Fringe Festival organisers have confirmed today that a man who has been delighting tourists on Edinburgh’s High Street is not an ‘artsy street performer’, but actually a local homeless man with alcohol issues and an aggressive personality disorder.
The clarification comes after the Guardian gave the man, known locally as ‘Mad Davie’, a five-star review. ‘Street theatre doesn’t get any better than this’, claimed critic Fenton Barnes in the misguided and widely-read review. ‘The boorishness of Mad Davie’s performance is a wonderful counterpoint to all that is going on around him – in Mad Davie’s hands being told to ‘eff off back where ye come from’ – is truly exhilarating.
It continued: ‘His stream of phlegm speckled invective is interrupted only by his harrowing pleas for cash before we are engulfed once more in a tidal wave of four-letter opprobrium. Has first world hypocrisy ever been more starkly exposed than this?’
Visiting English couple John and Helen Brookes sought out ‘Mad Davie’ on the strength of the Guardian review. ‘We felt a bit foolish when we found out that he is just a local drunk, especially after we gave him £20 for his ‘performance’, said Helen. ‘That said, paying twenty quid to have an alcoholic psychopath screaming abuse in your face for five minutes is still better value than the American improv group we saw last night’.
A spokesman for the Fringe said: ‘Mad Davie isn’t street theatre; he’s here all year. If the Guardian like that sort of thing they should have been here in January when he was pissing up against our office window at nine o’clock on a Tuesday morning, threatening to kick our heads in. That really was ‘truly exhilarating’.