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The Festival Cafe - day two

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 10:10 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Below are the Festival Cafe blogs from Tuesday 16 August, written by the show's runners, but first here's a video of highlights from the programme...


Andy Mallon

Day two at Potterrow has been and gone and the show ran to plan which is always a plus! Thankfully on hand to protect our guests for the elements were some beautiful tartan umbrellas!

Madeline and Andy from The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart going over lines backstage.

Madeline and Andy from The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart going over lines backstage.

On the show we were joined by female Acappella singers The Oxford Belles, comedy duo The Pajama Men, actor Julian Sands and Andy & Madeline from the play The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart.

Today I was looking after the guys from The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. Madeline who plays the main character Prudencia Hart, and Andy who plays her colleague Colin Syme, performed a short extract from the play. They had to slightly adapt their script due to a couple of expletives that were included in their extract that they were performing. Like true professionals, Madeline and Andy managed to tailor their script so that it was friendly for daytime radio, despite the fact that it is written in the style of rhyming verse - very impressive! It was a busy day for them as they jumped straight into a taxi in time for their performance at The Ghillie Dhu at 3pm. I went to see the show on Friday with Rob, one of the producers, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a tip for the festival!

We've got another jam-packed show planned for tomorrow and are joined by six guests including hard rocker turned spoken word superstar Henry Rollins, author John
Byrne
and festival favourites Orkestra Del Sol.

Annabel Cooper

After the anomaly of bright sunshine yesterday, typically drizzly Edinburgh festival weather bit back today in all its grey glory but armed with our ENORMOUS BBC runners umbrellas and with a roster of shiny new guests to look forward to, the rain had no chance of dampening our spirits.

With one great show under our belt the production team was starting to look and feel like a slick, well-oiled machine...and I was beginning to feel that way too, until our senior producer nominated me to warm up the audience at the start of the show. Eek! More 'oil slick', than 'well-oiled machine', I muddled through a relatively coherent intro mentioning all the vitals ('Please turn your mobiles off this is a live show!' and 'that way to the fire exits'); as well as naming all the guests and their shows correctly...either that or they were too polite to tell me differently.

Julian Sands with Amy Thompson and Jane Lee from The Oxford Belles.

Julian Sands with Amy Thompson and Jane Lee from The Oxford Belles.

As you would expect from the Festival Café, our Green Room (the holding pen for the 'talent' before and during the show) was like a microcosm of the Edinburgh Festival itself. While the 10-strong Oxford Belles warmed up their voices over by the sofas in one corner, thespian royalty Julian Sands (starring in a one man play about Harold Pinter's plays and poems, directed by the legendary John Malcovich) quietly studied a book of Pinter's poems in the other. Meanwhile over by the coffee urn Andy Clark and Madeleine Worrall from 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart' ran through their lines, making use of the space left by the Pajama Men who were getting into costume - their pyjamas - in the dressing room next door (also known as the toilet!).

Much like looking under the bonnet of a slick, well-oiled machine (here we go again), the chaos of the Green Room was magically translated into 45mins of calm and precise chat and entertainment under the careful stewardship of Clare English, and the excellent planning and execution of the production team. Today's was another great show and I'm enjoying tinkering about in the Festival Café engine more and more each day...I just hope over the next two weeks some of that well-oiled slickness rubs off on me too.

Joanne Smithers

Well I had a ball today, a soggy ball but a ball none the less.I thought we had set the bar pretty high with yesterday's show but we leapt right over it today.

My wards for today's show were the beautiful and bountiful Oxford Belles. The Belles are an all female a Capella group from Oxford University. Boffins by day and song birds by night the girls have a repertoire which borrows heavily from the current hit parade performing Toxic by Britney Spears, Run by Snow Patrol and Sway by Dean Martin.

The Festival is proving a bit too much for Oxford Belle, Carys

The Festival is proving a bit too much for Oxford Belle, Carys!

The Belles live up to their moniker and were so full of wholesome goodness they made me fairly feel my age plus some. Maybe that explains why my vocabulary in now including phrases like 'Hit Parade' . . . am I down with the youngsters yet?


The Belles have been working very hard at their show at C venues at Eca. at 2.35. In fact the girls have been working so hard poor Carys had to grab some zzz's in the green room. Bless!

The Oxford Belles perform the opening number.

The Oxford Belles perform the opening number.

Jane Lee, the musical director, clearly has been ruling them with a rod of iron. Once they were off air she had them changing costumes in the back of the cab on their way to the next gig. Such is the life of an in demand a Capella group.

The other guest created a mix as melodious as the girls singing with Clare doing a great job pulling it all together.

Tomorrows show looks to be a corker, stuffed to the brim with fantastic guests such as Henry Rollins, John Byrne, Orkestra del Sol and festival 'sleeper' hit (in more ways than one) Hotel Medea.

Lalita Augustine

Our second day down at BBC Village ran like clockwork, compared to the madness and technical hitches of yesterday! Us runners were a lot more confident with what we were doing and any problems we encountered yesterday have now been ironed out.

It was bucketing with rain today, but what can you expect really in Scotland? We managed to get by though thanks to our ginormous trendy tartan golf umbrellas! I think the acts were also thankful we came equipped with these.

Today I was looking after another comedy act - The Pajama Men, aka Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez. They are an American comedy duo from Albuquerque in New Mexico. This year was their fifth Edinburgh Fringe appearance with their new show In the Middle of No One and they were very much looking forward to it.

The Pajama Men cracking some funnies on The Festival Café.

The Pajama Men cracking some funnies on The Festival Café.

Again, I made sure they were fed and watered and that they were dressed in their nice Marks and Spencer pyjamas and ready for their performance. The guys told me they loved coming to Scotland and what a beautiful country it was. They told me they were planning some trips up north while they were here but said they were not familiar with the West coast. Hailing from Glasgow, I took the opportunity to recommend a trip to Helensburgh beach and Loch Lomond. So if you see the guys on a train to any of these destinations, then that's my fault.

It was a bit of a strange theatrical atmosphere for me in the green room today, with two men sitting in their pyjamas and a troupe of the Oxford Belles rehearsing down the other end of the room but it's wee quirks like this that remind me why I love the Fringe Festival and we still have a lot of culture to wade through the next couple of weeks, so I hope that you enjoy the Festival Café and that we can bring a bit of the festival experience to you in your home if you cannot make it down.

Ironically now as I type this blog entry, the sun has come out and is cracking the pavements, typical eh?

If you didn't manage to catch the show today, you can listen again on the BBC Radio Scotland website. Tune into BBC Radio Scotland every weekday from 1315 for the Festival Café live from BBC @ Potterrow and we'll be here over the next couple of weeks blogging and tweeting away with all the gossip and our photos so check it out and keep in touch.


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