Barry Ferns changed his name to Lionel Ritchie by deed poll in 2007 to enable him to list his show in the Fringe programme – This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Richie. Every day he carries up 19kg of equipment to the top of Arthur’s Seat in whatever conditions the Edinburgh weather throws at him. Ferns instantly wins the accolade of being the only Fringe participant this year to perform on top of a 350 million year old volcano.
Choosing a dry day, we set off from Holyrood Park with the sole purpose of climbing to the top to see his show.
We were clearly in the minority who had planned to see ‘Lionel Richie’ – 95% of the audience were tourists taking in the views. He was so delighted when we told him why we were there, we were awarded a high five.
With the help of a microphone and amp, he announced to the hundred or so people at the summit that his show was about to start and they were welcome to watch under the condition that they entered through the ‘door’ and into his venue.
This was perhaps the funniest section of his show to watch as everyone was intrigued at the apparent randomness of stumbling upon a performance and joined in. Dozens of people marched through the door to music and got their hand stamped before taking their seats in the ‘stalls’.
After chatting to the audience about where they’re all from (in a friendly and inoffensive way) Ferns disappeared behind the rocks so that he could officially start. He soon emerged onto the stage with the help of some dramatic music and reeled off historical information about Arthur’s Seat.
With another brief section about Trip Advisor reviews, the performance was sadly over before it really got started. Despite having to walk up to the summit and being over in 20 minutes, this still has to be one of the friendliest, fun and memorable shows at the Fringe this year.