It is clear The Dog-Eared Collective will never be famous for their diary keeping. Sammy Pepys or Adrian Mole we are not! At the start of the Fringe we agreed to blog for the lovely Huffington Post but have failed to do so, until now. Our excuse? We just haven't had the time, honest! Not for late night debauched drinking sessions or for maxing out our culture cards on enjoying shows, oh no. We've been engaged in tasks of a more practical nature.
Our Sketch show is prop heavy. 'Shoot us'. And on arriving in Edinburgh the 'to do' list was long and included tasks such as sewing Olympic rings onto the arse seat of Jock Frost's blue body stocking, painstakingly trimming green material with nail scissors to transform it from Jim Henson workshop to Lion King-esque English apple tree and aligning Brown Owl's breasts in her jumper so that they are just the right altitude for an active woman in her 60s. Then there was scouring the charity shops for a kilt (Barnardo's might be saving the children but they certainly burnt a hole in our pockets), a 90s Goth like cardigan with floaty sleeves and an anorak befitting a Scottish divorcee...we'd like to thank Cancer Research, PDSA and SENSE for their assistance with this.
Time for blogging yet? No. We had the 'garden shed' section of our list to work through. Super gluing, gaffer taping, calligraphying and soldering (of the sort where you heat a butter knife on the hob and then push it through plastic, the smell is to die for, so it's always best to keep the window open when engaged in this art form!)
Surely with all that done we could do a bit of writing? Oh yes, we were also watching the Olympics.
Towards the end of the first week we were adding newly completed props to the show in each performance until one task remained. This involved learning some important lessons about dancewear options for the bigger girl (put in this category woman taller than 5'4 who have breasts). After searching on the internet for the perfect peach/pink leotards we were kindly informed by Edinburgh Dancewear that they just don't do these for Dog-Eared Collective girls this size as they are highly see through. They only do them for the younger girl....We were advised to try M&S bodysuits as our best bet. A trip to Princess Street and £58.50 later 3 members of The Dog-Eared Collective were taking it back to 1992 as they tested out the under the crotch poppers whilst the fourth member (male) was having a heart attack at the expense. Good quality doesn't come cheap.
So as we come to the end of the first two weeks of the run was all this craft work appreciated by our audiences? We're going to go out on a limb and say yes. Maybe the front row of French exchange students we had in one day didn't get the references to bulk buying in Costco or gal pals Penny Crayon and Carrie Bradshaw but they sure as hell smiled loudly when we bought out the chip pan Olympic torch (see reference to heated knife soldering above). Plus one review said ' There are enough beautifully made costumes and props brought out here to challenge a Mighty Boosh live show'. Watch out boys we're only a pot of poster paints away from you!
Then there was the day we performed to three men and no dog. It's funny how a seemingly harmless and silly sketch about the girl guides doing an interpretive dance about the Good Friday agreement topless to encourage awareness about breast feeding can turn into a cabaret peepshow with such an audience demographic and low lighting! At least we can say that they each had a hands on experience as the number of audience members we need to participate throughout the show is ...three. This was indeed a special day as The Dog-Eared quartet also smashed the age old theatrical rule that you should never perform to an audience which numbers less than the performers. Our sound and lighting operator was in the room as well so 'technically' he counts.
So what do we hope for the last week?
Besides a sell out show, five star reviews and more blogging time? Our dream would be for someone to come up to us at the end of the show and say that is the finest and funniest stitching I've seen on the fringe. Your use of gaffer tape is inspired and your 90s Goth cardy with floaty sleeves was perfectly pitched.
We shall keep our fingers crossed.
The Dog-Eared Collective: You're Amazing (Now look at me) Underbelly, Cowgate @15:50
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