There are some things as regular at the Fringe as Biblical downpours and overpriced street food. And Arthur Smith, (self-appointed) Mayor Balham, Grumpy Old Man, is one of them.
A love letter to the shenanigans of Auld Reekie in August
In what he tells us is his 75th Fringe, Smith takes us all on an hour’s love letter to one of the constants of his adult existence; explaining what brought – and has kept – him coming back for more silly Auld Reekie shenanigans year after year, August after August.
This nostalgic potter has a daft, homespun quality in which Smith takes us through love affairs, Leonard Cohen, Arthur’s Seat, his parents, dependencies, snippets of verse: with him reading at a lectern from an old buff folder with a ‘75’ sharpied on the front. His deadpan delivery has something of the quality of a colleague giving a euology, and whilst the Fringe is far from dead, in this anniversary year, there are reasons aplenty for us all to just take stock of where we've been and where we're going. But it’s not all low-tech stuff, a projection of his photo collection gives us plenty of gigglesome memories and there’s a sense of glee in his delivery which is reminiscent of sinking a few beers and some NSFW anecdotes with your deliciously inappropriate Uncle.
Smith is very very funny, dry, surprisingly moving, naughty. He is honest without becoming maudlin, and loving without sentiment. He is one of the best kinds of storyteller - truthful with just a little bit of fantasty, and funny with a smattering of filth - and we can only hope that what he describes as a potentially terminal case of CBA does not in fact stop him from returning for another (sic) seventy five years.