Reading Chilcot becomes Fringe attraction

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Media captionComedian kicks off Chilcot Report in Edinburgh Fringe

About 2,000 people, including a host of comedians, writers, and politicians, are staging a non-stop, live streamed reading of the Chilcot Report in to the Iraq War, as part of an Edinburgh Fringe show.

For the most talked about show at the Edinburgh Fringe, it was a remarkably low key start.

Five of us are waiting outside the door of a shed, all women.

At 10:00 precisely, the stage manager, Sorcha, opens the door and escorts the previous audience out, all except the last reader, who continues reading the report until a woman in our group takes over.

We all slide into our seats and listen as she continues reading.

This bit of the report is interesting.

It is about whether there was evidence of an anthrax attack by Saddam Hussein, and whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

This is important evidence, perhaps buried in a seven-year long enquiry which resulted in a 12-volume report.

And that's what the show - Iraq Out & Loud - hopes to highlight.

It is deliberately low key and respectful.

No silly voices, no dramatic performances, just a straightforward reading of the entire report, cover to cover.

It is the smallest event on the Fringe, with the biggest amount of audience participation.

Up to 2,000 people are expected to take part.

Comedians Arthur Smith, Nish Kumar, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Thomas have taken turns.

Producer Bob Slayer has only had to step in once so far - in the wee small hours.

If all goes to plan, he believes all 2.6 million words will have been read - and live streamed from the shed - by the end of the Fringe.

If not, the shed will stay and they will keep on reading, for as long as it takes.

After half an hour, a third reader takes over and I slip out of the shed into the bustle of the festival.

I'm not sure I know any more about report than I did when I went in but it did make me wonder how much I missed in the summarised coverage.

The report itself costs a whopping £767 - although the show got theirs for free, since all proceeds will go to charity - but how accessible are such vital reports which affect so many lives?

It is available online - but how many people will read all 6,000 pages?

So many questions raised in one little shed, by a cast of thousands.

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