Improbability factor of L.A. actress and a man at the Edinburgh Fringe, London

Charlie Wood(Underbelly), William Burdett-Coutts (Assembly), Ed Bartlam (Underbelly), Karen Koren (Gilded Balloon), Kath Maitland (Edinburgh Fringe), Anthony Alderson (Pleasance)

(L-R) Big 4 Fringe venue owners Charlie Wood (Underbelly), William Burdett-Coutts (Assembly), Ed Bartlam (Underbelly), Karen Koren (Gilded Balloon), Kath Maitland (Edinburgh Fringe) and Anthony Alderson (Pleasance)

Tonight, I am going to a London Fortean Society lecture by David J Hand on The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day.

Well, one happened last night when I went to the ‘Big Four’ venues’ Edinburgh Fringe launch at the Udderbelly on London’s South Bank.

I was with Rochdale-born, L.A.-based actress and producer Amanda Fleming (no relation). She was off getting drinks (that is what producers do) when I was accosted by two people – a man and woman.

“Where are you from?” they asked me.

It turned out they meant: “What do you do?”

They were theatre producer Jude Merrill and writer/performer Saikat Ahamed, plugging their new Edinburgh Fringe production Strictly Balti.

“We were told,” said Jude, “that the important thing to do to get publicity was to find bloggers.”

“That’s only,” I said, “because no-one knows what’s going on in the media now and people are clutching at any and every unknown straw.”

Strange results from a decision in Birmingham

Strange results from a parental decision in Birmingham, UK

Strictly Balti tells the true story of how Saikat Ahamed’s Bangladeshi parents in Birmingham – a family of lawyers, doctors and suchlike respectable professionals – did not want him to become an actor so persuaded him to take dancing lessons. The result was that he decided he wanted to become an actor.

At this point, Amanda Fleming (no relation) came back with drinks.

I introduced her to them.

They had a little chat.

Saint Ahamed, Jude Merrill and Amanda Fleming last night

Saikat Ahamed, Jude Merrill & Amanda Fleming (no relation)

Then Saikat Ahamed said to Amanda Fleming (no relation): “Have I met you?”

There was a pause.

“Did you stay in my house?” he asked.

I looked at Amanda Fleming (no relation).

I saw the sudden realisation on her face.

“Good God!” she said.

“I had a house in Ilford,” Saikat told me.

“You did?” I asked. “I was partly brought up in Ilford. Your house wasn’t 39 Mitcham Road was it?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

“That’s a pity,” I said. “I would have been an even better coincidence.”

“I was doing a pantomime,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation).

“Oh no you weren’t,” I said.

“Oh yes I was,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation).

From Birmingham, Ilford, Rochdale and London to this

From Birmingham, Ilford, Rochdale and Los Angeles to Edinburgh Fringe London launch

“We had a mutual friend, Lee,” said Saikat Ahamed. “You weren’t staying there long.”

“It was only,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation), “like two or three weeks, during rehearsal time.”

They had not seen each other for around 15 years and then only for a few weeks and he had accosted me randomly as I passed at an Edinburgh Fringe press launch to which Amanda Fleming (no relation) had also come. As she was temporarily not in L.A.

Tonight, I will be paying special attention to The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day.

Who knows what may happen?

There is a trailer for Strictly Balti on youTube.

1 Comment

Filed under Coincidence, Comedy

One response to “Improbability factor of L.A. actress and a man at the Edinburgh Fringe, London

  1. Charles Pamment

    John,

    As you know I’m not one to rock a boat but I reckon but all this rock and roll over the term the festivals “big 4” when it comes to venues is a tad inaccurate, depending on I suppose ones definition of ‘big’ of course. In fringe terms I’d like to think it means a venues performance programme size, a number of shows, or number of difference performance genres or even the number of sub-performance genres defined in the fringe programme. What else could it be?

    Knowing you as one who still embraces the fringe ethos as a platform for all I thought you would appreciate some stats, these may be a little rough as not all shows are listed on the fringe site yet but for all wants an purposes we (theSpaceUK) have produced the largest programme on the fringe since 2012. And this year is no exception, this August we will include some 290 shows in our programme, apparently the largest programme by one producer in the history of the fringe, so I’m told.

    This is likely to be more shows than two of the big 4 put together (recent years define such), and near on 60 more than the Pleasance and give or take a few, 100 more than Assembly.

    Now, you could I suppose throw in the free fringe as the producers of the largest programme, but I suppose there seems to be a varied number of different producers of that these days too. So, I suppose when one hears this weary term ‘big 4’ you can understand that one wonders exactly what that defines or is it as someone recently said to me simply a 00’s term that stuck!

    Perhaps there is a blog in that somewhere.

    best wishes Charles

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