The big surprise came with the inaugural Edinburgh To New York Carol Tambor Award, which takes its winner(s) to the Big Apple. Rosebud – The Lives Of Orson Welles and Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters will both make the journey.
Rosebud’s director Josh Richards told the Fringe website, “It’s a complete surprise. This is a great opportunity to present a wonderful showcase in Orson Welles’ home country just before the 20th anniversary of his death.” And Sisters' writer-performer Russell Barr said, “I feel incredibly flattered and genuinely shocked.” The play, about Glasgow’s seedy, drug-fuelled underworld, marks Barr’s writing debut.
Rosebud was one of the winners of the prestigious Fringe First award, alongside Peacefire, Rumble, The Jammer, Highway Diner and Raw Beef. The Daily Mail Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Awards went to Assembly Rooms ex-associate director Mary Shields, and Una MacLean, star of Shimmer at the Traverse. Another Traverse show, When the Bulbul Stopped Singing, bagged the Amnesty International Freedom Of Expression Award.
The hotly competed Perrier Award for comedy went to British comic Will Adamsdale’s show Jackson’s Way. A parody of America’s passion for motivational speakers and self-improvement, it caught the judges’s eye – and Adamsdale’s career is likely to leap as a result. The Perrier usually gives a significant boost to a comic’s career, with previous winners having included now-established stars Lee Evans, Al Murray, The League of Gentlemen, Jenny Éclair, Steve Coogan, Frank Skinner, Jeremy Hardy and Sean Hughes. In 1985 it went to the fledgling Theatre De Complicite.
This year’s event broke some records itself. It sold more than a million tickets and featured around 15,000 performers. There’s no award for that, but it bodes well for next year.