Hitchin goes to Edinburgh
24th August 2012
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Travelling nearly 400 miles to enjoy performances by Hitchin residents may seem a trifle bizarre, but the chance to see 12 of our young thespians and one of our favourite comedians at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival was too good to pass up.

In the end, both performances justified their place at the Fringe and they represented Hitchin well.

The first showing of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' was pretty much sold out. The youngsters - aged between 15 and 19 - are all members of Big Spirit, the youth group within the Bancroft Players, residents at The Queen Mother Theatre. Some of the sales of tickets came undoubtedly from the fact that another adaptation of Mark Haddon's book is currently selling-out London's National Theatre. The rest may be because this marks the 18th year of Big Spirit's unique style of physical theatre to the Fringe.

They deserved their selling out most of the five nights they were on stage - the story was told beautifully by the young cast, several of whom are heading for drama school in the next couple of years. The main character, Christopher, has Asperger's and he embarks on an unusual and fairly ill-advised detective hunt, writing up his findings in a novel. The part was played jointly by Josh Sharp and Brenda Lucia, the latter portraying Christopher's mind with both insight and humour.

But this was a truly ensemble cast (I have to declare an interest, as my son Freddie was one of them) and they moved individually and collectively to aid the narrative. Directed by Becky Lee, they engaged the audience and maintained the pace throughout the hour. Having subsequently seen a number of other youth groups, we should be proud of the calibre of theatre these young people took from Hitchin to Edinburgh.

The following night saw me seated in a dingy basement of a tiny pub in the arches beneath one of Edinburgh old town's busiest streets. Owning the mike was comedian Paul B. Edwards. If I repeated any of his words, I'd undoubtedly be banned from The Best of Hitchin. A series of songs, interspersed with some personal story-telling, showed Paul at his very best and he definitely deserves to be celebrated on his triumphal return at the end of the month. It might not be clean and it might at times be inappropriate, but Paul's routine is certainly hilarious.

Plenty to be proud of in Edinburgh this month if you're from Hitchin, then. Try not to miss it next year!

About the Author

Hilary R

Member since: 31st May 2012

Writer and sax player. Brought up in Hitchin and - apart from uni and some ensuing madness of life in London - I've always lived here.

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