Live Performance is Back!

Audiences are Back. We’ve all missed us

Edinburgh International Festival time is with us once more, and this year live events are back, admittedly with a slimmer, smaller, altogether quieter noise than we had become accustomed to pre-pandemic, but the sheer energy and joy of being onstage has sparked adrenaline in performer and audience alike.

Fringe by the Sea at North Berwick gave us Lulu’s first live show in 18 months, and of course she opened with a “Shout!” and the staccato flashing of 500 stage lights that seared the eyeballs of 1000 cataracts in the audience. Be-hatted and kimonoed like Boy George, her tiny figure owned the stage, while her gutsy voice whooped forth like it was 1963.This woman is 72 years old. Somewhere in her attic is her portrait as a sweet white haired old lady, but on stage she shimmied around looking just like the 14 year old starting her career. A rich career filled with variety that she took us through in story and song, swooping through the decades as few artists could. The voice held true, the band were great, and the lights continued to dazzle the eyeballs of the enthusiastic audience. She and her brother are now writing her songs, and pretty good they are too. She sang her splendid COVID protest song “We Don’t Fall” and had us chanting the defiant chorus. I can’t find the song on YouTube so maybe we had an exclusive preview before it becomes Lulu’s next big hit.

The day before on the same stage – the Belhaven Big Top – Janey Godley bounded around in gleeful enthusiasm at her first gig since lockdown. Having warned those whose vocabulary contains restraints that they might as well just go, she let slip with her no holds barred onslaught on life. Her descriptions of her own imagined domestic life, harassment (by her) on first class train travel, and generally unmentionable rude behaviour were hilarious. She took us through a wide range of YouTube voiceovers breathing ludicrous life into animal behaviour (including penguins, cats, bears and politicians). With a sharp eye for the absurd, and a breezy ease of delivery she relished the live interaction.

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