What Rhymes With Typhoid Anyway?

The last day of our week in Edinburgh always goes the same way – we save a couple of guaranteed good shows for the final day so that we finish on a high (that way we are less likely to drive off the road because we’ve been driven to despair by something terrible), we have a nice lie in, and we go and get gifts and the like for the children in the family.

I say we. Carole goes and gets gifts and the like for the children in the family. I do not. I have a very low tat threshold when it comes to the wide array of almost identical but just slightly different tourist shops in places like Edinburgh. I tend to hover around somewhere, just chilling and taking in the atmosphere.

In previous years, I have been flyered by a person who told me that I looked just like the sort of person who would enjoy a play based on the actual transcripts from the Salem Witch Trials. To this day, I have no idea what that says about me. It’s certainly not a look that I go for on a conscious level, but maybe I just ooze a natural yearning for a dramatized look at the persecution of women in 17th Century colonial Massachusetts.

But it does go some way to illustrate the kind of thing that is available to be seen during the run of the Fringe. It’s not all comedy, my friends. There are many, many things to be seen and experienced. Like plays about drowning people in rivers because someone once died after they had been near them for an indeterminate amount of time.

This year, though, my favourite moment of “WTF? There’s a show about that?!?” came while I was waiting at the top of Cockburn Street (sadly not pronounced how it is spelt, dispelling any hope that the origins of the street name came from a curious man and a candle) for Carole to finish buying my mum a bag which folded into a blue tit when it was put away (and will, for now and forever, be known as mum’s tit bag). I watched two people handing out flyers for different shows. They were within spitting distance of each other – initially I assumed they were together but eventually it became evident that they were not.

During a lull in the foot traffic, they asked each other about their shows. I can’t remember what one of them was about, such was the excitement of the pitch. But the other was just magical, and tapped right into my unconscious desire for historical theatre based around random, significant events.

It was Typhoid Mary The Musical.

I know, right.

What cries out for the musical treatment more than a woman who was suspected of being a carrier of typhoid and infecting 51 people (three of whom died) during her career as a cook at the end of the 19th/start of the twentieth century.

I am willing to bet there are some catch songs in that one. You know, real earworms that – days later, when you’re back at work in the office – you find yourself singing. Something with a really punchy chorus and repeated use of the word “typhoid” – my love knows no barrier, but I am a carrier… Typhoid!

That sort of thing.

Or maybe:

My name is Mary,
And this is quite scary
I’m one to avoid
I carry typhoid.

Not that we know it
Because there’s no symptoms to show it
I’m one to avoid
I carry typhoid.

Repeat to fade.