A friend accused me of blog-tardiness yesterday. I almost exploded on the spot as, from my perspective, I have been very busy indeed. I almost reached Legend status on Sunday actually, when I somehow managed to fit in 90 minutes of Bikram yoga, 3 Prague Fringe events over 4 hours, writing two Prague Fringe reviews, baking banana bread and going house hunting. All in one Sunday.
My smugness was wiped off my face on Monday morning however, when I woke up crippled by fatigue and rendered incredibly emotional by my desire for a slightly longer weekend. This was a good lesson in the importance of not trying to do too much, and resisting the temptation to believe that you are in fact Superwoman.
Anyway, I have not been too lazy in the writing stakes. Although I have, dear reader, been writing elsewhere. Gasp. I’ve been running around Prague on a freelance-writing marathon, telling the lovely people of Prague all about the Prague Fringe Festival, which started last Friday and lasts until the 4th of the June. First off, I interviewed lovely Steve Gove who directs the Fringe and got his low-down on what to see. With hubby and some willing friends in tow, I enjoyed a weekend of fringe-based culture and also managed to squeeze in the Prague Food Festival (disappointing in my opinion – effectively 400 CZK for a taster meal and a ‘free’ beer set).
I’ve reviewed a number of good and less good acts, including (drum-roll please, and click on the links for the full reviews):
Gail Whitmore (a.k.a. the Human Jukebox) – awesome show, lovely lady with a powerful voice. It’s like karaoke without having to embarrass yourself. I want a Gail in my living room please.
Stealing From Buckingham Palace – written and performed by Wyndham Grayling. He sat next to me at Fringe Sunday and is the nicest gentleman ever. His show will be particularly popular amongst any of you having Royal Wedding withdrawal symptoms.
Sunnyville – Truman Show crossed with The Flower Pot Men crossed with Lord of the Flies.
The Human Fruit Bowl – Harmony Stempel is particularly impressive (and naked) and you’ll learn a lot about art history. Intense but excellent.
Phebe Starr. Ahhhh. Phebe Starr. Out of all the acts I’ve seen so far, this one stuck in my mind as particularly awesome… Over the past few days I have developed a bit of a girl-crush on the lovely Phebe.
Hailing from Sydney, this young, really sweet, and maybe a little bit nervous musician was a wonderful end to my Prague Fringe Sunday evening. I am a big fan of eight hours sleep and there are not many women who could keep me out until midnight on a Sunday evening. Phebe was definitely worth it. Sigh. This really is a crush.
With big eyes and lots of blond hair, she looks a bit like a doll and I expected something a bit more “bubble-gummy”. Then she opened her mouth. The rich, soulful lyrics that poured out like liquid velvet took me completely by surprise when I saw her at Fringe Sunday and then again at her evening performance. Starr is something of a cross between Norah Jones and Duffy with her lyrics and ‘depth’ of her music, not what you would expect from someone so young.
On keyboard and synthesizers, Starr played mainly her own songs (including ones that appear on the CD she has recently released in Australia) plus a completely spellbinding rendition of Prince’s When Doves Cry. Her set included some lovely pieces about her brother, her childhood best-friend and a piece called The Future Is Born inspired by J-Pop (Japanese Pop to you and me), which demonstrates that she is also a very able pianist. Ending with I Want To Be An Astronaut, Starr brought tingles down the spines of her captivated audience.
Starr is already successful Down-Under and is using the Prague Fringe to work out if the European market is for her or whether we are all ‘totally weird’. Whilst my emerging crush might not do very much to assure her that we are not a little bit odd, I bought her CD (Pink Lemonade) to support her efforts, and have been humming along happily for days. If there is one performer that deserves a full audience at this year’s Fringe, in my opinion it is Phebe Starr. Sorry Phebe, you did mention you are not a ‘crowd’ person but with a voice like that, you may just have to be…
Phebe is playing every night of the Fringe at Malostranská Beseda, Trick Bar (Malostranské náměstí 21, Malá Strana) at 22.00.
I hope your Fringe experience is going as well as mine – what were your favourite acts?