First blog post

So Hi anyone looking at this. Never done anything like this before but have been musing on doing a fringe blog for, oo, the last four years. So finally I’m taking the plunge! The first fringe show I saw was way back in 1985, The Bald Prima Donna at Buster Browns on Thursday 22nd August for £2. That Prima Donna keeps coming back every year, still bald as a coot. So if you fancy a stroll along the byways and alley ways of my Fringe experiences, feel free to drop in.

Like I said, I’m new to this so there’s gonna be plenty mistakes (though at least my typing seems ok for a moose) as I’m not really up with this modern technology stuff. So wish me luck and do check in again!

Bruce

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Best Fringe Thursday Ever!!

Well, blimey charlie, what a day Thursday turned out to be! From the sublimely hilarious to the ridiculously surreal. So first off, after throwing a quick strong coffee down my neck, I sprinted up to Pleasance Dome to get a ticket for Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play with only a few minutes to spare (I should start timing my sprints up to Pleasance Dome and the Gilded Balloon, see what my record times are).

Chosen purely because Thom Tuck is in it – along with a bunch of real talents, I can now say. Not that I’m recommending it, but it is seriously and utterly brilliant. Tuck, first as nasty price of corporate work then the judge, was in his element (and always on the right side of silliness), presiding over the case and advising us, the audience, how to react by way of paddles with instructions like “gasp”, “oooh”, “hubbub”; once admonishing us for an underwhelming response. It says in the Fringe programme blurb “it’s Legally Blonde meets Hot Fuzz”, I’d say it’s an Ealing Comedy updated to the 21st century meets Hot Fuzz. It is so well written, it’s sharp, witty, daft and playful. Ooo, what a way to start a day!

Next up Other People’s Teeth at an old favourite venue of mine, the Roman Eagle Lodge up behind the castle. Wow, intense and dark, the blackest of humour, unnervingly unpredictable characters. All three actors were great but Tom Claxton as Sol, jeez louise, I actually once knew someone very similar to Sol, Claxton had me rather unsettled at times. Another great production at a great little venue.

From there I had to do a fast trot over to C at Chamber Street for my next show, which unfortunately was then way up the stairs at +3, sheesh, was I warmed up! And in +3 there’s no chance of cooling down again! This is why it’s always important to grab a flyer to use as a fan. With Stand and Deliver it was back to lighter comedy and how! Great use of lighting effects, class choices of music (Tarantino-inspired, I’ll warrant), ambitious fighting scenes, well-timed comedic acting of an impeccable script; all made a fine production even finer.

Phew! After all that I did need some sunshine and cool breezes. On sauntering past the Gilded Balloon I noticed a pooch with enough room on his bed for another one, so I rested up a while, we chatted, he mentioned the chap in the seat was actually part of a Fringe show called Matt and Ollie Are … Dads! so we parted with me clutching a flyer. Enough of the fresh air – I went and bought a ticket to head once again down into the bowels of McEwan Hall (aka Underbelly, Bristo Square).

What a great day I was having, yet another cracker! A father and son are off on a trip and as they sit together the father tells father/son stories set throughout the ages, actually quite odd, dark, surreal tales, which turn out to be stories of their own family history. All delivered with natural wit and dark but daft deadpan humour. Four for four so far, I had one show left to see, would it measure up to the others…..

The last show wasn’t on until 22.45 at the Gilded Balloon; as I meandered up I bumped into Will Seaward doing his flyering bit for his midnight show, just time to hug and howyadoin. Then into the heat that is the Dining Room, umm, it’s warm in there and it was late, reasons why I may have closed my eyes a couple of times.

The Moa Show began with the writer/performer Jamie McCaskill just chatting with the audience before he sets the scene as the interior of a pub, The Junction, where we focus in on three drinkers, these three are magically transported (yeah, just go with it) to another place where they try to find a moa. Yes, moas are extinct, but hey, go with it (um, is the plural of moa moas or moa?) they, or at least Carl Michael believed in it. Carl Michael was my favourite of the characters all acted by McCaskill. Yes, it’s a one man surreal-as-hell play, but go with it! Think a gentler David Lynch in New Zealand, go with it and you will see a Kiwi fly, oh yes! Be warned, this show has a relaxed almost stoned vibe that carries you home, puts you to bed, and then the Moa takes over your dreams!!

Night, night, everybody, night, night!

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Stannah Stair Lift to heaven?!

 

 

The Mid Fringe Blues

Halfway through Fringe is Point Knackered, folk feel all fringed out, tired from never enough sleep, the flyerers don’t even try to summon up any enthusiasm, the flyered don’t even notice the flyerers anymore. Some shows with a full run can lose a bit of their sparkle in this dip. Maybe with awareness of this maudlin moment, many shows take a day off this week; this can catch folk out (me included), as one didn’t spot the one pale date in the middle of the run, this year 13th, 14th or 15th, and head expectantly to the venue only to be told, no show today!

Even I, looking through my possibility pieces, find my enthusiasm flagging, this is when more pieces get screwed up and flung in the general vicinity of the bin. Nothing I want to see is coming up at the Half Price Hut, gonna have to be more stringent in my planning, the Fringe Fund wallet doesn’t bulge anymore. This morning the HPH part of the Fringe app wasn’t even working, aaargh!!!

And then, something in the air changes….. it’s the second wind!

The app is back up running properly and three of my possibilities are at the HPH today!! Yay! Woohoo! No rain forecast today; Brendon Burns is over his tonsilitis; everywhere everyone will be picking up again, miraculously recharged and ready to take on the world, well, Edinburgh. Flyerers will be over enthusiastic and annoying again, yay!

So I shall have me a strong cup of coffee and head out to see some shows.

Toodle pip!

Who needs a good bear, when you have Camels?

Ok, so I mentioned in So long, farewell, ta-ra, toodle pip! three shows I’ve seen but hadn’t mentioned before, well, they’ve gone now anyway! Bloody good shows they were too!

What of all the other shows you’ve seen, Brucie, I hear you ask (mooses have very good hearing), and you said you’d tell us more about the early shows?! Yes, I know, but it’s hard in the madness that is Fringe to keep all one’s plates spinning. So I’ll press on and rundown my shows til I had to depart Edinburgh on my mission of mercy.

Preview Friday I managed six shows, yup, six, but that was from ten in the morning ’til one the following morning! The Shakespeare For Breakfast crew were on top form again!! I was surprised how many seats were left, hopefully they’re now selling out with their excellent modern twist on The Taming of The Shrew. A great start to my day!

Next up, new to me Camels, which excitingly was in part of the all-new singing, dancing underneath of McEwan Hall; very modern and entered via the blob thing in Teviot Square. Oo these chaps are good, recalling my Seeing double post from last year, this comedy duo make up for a lack of Goodbear this year! Tom Neenan’s: It’s Always Infinity was another corker from him (maybe not quite to the heights of last year’s Attenborough) it took a wee while to pull me in, but by the end, with the by-then obvious punchline in sight, the audience were all sitting cosily in the palm of Tom’s hand. What a piece of genius writing, long may he grace the Fringe with his wit and style! I did spot, though it took me a while, that the chap in the video clips was non other that David Reed from the Penny Dreadfuls (as is Thom Tuck).

Next up was a show in a big blue box, from Switzerland, umm, the humour just didn’t translate for me, and I’m going to leave that one at that. I recovered myself with a curry at the Mosque Kitchen for tea, first visit this Fringe and it won’t be the last; good, quick, tasty grub. I finished my day at the Gilded Balloon with first the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Superheroes, finishing with the wonderful Will Seaward now telling his ghostly tales in the Dining Room. The SFSPT:S was good but having seen plenty of trial bits previously on their Facebook page, I think some of the dumped bits were better. If you hadn’t seen them, then the show is perfectly fine with plenty of laughs and groans, and some rather obscurer fanboy jokes. Then the clock struck twelve and it was Will Time!! Nuff said really, another late hour of terrifying tales and howling horrors but in a bigger room this year!

And then it was home to bed! Well, it’s time for me to maybe venture oot into the rain. It’s been chucking down all day, hence my catching up here. Time to book a few more shows, methinks.

Toodle pip!

Oh, those Russians!

If you’ve recently checked oot my Facebook doings (I’m Bruce T Moose, being proper, like) you’ll know the world just shrank a teensy bit more, when I was accosted by a gent flyering his show which also stars our mutual friend Will Seaward! Only very a unusual, warped intellect could have devised this show, I suspect over a jar or two in some drinking establishment! Why do a straightforward play? Why not bring in the contrariness of chance to keep the actors on their toes? Improv with a difference – a roulette wheel!

Russian Roulette is just that, a Russian play of chance; the first choice is between writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, twas Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the evening I went. Some victim from the audience becomes the croupier and whenever the bell sounds (apparently set up earlier using randomly picked times) he/she spins the wheel and calls out the number. We, the audience, had numbered lists to check and yell out (well those with the eyesight to read small print in semi-darkness,  I’d forgotten my reading glasses), cryptic instructions like “Borscht Surprise”, “Russian Dolls” or “I’m Stuffed”. Will and his co-host would explain what each meant and the actors had to incorporate it into the play. Hence, poor Princess Kitty spent a long while unable to move as she became stuffed! “Beard Ban” was tricky for two of the cast, did I mention there were penalties for failure!? This was obviously set up by some devious, dastardly mind who wouldn’t be actually caught up in this play of chance themselves! Will?!

Whilst thoroughly enjoying the fun I noticed some of the cast looked somehow familiar, I also noticed that every seat had a flyer for A Midsummer Night’s Droll, yeah, I completely failed to spot the connection – I’d seen their show Droll last year! (another smidgeon off the earth’s girth) At the end of a very entertaining hour, everyone did the usual plugging of their other shows, only then did I twig! And, being a moose of limited means, I went off to purchase a ticket for their last £10 show, at 10.05 in the morning!

If you like some fun with your Shakespeare and some top-notch comic acting to go with it, then I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. Yes, I know it breaks one of my rules, never recommend just say you liked it, but I fail to see how anyone who matches the aforementioned criteria could not love this show!!! Oh, and I noticed Princess Kitty in the audience looking charmingly unstuffed!

So that’s Russian Roulette at Just the Tonic: La Belle Angele and A Midsummer Night’s Droll at theSpace on the Mile. If you want to see a little culture this Fringe !  😊 🎭

So long, farewell, ta-ra, toodle pip!

No! Not me! I’m still here! Many shows only come for one week, so now just as the party is really getting going, some are packing up and leaving us. Nevertheless, their flyerers were out yesterday, desperately drumming up one last audience. I bumped into the delightful pair from Uke Belong To Me on the Royal Mile still flyering only an hour before their final show and Stiffs were about; saw them on Friday evening, a great two-hander, I except to see more of those young chaps in the future.

The Aspirations of Daise Morrow finishes today; a beautiful production with live music, served up with brash aussie humour and pathos. It’s a shame that the heavens have opened and today all day is forecast wet, wet, and more wet! Yup, at the realisation that the boys of the Ukulele Death Squad are soon to depart us, the Edinburgh skies are already sobbing. One last soldout show at Leith Depot tonight and before that something at the Book Festival, that’s gonna be soggy, guys! I saw them last night for their soldout Assembly show, awesome, just one thing could have made it better, if we’d been able to get up and dance (more on that later). I’d set myself up nicely by nipping into the Cowshed on the Cowgate to catch Logan’s Close set earlier on, the place was jumpin’!

Let’s hope the skies cheer up soon, after all, tomorrow is another week! New shows will take the slots vacated. So it’s goodbye from them and hello to them others 😆

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We’re doomed!

No we’re not really, but yours truly has been asked to don his suit of armour and gallop to the rescue. This means for the third time in twenty three years I’ll be away from Edinburgh in August for a few days 😕. Incommunicado. Undercover. Stealth mode.

I shall be back once I done daring deeds and slashed my buckle!

Toodle pip!

Antipodeans at Large

Just looked up antipodes in my dictionary, it said “places diametrically opposite (to each other), esp. Australasia as region on opposite side of earth to Europe.” Hmmm, so technically we’re antipodean to someone living in Auckland or Melbourne. It’s just that we stuck in on Australasia first, or they bagsied the word. Personally I think it’s a great word, an-tipo-des, it trips off the tongue.

But why did you need to look it up, Bruce, didn’t you know what it means? Yes, but I wanted to be sure, words can be such tricksy things. Like on that last paragraph I was going to continue the sentence on “and it evokes” but the words of what it evokes escaped me! There is evoking going on it’s just indescribable for a moose.

I have a slightly better chance of describing how good the Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds were this afternoon, awesome! And not just great singing, the storyline was a slow reveal as we learnt more about the characters, their current situation and their truths. Yes, the truth will set you free (very important to the show) but, as shown it can be hard to admit and own. Some thought-provoking stuff going on, all delivered with that wry, no-nonsense antipodean humour. So if you have a mid afternoon free, you could do a helluva lot worse!

And while I’m on antipodeans, I’m sooo looking forward to seeing the Ukulele Death Squad this evening. Also from Oz, The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is on at the Assembly George Square Gardens in the wonderful Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete, but be warned, it’s after lunch, in a warm tent, beautiful soothing live music and lazy aussie drawls. Yeah, do go see it but have a coffee first! And have I mentioned how delightful Felicity Ward was?

Oo yeah, badges, to misquote Blazing Saddles “we DO need stinkin’ badges”, extra points to shows with free badges at the end. For a few years plenty of shows were giving out badges,  not so many now. Yay, to Tom Neenan and the Modern Maori Quartet for having badges, my only two so far.

Well it’s nearly time for me to trot down Leith Walk to see the Squad. This fringing and blogging thing is tricky, I want to tell you about all the brilliant stuff going on here – but I’m too busy out enjoying it!!

Toodle pip!

 

 

A work in progress

Goodness me, how time flies when you’re having fun! Just have time to give you a quick rundown of shows so far – before I have to run back up to the Gilded Balloon for another one.

First night, top show was Russell Howard: Work in Progress what a lovely lad still and blimey it was 2007 when I last saw him at the Fringe, before all the fame on the telly. In second place comes Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead, more on this show later, but if you like the film Evil Dead II and old Elvis songs, go see it! In third place on the first night, sorry guys, The Pin: Backstage. It was still very good 4☆, but at times it felt a teensy bit lame which was a shame because most of it chugged along fine with brilliant flashes from time to time.

Thursday I managed four shows. No obvious order of brilliance here, Games by Henry Naylor was more of his usual, minimal stage, thought-provoking, powerful female performances – go, watch, learn. Belly of a Drunken Piano at the Assembly Rooms, if you like Tom Waites you’ll love it, if you don’t you won’t. My highlight was Martha, it’s so long since I played it. Next up Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut, a bundle of neurotic joy! One of my favourite Aussies. To finish the evening with a bang Thrones! The Musical!  Definitely more on that later!

And that’s only up to last night! There’s another five I’ve seen so far today, and two more to come!!

Onwards and upwards!

Bruce 💘 Lily

Yes, Lily James has stolen my heart! Ok, so I’ve had a yen for her since Downton Abbey and then War & Peace. I’d heard Chris Evans on Radio 2 wax lyrical about her performance in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again! but yeah, crikey, and some. Her joie de vivre, the bonniest of smiles, and I think she may have had tips from her timelord boyfriend on how to fit an amazing wardrobe into one small suitcase! He’s one lucky guy that Matt Smith, but as he is the second best Doctor in the new run (yes, David Tennant beats him by a gnat’s crotchet) I reckon he’s worthy. I thoroughly enjoyed them both in the film of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. And her with wotsisname from GoT in Branagh’s Romeo & Juliet in 2016!! Talk about the passion, baby! Oo, and there was Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, I really should watch that again sometime soon.

So yes, I did go to see Mama Mia! Here We Go Again! I may well go see it again depending on how long it stays around, but I reckon that could be some while yet. The casting of all the younger parts was good, but especially the girls, they really captured the essences of their older selves. Omid Djalili, an old Fringe favourite, was in his typical bit part (he’s the ticket guy at the pier). Dominic Cooper again was sadly underused but, well, it wasn’t his film to shine, and he’s just there as part of the eye-candy.

The only part that didn’t work for me was Cher as Donna’s mother. She really wasn’t much good – apart from the singing, ok that was a bit awesome. It was like some executive wanted to throw in a big wow factor and decided Cher was it. The film didn’t need her, you could edit out all references to her character and the film would still work perfectly fine. Sorry but I just felt she was incongruous to the rest of the film.

The final big musical number with all the main cast in Abba gear was wonderful, and didn’t they all sing amazingly – apart from Pierce Brosnan, again!

After that, home to beans on toast and Gotham. Man, that is so fine! After Gotham on E4 is Supernatural, a show that’s been going a long time now. Never saw earlier series but since it’s followed Gotham I’ve vaguely watched it, well the tv’s still on, but OMG tonight’s episode!!! Farscape went Looney tunes, Angel went muppet, tonight Supernatural joined the Scooby gang! Yay!!

All in all, this has been a rather good evening, even if it is finishing rather later than I intended.

Nitey nite, everybody, nitey nite  x

 

You should go see Incredibles too!

Just in from seeing Incredibles 2, wow, that was sooo good! Brad Bird is a genius! Tomorrow I’ll do Mama Mia 2 straight from work, see I’m getting in the film-going now before the Fringe starts on Wednesday. Nothing wrong with a bit of Abba – I’ll balance it up with some AC/DC in the car afterwards 😎

There’s pockets of frenzied activity around the town and bright young things wearing lanyards are buzzing everywhere. Posters adorn walls, fences, railings, lampposts. It’s nearly here!! The Death Squad are on their way, apparently by boat according to Facebook. By this time next week I’ll have seen nineteen shows, yay!

I will be putting photos n stuff on Facebook, just look for Bruce T Moose (the T is for Theo, bet you thought it was The, didn’t you?)

Here’s to a great August, I hope you all wherever you may be have as good a month as I intend to have   💛

TTFN