EIFF 2001: Day 3

Full Monty man is back, and at the Lucky Break party.

by Trinity

After the shock of seeing a green-bearded Billy Connolly turn up to yesterday's premiere of Gabriel and Me, it was on to the first big Brit flick of the fest. Peter "I did the Full Monty" Cattaneo's latest, Lucky Break, was given the red carpet treatment at the UGC.

In front of a large crowd, most of whom were hoping to glimpse a sight of James Nesbitt, the first people down the carpet were a pair of transvestites resplendent in full evening wear.

After this rather bizarre introduction, Cattaneo, and Lenny James and Raymond Waring (two of the film's stars), were subjected to the Liquid News treatment.

Unfortunately, filming for Cold Feet kept Nesbitt away, and he left many ladies, old and young (though mostly old), heartbroken.

Party on!

The evening's entertainment included the opening party of the Delegate's Club - the place to hang out and network - which featured cool jazzy sounds from Big Beat's Stuart Bennett.

Fight breaks out, but lucky nothing broke

The Lucky Break party, hosted by Film Four, took place in the elegant setting of the Tower Restaurant, in the new Museum of Scotland building. It started just as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was reaching its climax at the castle. Party-goers, supping fine wines and bottles of German lager on the terrace, were rewarded with spectacular views across the Old Town rooftops of the fireworks bursting over the castle.

Unfortunately, your hard-working diarist was a little tardy and had to struggle upstream against the mass of humanity pouring from the Edinburgh tattoo at the castle.

But inside was an oasis of calm and sophistication - at what was a smaller, more low key affair than your average premiere shindig.

Waiters buzzed around attentively and guests satiated themselves with delicious, small potted pies (shepherd's pie, fish pie, toad-in-the-hole), French cheeses and berries.

As well as the Lucky Break cast, guests included Brian Cox, in town for LIE, and the two striking transvestities (towering over everybody with their heels on).

Turns out they had nothing to do with the film - but have brought their show Working Girls (see their site) from Rotterdam to the Fringe. The two have been struggling with what is essentially a late night cabaret act on a 2.30pm slot (they booked the venue "late" - February!).

They remain undaunted, especially after having been asked while in Edinburgh to play a small part in a Canadian-Scottish production. Taco, husband of Paul, the darker-haired of the two, says he's also getting some good footage "for the documentary".

I chatted to Julian Barratt who gives an amusing performance in the film as an acting therapist. Interestingly, he never went to drama school, but his background is in stand-up comedy. This is his first big break (no pun intended) in film - he said when he heard he got the part he went around his flat yelling with joy.

All was going swimmingly well, until in the last hour of the party - with few people left - a small gescuffle broke out on the terrace. The incident was so unexpected that at first none of us reacted.

I was chatting with the young writer from the the camp, kilted Fringe show, Changeling Rooms, when there was a sudden raising of male Scottish voices from a table beside us.

A woman and two men. Mid-to-late Thirties. The larger of the men, stood up and landed a punch on the other, lankier, who remained seated and continued to call the other names like "fatty". The one standing landed another punch.

At this point, one of the cast of Changeling Rooms and I stepped in to restrain the larger one, particularly as the other was not letting up with the insults. Having made his point, the pugilist got this coat and left.

The other at the table, now mopping his bloody face with a freshly pressed linen napkin, then turned his tongue on the Changeling Rooms crowd standing nearby with their kilts and cut-off t-shirts accusing them of standing around ("like Judy Garland") doing nothing. A brief bout of verbal slanging ensued before the cast and crew of the Changeling Rooms wisely decided to exit stage left.

What the first short fracas was about, I've no idea. But it certainly added some colour to the night's proceedings.

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