Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

This year Richard is up in Edinburgh performing in The Collision of Things at the pleasance. So I headed up there for a long weekend to catch up with him, see lots of theatre and eat haggis with every meal! (Haggis pie pictured below)

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There’s still a few days left of the festival so if you’re heading up there here’s my Ed Fringe survival kit:

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1. Hair brush – be prepared for gusty winds and drizzly rain at festival time. There’s no way I’m going to waste valuable fun time heading back to the digs or hotel to get ready for dinner or another show, so much prefer to keep my barnet in check on the go!

2. Umbrella – I know it’s Summer but this is Scotland, it’s beautiful, it’s fun, but it rains.

3. Stapler – If you’re hanging out with performers (very good idea-they know where the good shows are) bring a stapler. As reviews are published they print out quotes and staple them to their flyers and posters. Lend a hand with the admin and they might just reward you with great recommendations or even a complimentary ticket to their show.

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4. Botanics All Bright – refreshing eye roll-on – Do the fringe right and you’ll be in and out of shows from the moment you arrive. Constantly going from the blackouts in the auditorium to the summer sunshine pushing through the rain clouds outside gives your eyes a bit of a rough deal. This cooling eye gunk is the travel equivalent of the old teaspoons in the freezer trick.

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5. Sweater – most venues are pretty warm inside but after about 6pm there’s a definite autumnal vibe outside. Plus, if you drop haggis down you’re t-shirt you can cover up with a nice clean sweater.

6. Cash – tickets can be paid for with card but take a few quid for signed books, programmes and merchandise. It’s such a blur by the end you’ll want a few things to remind you what happened.

7. Pen – there’s no shortage of scraps of paper and what’s on guides but don’t forget a pen to mark what it is you actually want to see or the directions of how to get there.

8. Bag – bring a bag bigger than you need, to stash all the flyers and tickets for the shows you want to go to.

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9. Small towel – hand dryers break…and did I mention it rains?

10. Comfy shoes. You prefer heels? You’re braver than me.

Shows to see:

The Collision of Things – Move to Stand. Richard’s show! There’s a cast of three, original music and…oh if I tell you any more I’ll ruin it, go see it, you won’t regret it.

Colin Hoult: Character Horse
I love going to see Colin’s shows, not just because he often utilises his fine Nottinghamshire accent thus making me feel less homesick but because he’s hillarious.

Battleacts!
Anyone else miss “Who’s line is it anyway?” never fear Battleacts will quench your satirical improvisation thirst. They are a wonderful bunch. And it’s free!!

La Merda – Silvia Gallerano
Ok, there’s a lady, sat on a plinth with no clothes on getting a bit shouty. From that description I wasn’t keen but the reviews were glowing, 4 and 5 stars all over the place. We popped along to see what all the fuss was about. Amazing, go see.

More favourites…

Ben Moor: Each of Us

Missing – gecko theatre

Solfatara – atresbandes

That Pair: Never Liked Her Anyway

Have a wonderful time x

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Twelfth Night

twelfth-night-poster

In case you don’t know my fella is actor Richard Kiess…although this month he’s been out so much I’m finding it difficult to remember what he looks like. By day he’s rehearsing for a show that’s going to Edinburgh this summer and by night he’s performing in Twelfth Night at the Lion & Unicorn. When we do see each other I get to help him with his lines (which is tremendous fun, especially when I get to do silly voices) and he has become an intrepid and knowledgable tester of my recipes…even if it means sitting outside in the freezing cold to eat a plastic plateful of artichokes (sneak peek to next week’s post!).

I know I’m biased but this Made in Chelsea inspired performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is well worth a look (plug plug!) plus it’s great because each time he’s in something I get to meet the cast and go to the after show parties! It’s a very cool job but it’s full-on…this leads me seamlessly into a recipe for cereal bars! Richard assures me cereal is great at any time of day and I was interested to discover that actors consume lots of energy bars and sports drinks – not surprising having seen how physically demanding some roles can be.

Packed full of oats, very dark chocolate, pine nuts and dried cherries I hoped this homemade snack would at least make a change from boost bars & mountain dew.

Twelfth Night Bars

twelfth night bars

Ingredients

100g of oats

75g dried cherries

50g of pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan)

50g walnuts

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

100g fair trade dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa), roughly chopped

100g golden syrup

10og butter

100g light brown sugar

Method

1) Line a loaf tin with grease-proof paper.

2) Put the oats, cherries, toasted pine nuts, walnuts and cinnamon in a large heat-proof bowl and mix together.

3) In a saucepan heat the golden syrup, butter and sugar over a medium heat until the butter has melted, the sugar has dissolved and it’s starting to simmer.

4) Quickly pour the melted syrup mixture over the oats and nuts etc. and stir well. Throw in the chopped chocolate last and briefly mix it in (don’t stir too long otherwise the chocolate will totally melt and you want a few chunks in the finished bars).

4) Tip everything into the prepared tin and press the mixture down using the back of a metal spoon so that it gets into all the corners and is level on the top.

5) Leave to set for 2 hours or overnight and then slice into bars (makes about 12).

6) Wrap them up in foil and tissue paper and hand them out to hungry actors 🙂

foil & tissue paper

All wrapped up

Rich very kindly took a few snaps on his phone of the cast and crew backstage munching on the cereal bars…or posing with them…perhaps a bit of both!
the cast

Twelfth Night is on at the Lion & Unicorn until the 23rd of February but tickets are selling out so if you can’t get a seat there then they’re doing some extra nights at Canada Water Culture Space from the 26th of February – 1st of March 2013

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The Revenger’s Tragedy

So while I was on holiday in Herefordshire over the Summer I got a text message from the associate director at the Leicester Curve Theatre, and good chum, Suba Das (check me out with my glamorous friends!) asking me to come up with a bespoke cocktail for his next production; The Revenger’s Tragedy.

Of course I said YES!!! I really need very little excuse to get out the cocktail shaker 😉

He put me in touch with his production team and designers and that’s when the brief started to take some serious (and rather restrictive) shape. They wanted:

  • A new cocktail recipe
  • Must be Edwardian in style
  • Needs an element of “theatre” or “process” to it (but not too much as it might not be served by professional mixologists)
  • Quick to prepare at the interval as all the customers could arrive at once
  • There’s no freezer on site so ice is a no, no

Right….

I went away, got slightly obsessed by trying to add grapefruit juice to many things, none of which worked.

Then, on a whim I turned my attention to the ingredients list from a bottle of fentiman’s rose lemonade. The packaging looks fairly Edwardian…ish and I checked in some of my more ancient cookery books that rose would have been used as a flavouring a century ago and it all seemed rather plausible. Rose lemonade is delicious and it inspired me to add ginger to the mix – as the ginger cuts through any soapiness you might get from the rose but equally the rose takes a little of the harshness from the ginger. I just hoped that I could make something similar (and obviously boozier!)

I was still keen on using the grapefruit juice simply because it was pink as I figured anything rose flavoured should be pink…except it really didn’t taste brilliant and I was still struggling to find anything theatrical apart from using a cocktail shaker, and that was out as it would have been too complicated. Aaagh!

CHAMBORD!!! of course. How could I forget this?! I’d been offered some in a glass of prosecco one Christmas and not only is it delicious but who could resist the perfume like bottle with gold band and sparkly cap – not me! Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur from France) luckily sinks nicely to the bottom of the glass to give a beautiful pink gradient – much better than the grapefruit juice and it worked really well with the rose! Success at last – it only took a month!

The Gloriana

It’s called The Gloriana after the murdered wife of the main character, the revenger, Vindice.

1 measure of Gin

1 tsp of Rosewater

4 measures of Ginger Beer

1/2 measure of Chambord (or other raspberry liqueur)

Make sure all the ingredients are chilled before making this or slide in a couple of ice cubes a the end.

1) Pour the Gin into the glass

2) Stir in the Rosewater

3) Add the Ginger Beer

4) Slowly add the Chambord – don’t stir, let it sink, Serve!

My cocktail is now on sale at the interval in a purpose built Edwardian style bar, complete with an Edwardian barmaid! You can purchase a Gloriana during performances of The Revenger’s Tragedy at Hoxton Hall (10th of October – 10th of November).

 

This play is pretty gruesome so it’s perfect for Halloween – grab a ticket here. Or if you can’t get to London you’ll just have to dig out those cocktail glasses and stir up a couple of Gloriana’s at home.

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