The family has returned from our ninth consecutive Edinburgh Festival and already we have booked accommodation for next year, which says something for the irresistible nature of festival-going.  For many of the acts, it is a labour of love.  Most of them lose money playing to small houses, but I admire their courage.  Here are comments on a few of them.


Ben Moor – Ben is an actor and writer and his piece was a monologue he had written, which was beautifully delivered.  His work doesn’t classify easily and may be considered drama, comedy or a prose poem.  He uses dense patterns of word play and surreal inversions.  For example, he posits the existence of “soakers”: psychopaths who douse stuff in water: the reverse of arsonists.  The audience has to work with him and he doesn’t get all the laughs the material deserves because one is still decoding the first “joke” when the second one arrives, and his narrative style is full of light and shade, now lyrical, now sad, now funny, which leaves the audience without cues as to its expected response.  However these are not criticisms, merely observations on the subtlety and richness of his work.  His script is also available in book form and well worth reading.  Delightful.


Tangram – is the name that Stefan Sing and Cristiana Casadio give to their act.  To describe it as a perfect synthesis of modern dance and juggling that enhances each of the elements is true but does not convey the enormous fun of their work, which is playful, sexy and beautiful.  This act had, for me, the biggest “wow” factor.  I can’t imagine seeing either modern dance or juggling that would have greater impact.


George Telfer – We first saw him at the Buxton Festival two years ago when he delivered a piece on Graham Chapman which he repeated in Edinburgh.  My kids and I separately watched him in Burton’s Last Call, which sees him in the role of Burton delivering a monologue about the actor’s life.  The setting was intimate, with Telfer only feet away from an audience of thirty and going through the process of changing his clothes and downing a bottle of wine as he spoke, which enhanced the intimacy of the revelations.  The delivery was note perfect in response to the lyricism, humour and sadness of the script.  First rate.