was mainly looking for was: “the experience"… the experience of the Fringe.

And an experience it was! The Fringe was both exciting and stressful, exhilarating and dispiriting, addictive and off-putting, uplifting and depressing.  Unpredictable. Predictably, my experience in the Edinburgh Fringe with In the Name of the Flesh (ITNOTF) had its ups and downs; its highs and its lows. 

Let’s start with the LOWS: the unavoidably variable & grumpy Scottish weather (with its outpours of rain); the stressful technical complications of the video projection setup at the Banshee Labyrinth; the few times that the Hammer and Tongue slams (preceding my show every night) overran (thus adding to the stress); the disruptively noisy atmosphere at the goth/punk venue; the (baffling) hostility from the local free gay press; the non-stop flocks of tourists on the Royal Mile; the random clueless audience members one can face some times (not only for my show but also for other people’s); the low turn-outs for ITNOTF on two or three of the nights; Edinburgh’s limited gay scene; no stand out shows at this year’s Fringe; a long list of could haves and should haves (of course, I will always regret not being able to participate in The Naked Brunch, which took place, fittingly, on my birthday, which I spent far far from Edinburgh); and the odd bits and pieces better left to oblivion.

But I'd rather focus on the HIGHS: the vibrant parallel spoken word universe surreally hosted in the grungy Banshee Labyrinth and dedicatedly orchestrated by “ringmaster of spoken word” and not-that-you-would-notice-it-heart-failure-sufferer Richard Tyrone Jones; the friendly vibes coming from the electrifying Hammer and Tongue slams that preceded ITNOTF every night; winning one of the Hammer and Tongue heats and thus making it to their final, which was filmed by Billy Watson;  finding a long queue of punters waiting to get in on the first night of ITNOTF; a very rewarding performance at Scottee’s Eat Your Heart Out (EYHO) in front of a lovely young crowd, many of whom came to see my full show two days later; the warm words and signs of appreciation from audience members during and after my performances; some very sexy audience members for ITNOTF, especially on Monday 16th; some interesting shows (EYHO itself, Mysterious Skin, Lady C, Belt Up’s Lorca is Dead); our daily routines (such as tasting  post-show pseudo-mojitos, pseudo-margaritas or Pyms at the C Venues’ “Urban Gardens” between Chamber Street and Cowgate, surrounded by the young, good looking performers from the nearby venues – so young, so cute, so fresh, so full of enthusiasm); discovering new restaurants in Edinburgh; unexpectedly bumping into Ugly Betty's Michael Urie and a few people I know from London: Tonny A., David Mills, Tom Webb, Jonathan Kemp, Arkem, Natacha Poledica, Becky Fury and more;  the nice words from Ben Walters about ITNOTF in his article in Time Out; the sustained applause at the end of my show at the well-attended last 3 nights; and so much more... Oh, yes, last but by no means least, my partner John’s much valued assistance, support and love.

Other people's experiences...

As a counterpart to my own personal thoughts, I would like to quote other people’s reactions to the Ediburgh Fringe. 

I am intrigued, for example, by the cynical pessimism expressed by Armando Ianucci in an interview he gave a couple of years ago: "I always carry with me, when I arrive in Edinburgh, that inherent sense of the disappointment of it all." “…you might as well assume now that this is a waste of your time.” And how about these comments from someone like Greg Davies (in a Time Out interview, October 2010): “The amount of work, sweat, fear and narcissism that goes into it is exhausting. It’s such an intense thing to do. You get lost in the Edinburgh bubble and we all convince ourselves that it’s more important than it actually is – the rest of the country doesn’t give a shit, really.”

Is Edinburgh still what it used to be? Or is the spirit of the Fringe dead? See, for example, veteran John Fleming’s ruminations in his blog: “Scots comedienne Janey Godley has been telling me and has blogged that she feels this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is different. That the spark has gone. That it has lost some of its character. I told her it felt that way every year.” “But, in the last few days, I have come round to agreeing with Janey Godley. The old Fringe is dying or is already dead.” John Fleming seems to see the future of Edinburgh in the free fringes, as does Project Adorno's Russell Thompson in his (not terribly optimistic but very candid and incredibly spot on ) review, where he says, among many other insightful comments:the Edinburgh Fringe is about the most regimented thing you can do: it’s a case of get up, go flyering, go home, do rehearsal, do show, go home, see a show, go flyposting, go home, collapse;”  “There’s an oft-repeated snippet of Fringe lore that goes: ‘Did you know that the average audience-size for a show is [any number between one and seven]?’ ” (thankfully, the average audience for ITNOTF was higher than that...).

I wish I had read earlier the wise and thoughtful views that Tom Webb had shared online at the start of this year’s Fringe: "I have heard so many sad, tired stories from my returning Fringe friends. They wince and moan about the cost and small audiences and terrible venues, all with their own myriad misadventures. The only similarity is that they've all come back improved – battered and bruised, but better."

I also fancy including here a comment from Matt Panesh, The Monkey Poet, whose show went on every night at the Banshee Labyrinth after UTTER! We were chatting outside the venue, during one of his fag breaks, when he said something like: “Just the fact that a person has chosen my show and has come to see me is rewarding in itself.” I couldn’t agree more. The knowledge that, out of all the shows on offer each night, someone out there – this anonymous audience member whose motives I cannot even begin to imagine – chose to see me (picked my show, made the effort to find the venue, arrived on time, stayed until the end, clapped) was very special indeed.

To sum it up, I could just quote David Mills quoting a comedian he met at one of the open mic shows where he performed: “We are all going to die.”

On a more personal note...

Continuing with the theme of "lessons learnt", I am aware that In The Name Of The Flesh (ITNOTF) is not  for everybody -- with its extensive doses of nudity, phallic references  and gay sexual content... plus – God forbid! – performance poetry and  (undoubtedly the show’s most challenging content) material from the  Eurovision Song Contest! If I were writing this during the second  weekend of ITNOTF in Edinburgh (after experiencing distressful animosity  from the local gay press and a couple of poorly attended nights), the  tone would be totally despondent. I would be announcing the end of  ITNOTF as a live piece and marking the last days of Ernesto Sarezale as a  performer. Luckily, there was a shift on the Sunday night, which  brought a good crowd, most of whom seemed to know what kind of show they  were coming for and reacted warmly with extended applause. This shift  was confirmed by the reassuringly well attended last two nights of he  run.

Yes, I know there is an audience for ITNOTF. The difficulty is finding  it. What now seems perfectly obvious to me is that... Edinburgh is not  the place to look for it.

Realistically, if there is something that Ernesto has learnt from his  Edinburgh run (partly prompted by the self-imposed exercise of keeping  this blog) is something he has always known, really, namely, that his  real vocation, his true, true vocation is: writing. His extroverted  escapades in the last few years at clubs and venues like Kashpoint,  Horse Meat Disco, Gutterslut, Caligula, Carpet Burn, Stunners, Vogue  Fabrics or The Dalston Superstore (to mention just a few), being  featured in BUTT or iD magazines and performing regularly at a wildly  diverse range of events (poetry, cabaret, arts, nightclubs, stand up) in  London and beyond (Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow, San Francisco, New  York, Montreal, Barcelona, Madrid and, last August, his 11-day season at  the Edinburgh Fringe) have been exhilarating experiences. However,  something is telling him now that the time has come to rediscover his  introverted self. The time has come for a more reflective Ernesto. An  Ernesto more focused on his writing, less concerned with the live  audiences, enjoying what he really enjoys the most: bringing out,  through words, all those stories, those images, those universes, those  characters, those crazy ideas bubbling inside him and demanding to be committed to the page (or the computer screen).

I’ve got the feeling that you will be seeing a lot less of Ernesto (and  his average-sized talking penis) in the days to come.

[UPDATE (22/11/2010): I have just re-read this post. In spite of what he wrote above, Ernesto has already started working on new material for performance, you see...]

15 (or so) lessons learnt at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010

[Updated: Oct/Nov 2010 - Admittedly much of what follows is pretty cynical and based on crass overgeneralisations – but, even so, I’d argue there is a lot of truth in it]

Here are some lessons I learnt at the Fringe – mostly about the Fringe:
  1. If you are going to perform at the Fringe, it helps if you are young. Physically preferably; but, if not, at least, in spirit. The Fringe is draining.
  2. This may sound obvious, but all seems to be about promoting, promoting, promoting; and then networking, networking, networking, networking; and then promoting, promoting, promoting, promoting… It always helps if you know the right people, of course.   
  3. Internet presence and social networks are crucial. And Twitter seems to be a critical tool for networking nowadays; just a shame I never got too excited by this application and did not bother to learn many of its features before going to Edinburgh… facebook, with which I'm much more familiar, did not seem to be enough (too self-contained).
  4.  It is very difficult to figure out where the audiences come from. What attracted them to your show? What made them come? The printed catalogue? The fliers? The ad? The posters? The online listings? The listings on the Fringe‘s iPhone app? Previews online? Previews on the press? Video trailers online? A review (whether good or bad)? Performing sneak previews at other people’s shows during the Fringe? Having a cockroach on the stage?  Gimmicky fliering on the Royal Mile? Blogging? Word of mouth? (...all of which brings us back to lesson 2 and its emphasis on promoting and networking, of course).
  5. If you take a show to Edinburgh, it helps if you 'dumb down' (to put it bluntly). If in doubt, bring the safer, less demanding version of your show (I can think of at least two shows I saw in 2010 where this was manifest); forget subtlety; and make sure you have a gimmick, preferably connected with TV and celebrities (be it Emma Thomson, Michael Urie, John Hegley, Penelope Cruz, Faulty Towers,...).
  6. The more expensive the ticket for a show, the more favourable the audiences – and the reviewers. It feels like free shows have to be twice as good as paid shows to get half the appreciation. It is a real shame that so much quality stuff is presented at the Free Fringe without the deserved recognition.
  7. This is probably the most obvious point on this list, but will never be overstated, I think: the relationship with the press is always difficult.
  8. Old school gay activists in Scotland hate the Eurovision Song Contest. ("Nemo me impune lacessit.")
  9. It may not be a good thing if a show is deemed “unique” or "unclassifiable" (adjectives that only seem to work if applied to bigger-than-life characeters like, say, Grace Jones). In fact classification at the Fringe is crucial. Make sure you get your show in the right category if you want to get the right audiences and the right (sic) reviews. Unfortunately the number of categories in the Edinburgh Fringe is limited (“children’s shows”, “comedy”, “dance & physical theatre”, “music,” “musicals & opera” and “theatre”) and the boundaries rather nebulous. In which of these categories would you include a multimedia spoken word production with some humorous content but not conceived as stand up? I have already discussed earlier my uneasiness about listing “In the Name of the Flesh” (ITNOTF) in the “Comedy” section. It is interesting that someone like Kate Fox has expressed similar concerns. Such concerns had tempted me to conclude that non-comedy-orientated spoken word shows would probably be better suited to the “Theatre” category. But then I found this blog from Helen Mort, whose spoken word show, 'A Pint for the Ghost', had been listed in the “Theatre" section of the Fringe. How did she fare? On her blog, Helen complains about a damning reviewer who "appears to have approached the piece as standard theatre (..) rather than a poetry and storytelling event". She then goes on to mention a more sympathetic reviewer who still "would have preferred a little more theatricality." Go figure.
  10. A bad review is probably more useful to get bums on seats than no review at all. Shocking but probably true. Well, you know the old motto: ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ and all that.
  11. When reading Fringe reviews some times one can learn more about the reviewers’ backgrounds and preferences (their tastes, their likes, their dislikes, their prejudices, the schools they studied at, who they kissed as teenagers) than about the show that’s being reviewed. In fact, one can encounter reviews that have the intellectual depth and cultural insight of Amanda Holden’s comments on Britain’s Got Talent.
  12. The Edinburgh Fringe does not seem to me the most gay friendly of festivals. Ok, this year there were a few successful gay comedians (e.g. the very funny & polished Paul Sinha) and a handful of well attended gay-themed shows (among which I particularly enjoyed Mysterious Skin,  for example). There is also the worthy, enjoyable and popular Sunday Fundraisers at the New Town bar showcasing gay Fringe talent; I will always be very grateful to the late Scottie McLaren for supporting my Fringe acts and giving me the opportunity to perform at the New Town bar more than once (I was very sad to find out that he died in an accident while on holidays in Spain shortly after the end of the Fringe). But I must admit I get the general feeling that the Edinburgh Festivals do not quite cater for the gay contingent. I feel there is a bit of a gap there. (And the gay scene in Edinburgh can come across as so "petit bourgeois" some times...) Ok, quite a few cute local boys though.
  13. Do nudity and sexual content get bums on seats at the Fringe? The jury's out on this. Shows with naked flesh and sexual themes still get a good deal of media coverage (for example, here, here and here). However, the nudity and the sex can still make people very uneasy and audiences have been known to walk out en masse because of their apperance in a show. I can think of two or three people who walked out of  ITNOTF because of that and I was told this also happened during the (sexually explicit) play Lady C. According to this blog, it also happened in the middle of the Malcolm Hardee Documentary. Can one really believe the (increasingly frequent) journalistic claims that nakedness and explicit sexual content do not shock audiences anymore? Allegedly, though, in 2010, shows have not been conspicuous for their exposure of naked flesh. If we are to believe this blogger from The Stage: “Another shocking thing we’ve noticed is that this year, for the first time in years, we do not have the usual unofficial nudity list going on our notice board. None has been spotted.”     Where have they been looking?
  14. Once you’ve made the effort to go all the way to Scotland to perform at the Fringe, you may as well spend the whole month there and go for the full run. I had already been adviced this by other people (e.g. Tonny A. and Leon Conrad) years ago. But I was always sceptical and, in fact, my original intention this year was to present my show just for a long weekend until I was compelled by RTJ to go for half the run of PBH’s Free Fringe: 11 days. Now I realise how right that early advice was. By the time I was starting to really enjoy my performances and the show was starting to get clued-up audiences and some media interest, the run was over and I had to go back down to London. It felt a bit like coitus interruptus.
  15. There is no much point in describing one’s show as “surreal” or “challenging” or “unique” as these are claims that are made about pretty much every other show. Besides, if what you do is really challenging and unconventional (if it is truly edgy and boundary-pushing) you are likely to have a hard time, I'd say. A bit of controversy, a bit of naughty content, a bit of innuendo in the title may help. But make sure your show is not too unorthodox as your average Fringe audience (and reviewer) may not be able to cope with it. Forget all those rumours that the Fringe is about taking risks, experimenting, cutting edges. This may have been true in the past (I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there). But, nowadays, at least based on my experience, the Fringe seems to be more about the blunt, the sanitised and the mainstream than anything else. Playing safe pays off. And I am not alone in this observation. I am tempted to sympathise with John Nicholson, who, lamenting the absence of "naked left wing student(s) doing obscene things with a cucumber" at the Fringe, wondered a couple of years ago: "Maybe conformity is the new rebellion?"

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Colourful titles at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010

A selected few:

  1. A young man dressed as a gorilla dressed as an old man sits rocking in a rocking chair for fifty-six minutes and then leaves 2
  2. The Head Girl, the Gap Year, and Sue Ellen
  3. A Study of Embarrassment by a Guy With Two Bumholes
  4. Too middle-class for Chlamydia
  5. Sex and Hugs and Forward Rolls
  6. Penelope Cruz Doesn't Eat Sand
  7. The Typhoid Marys
  8. Robert White's Outrageously Peculiar Organ
  9. Sex, Lies and the KKK
  10. The inconsiderate aberrations of Billy the Kid
  11. Mushy ate my credit card
  12. Call me old fascist
  13. Shit Theatre presents: A shit poster presenting Shit Theatre
  14. The Lonely Mortician’s Guide To Myiasis
  15. Quiz in my pants
  16. Don’t Happy, Be Worry
  17. I, Claudia
  18. A Perhaps-Too-Intimate Evening of Music and Hilarity
  19. A Matter of Life, Death and Middle-Distance Running
  20. Kevin Eldon is Titting About
  21. Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog
  22. Inglorious Stereo
  23. The Three Stigmata of Pacman
  24. Girl Constantly F***ing Interrupted
  25. How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Reloaded

The last afternoon in Edinburgh (Wed 18th) which we attended: the (disappointing) interactive performance 101 (in spite of an attractive & competent young cast) and "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy" (whose male star had come to my show a few days earlier), before taking the train back home...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ending on a high

On our last full day in Edinburgh we watched two shows: the powerful "Mysterious Skin" (which, in my opinion, works much better as a play than as a film) and the often exhilarating "Belt Up's Death of Lorca."

I also participated in the Hammer & Tongue Slam Final (where my delivery of "the bellybutton poem" received an 'alright' score; I was obviously more concerned with my own show than with the outcome of the slam at that point).

I think I can confidently say that the final performance of In the Name of the Flesh in Edinburgh was a success. The night, which was well attended, ended with warm and sustained applause (leading to an ultimate sense of personal satisfaction). The audience included the lovely Ben Walters from Time Out, some of the sweet Drama students (from the Figs in Wigs troupe) that I met the Sunday before at Eat Your Heart Out and - presumably too - a reviewer from Three Weeks, of whom I never heard again. A young male member of the audience asked me, after the show, where he could find my poems published. The flattery earned him two copies of my 'Edinburgh poetry pamphlet' at a bargain price.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Black Monday (not)

Delighted that the 'Black Monday' curse did not affect the number of people who attended my show last night, the warmth of their reaction or their generosity at the door. There were even two Horse Meat Disco regulars who came to the show without realising I was in it.... :-)

[p.s. 'Black Monday' is according to the Itsy Collective
"the night where people go home and new visitors to Edinburgh arrive ready to start their Fringe week" on Tuesday]

Monday, 16 August 2010

Eat Your Heart Out

I will be posting here my thoughts on my (rewarding) performance at Scottee's refreshing Eat Your Heart Out (my boyfriend adored Miss Annabel Sings), my gig at the New Town Bar's Sunday Fundraiser (preceding Jo Caulfield), Lady C (the sexy and entertaining play based on Chaterley's Lover, which we found out about through Whoopee's Natasha) and, last but no least, one of the best nights so far for In the Name of the Flesh!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A member of the audience asked me last night...

..."Those invisible lesbians in your poem, those who sunbathe in the nude,... do they get a tan?"

A very good question worth giving a thought, keeping me awake all night (well, ok, there were other reasons for the insomnia but this sounds more poetic).

The genesis of a follow-up poem?

Saturday, 14 August 2010

It's nice to win something now and again

So, yes. I won last night's Hammer and Tongue poetry slam!

That means I am taking part in the Slam Final on Tuesday just before the last showing of "In the Name of the Flesh" at the Edinburgh Fringe... Let's see what happens...

Yesterday we had a very quiet day. We spent most of it at the flat.

In the early evening, I took my slot at 'Utter! Ghoulies.' I think I scared some of the audience... (pictures on the right taken by Richard Tyrone Jones)

Last night's show was mostly attended by rowdy (and somewhat disruptive) young kids, who nevertheless clapped throughout, cheered and got their photographs taken with me at the end while flashing their pierced nipples (male nipples, I should add) and quoting a line from the last poem of the show containing the phrase "pierced nipples". One of the boys added: 'You can lick them if you like...'. There was also this lovely Spanish girl, from Zaragoza, who was very supportive and appreciative. And one or two quieter gay young men.

We went to bed relatively early. Knackered.

My show is not conceived as a comedy show

I feel trapped in a Borgian dystopia of damning misclassification!

It may be too late now. But this clarification is needed: "In the Name of the Flesh" is NOT a comedy show. If you expect standard stand-up and easy laugh-out loud humour, the production is probably not for you. It is a multimedia spoken-word show. The reason why the show appears in the "Comedy" category of the Fringe is because there is no "Spoken Word" category in the Fringe programme. My show is part of the "spoken word" section of Peter Buckley Hill's Free Fringe (and clearly signposted as "spokewn word" in the Free Fringe programme). However most Free Fringe spoken word shows appear in the "Comedy" category in the general Fringe programme, even if technically they aren't comedy. Now I realise I should have put my show in the "Theatre" section of the Fringe programme. I suspect this would have made people approach it in a different way.

Having said that, "In the Name of the Flesh" does have humorous elements. Although it's not stand-up comedy, people do laugh during the production -- often loudly.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Every night is different!

The fringe is random, the fringe is unpredictable, the fringe is a roller coaster ride, exhausting, nerve wracking. The fringe is so young! But then, I knew most of this before I came..., didn't I?

At least, last night (Thursday), the sixth night (!), we finally managed to set up all the video/sound/projector connections and make it all work seamlessly without requiring support from the bar staff. For the first time!

Yesterday we went to see our third paying (as opposed to free) show, Derevo's widely acclaimed 'Harlekin'. The show had its moments, many of them very pretty. Scenes I particulary enjoyed include: the effect of having two competing audiences clapping both sides of the curtain, a red capsicum used to represent the heart pouring out of the chest of the male protagonist & then being carelessly devoured by his ruthless female lover, the wooden cross of a nursing nun turning into the wooden support from which hang the strings of a puppet, a female performer crossing the stage as though she was a cut-out paper doll. The three performers in the show were great. But, by and large, the show failed to engage me. There was not much in terms of story, in my opinion. It was all form over substance - as seems to be the norm at the Fringe this year from what I have experienced... (Am I being too fussy?) But, yes, it was pretty and atmospheric.

I also took my slot at The Two (not so) Gentlemen of Comedy Present: Comedé Varité Totalé - Fréé at the Banshee. Unfortunately, the hosts did not fulfill their promise of stripping naked when introducing my act. We then attended Utter! Filth, which included a nice, trousers-dropping, set from Chris Young (my Glam Slam champion 2010) and a fun poem from Mr. Utter! himself, Richard Tyrone Jones.

(The run of In the Name of the Flesh in Edinburgh is past its Equator and Ernesto is still waiting for that elusive review... panting...)

Photos from In the Name of the Flesh in Edinburgh, 2010

More (uncensored) photos at:

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Why one should watch In the Name of the Flesh

Sensationalistic pitch: Let's see. Where else can you see a show about anal fisting, Eurovision strip routines, gay porn or missing navels, with poetry lip syncing, nude drag and a talking penis?

Arty pitch: The main contents of my show are: language (spoken by me on stage or handwritten, typed, spoken or sung by other people in the video clips), communication (or lack thereof), sexual intimacy (the games of desire) and the body (in its entirety).

Detailed pitch: I would highlight the show’s multidisciplinarity (literature, moving image, performance), the diversity of its wide ranging material (both in performance and on video) and its unpredictability. During the show, one never really knows what is going to happen next. There is a playful dialogue between live performance and video material. A sequence of spoken word pieces is interspersed with video clips showing images and sounds that resonate with what the performer has been doing or saying on stage. But how these links work is not predictable and will, often, surprise and, hopefully, amuse the audience. The content and style vary widely from one piece to the next, partly to ensure the audience’s interest is kept alive throughout. References to low and high brow cultures coexist and the boundaries between the public and the private are blurred. There is story telling and poetry, surreal elements, sexy elements, lots of funny elements.

Things people are saying about my show


"It felt Daliesque to me" (Mike Mosallam)


"It's different... But good! Different in a good way!"

"The videos are hilarious. A well thought out show, very well put together. Very polished." (David Mills)

[19 Aug 2010 UPDATE]:

"colourful" (Richard Tyrone Jones)

"a stripping gay spoken word maestro" (ThreeWeeks)

"Surreal – with its talk of detached navels. Thoughtful – lesbian invisibility is always worth a worthy comment. Unique – you don’t meet talking penises every day – even on the Fringe... clear literacy... intellectual endeavour... The most interesting part was the video compilation of shots of London Pride which had my companion and I on the edge of our seats looking for familiar faces." (John Hein)

[25 Aug 2010 UPDATE]:
“the provocative nude poetry and witty videos of Ernesto Sarezale” ( Ben Walters)

[post-fringe UPDATE]:
"wow, isn’t that Ernesto Sarezale?" (Russell Thompson) :)

The Call of Cthulhu

On Wednesday we saw The Call of Cthulhu, hosted fittingly at the Hill Street Theatre, a haunting Masonic Lodge with intriguing Freemasons' symbols on the walls. The Call of Cthulhu stands out for the impressive acting range from its single performer, who plays convincingly 3 or 4 different characters. It starts with a wonderfully dark, passionately performed monologue. However, I felt the show lacked variety. I found it difficult to follow. Too abstract, even for Lovecraft standards. The phrase "self indulgent" sprang to mind. Not the way I would have adpated a Lovecraft text for the stage... But very competently produced.

We also saw Hairy Pretty Things, which - as expected - was very entertaing (David Somerset Barnes' singing being one of the highlights). Then I took my slot at the Magic Faraway Cabaret, where the highlight for me was Misty Vine's hilarious take on a Tina Turner song. Fab. That was also when I found out the connection between French comedian Marcel Lucont and Alexis Dubus, whose "A surprisingly tasteful show about nudity" includes 'cameos' from me on Saturday and Tuesday.

My show on Wednesday was not as well attended as most of the previous ones. But some of the audience responses were warm and appreciative. And the donations are getting bigger and bigger. :-)

After my show, we went to the Forest Cafe, where an arty troupe from London (Brian Lobel, Arkem, Jonathan Kemp, Benjamin Sebastian, among others) were doing a queer interactive live installation thingy, "Cruising for Art". I took this opportunity to flier my show to the cute queer young things at the event.