So I have reached the end of my first full Edinburgh experience. I am back in my flat, reacquainting myself with old habits and the bliss of my own bed, but what, if anything, have I learnt from all this?
Well, I have learnt that it is perfectly possible to spend almost a month in Edinburgh and still come away not having seen everything one wanted to see. I have learnt that it is all too easy to get locked into a bubble of show-going and to become obsessed about filling one’s time (“well, I have a spare half hour here, maybe I could squeeze in some street theatre.”) I have learnt that, aside from the novelty factor, there is very little to be said for seeing four or five shows a day; it leaves little room for mental digestion and for letting what you have seen spread through your system, growing and unfolding – instead it must be tidied away so you can turn your attention to whatever’s next and at it’s worst it results in a mental drifting during the show itself, as your brain begins thinking about routes and start times and deadlines. I have learnt that the social element of the festival is crucial in many ways and my Edinburgh experience was enhanced considerably by spending time with various visiting friends; solo show-going has its advantages and can be rather pleasurable but some Fringe productions, particularly the more comedy-orientated ones, are simply more enjoyable when seen with company. I have learnt that the word tram is spoken with the same level of venom as an expletive in Edinburgh and will be until 2011. I have learnt that one can live off coffee, wine, apples and croissants but one probably shouldn’t. I have learnt that I can see over 70 shows and still come away loving the theatre and its capability to transport and delight and fire the imagination which is, I think, a good thing.