The shattering "eyeball-eating scene" from Mark Ravenhill’s one-man Edinburgh version of The Complete Sarah Kane*.
I’m still in Edinburgh detox mode. To this end, I have finished the latest Ian Rankin Inspector Rebus novel, and played on YouTube. I can’t recommend the Rebus novels highly enough as a mode of de-Festivalisation. They are all set in Edinburgh and almost all of them totally ignore the Festival. It is a good way to reclaim the city as a functioning place rather than a three-week drinking binge. Reading them while actually there is even better. I was very pleased with my morning routine this year, which included buying a newspaper and getting on the bus and reading it on the way into town from Morningside - yes, I know it’s lazy, but it was lovely to keep pricking the Festival bubble every day.
On the bright side, it’s nearly September and thus the new rash of London openings kicks off pretty soon...
The Cut sees an unlikely twin-set of films about cross-dressing adapted for stage with Ma Vie en Rose already running at the Young Vic (already drawing a stinking review from Charles Spencer). A more hopeful bet may come in the form of the Old Vic’s star-studded production of Almodovar’s All About My Mother. I emphasise “may”.
Also recently opened is the Emperor Jones at the National, which also reopens the doors on its enormously popular Enda Walsh/Mark Ravenhill pairing from last year’s NT Connections, Chatroom/Citizenship.
I suppose everyone who has ever cared about theatre should probably try to get excited at the prospect of the new Complicité show A Disappearing Number which opens next week at the Barbican. With original music by Nitin Sawney, we are promised. As if that helps.
Over in Hammersmith, the Lyric chucks on the first of the long march of Edinburgh refugees with the NTS Bacchae and Subway from the Traverse. Similarly, at the Soho, Tam Dean Burn in the adapation of Luke Sutherland's novel Venus as a Boy opens shortly.
Over at Hampstead their inventive and interesting Daring Pairings season kicks off the week after next, with a collected/edited selection from Mark Ravenhill’s excellent series of shorts that comprised this year’s Ravenhill For Breakfast, followed by a selection of works created by collaborations between diverse writers. This is followed by another verbatim play from Robin "Talking To Terrorists" Soans - Life After Scandal - which is based on interviews with Neil and Christine Hamilton, Charles and Diana Ingram, Jonathan Aitken, Edwina Currie and Craig Murray (again).
Probably the most exciting forthcoming London season is the Royal Court’s ambitious international season, kicking off with Martin Crimp’s new translation of Ionesco’s seminal anthropomorphic fascism parable Rhinoceros running in rep with a new version of Max Frisch’s Fire Raisers (here translated as The Arsonists) from Alastair Beaton, while upstairs there is: The Ugly One by Germany’s Marius von Mayenburg, Kebab by Romanian Gianina Carbunariu, Free Outgoing by India’s Anupama Chandrasekhar and in a double bill, The Good Family by Swediah Joakim Pirinen alongside The Khomenko Family Chronicles by Natalia Vorozhbit from the Ukraine.
Another couple of interesting items come in the form of Punchdrunk’s Masque of Red Death at the BAC and the new production of The Country Wife at the Haymarket, which marks the theatre’s new lease of life as a producing house.
Somewhat less inspiring on paper, but no doubt deftly executed are: Awake and Sing! at the Almeida and Flight Path at the Bush (whose entire first season under Josie Rourke lacks the same excitement as the Court under Cooke, but we shall wait and see). Similarly Fragile and (what sounds like a woefully misconceived) Merchant of Venice at the Arcola both sound slightly on the worthy-but-dull end of the spectrum.
Meanwhile, for those of you unable to achieve Edinburgh closure just yet, there’s still Hippo World Guest Book - Redux if your afternoon isn’t quite the same without sitting in Brooke’s Bar listening to Chris Goode yelling: "AND I AM NOT A MORON OR I WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO TYPE!" through the wall at tea time.
Alternatively, this mad little song from Jean Luc Godard’s La Chinoise, which I was overjoyed to find on YouTube, might just do the trick.
* not really.