Gareth’s funny turn

So, I’m up to my eyeballs in scripts for Scrap It!, with altogether too little time between now and shooting the thing. Nevertheless, one can’t work all the time, so yesterday I upped and offed to Edinburgh. It’s the Festival, don’tchaknow, and as I’ve noted here already Gareth has a show. Now, I’ve seen a couple of reviews and they’ve been moderate, which is in itself interesting – my best guess is that the reviewers wanted to do a hatchet job but actually, it’s just not that bad a show, which left them rather bereft of a story.

So I booked a couple of tickets and headed off; met up with Mark; thence to the Gilded Balloon to meet Rosie, for whom I’d actually booked the other ticket (meeting Mark was a happy accident).

Meanwhile, a less happy accident had befallen Gareth. “The show’s cancelled – he’s had an accident.” informed the box office. Eek. OK – so I called him, intending to demand something like a street-theatre personal performance. Violet answered, sounding a little intense but otherwise like Violet. “Oh, hi Jonathan. It’s horrible,” she said, with an airy cheeriness, “Gareth’s having muscle spasms and can’t breathe, but not to worry, the paramedics are here now.”

“Oh right,” I said, catching more her tone than the words themselves, “so where are… what?” The information content finally caught up with me.

After a few hours sitting in A&E they finally saw a doctor, and Gareth was soon discharged. Just a bit of muscular weirdness, they thought; don’t do whatever he did to cause it in the first place. Which isn’t entirely reassuring, but in the circumstances probably better than the alternatives.

Meanwhile, Rosie and Mark and I had circled in a holding pattern in case Violet needed us, and also because John was with her and the whole thing might have turned into a bizarre and impromptu deletetheweb bloggers’ meetup. In a hospital, but I’ll take any Edinburgh venue I can find. Eventually, we tried to get in to see Ben Moor at the Pleasance, but he’d sold out (later it transpired that he hadn’t, and the box office was just being mean because they thought we were late, their clock being six minutes fast)… and then I came home and set to work on the scripts.

Much later, I had a long conversation with a somewhat hyper Violet, and a shorter one with a somewhat spaced-out-on-painkillers-and-muscle-relaxant Gareth. Poor lad.

Today, Gareth’s on much better form but still not sounding quite all there; he didn’t do the show this afternoon. He’s clearly despondent about this, but I think he’s done amazingly. By rights, the whole endeavour could (and, playing the averages, perhaps should) have been an unmitigated disaster. It wasn’t. People turned up, he had reviews – some good and none bad – and the audiences loved it. This is not how shows from Edinburgh virgins usually pan out.

Chin up, mate. But not so far it wrenches your back, OK?

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