A walk on the fringe side

Last night walking through the Cowgate, Fringe posters everywhere, I got to pondering if someone was trying to remember a recommendation …. “I remember it’s John, yes definitely John, the surname was something like Roberts, or possibly Robertson? What’s that? John-Luke? Oo, not sure, the guy said he was very good. Huh? Roberts? No, I think it was Robertson. Well, they’re both comedians, how different will they be?” Well, sir, they are very different, just like porters and golden ales are both beers but one style is bogging whilst the other is rather nice; pick the wrong one and the result may leave a rather unpleasant taste! Personally, of course, I enjoy both Roberts and Robertson but I don’t like porters.

Earlier today after seeing Scary Story at Paradise in the Vault I headed home the roundabout way down the Royal Mile, now the last chance saloon for flyerers desperately trying to drum up one last audience. Also walking along was one of the silent disco walking tours, yeah right, silent?! They dance around singing loudly and badly to the amusement/annoyance of other pedestrians. Today I happened to catch their rendition of Sheena Easton’s 9 to 5, damn them, it’s still in my head! And I remember all the words, oh the shame!

Let’s make it a threesome, yesterday afternoon heading from the Gilded Balloon up the Royal Mile I happened upon a chap typing up instant poetry on the street. Ho, I thought, never had a poem written just for me, so I commissioned him to tap something out. Him was Ben, a lovely American chap who’d seen it done in New Orleans and decided to give it a whirl himself. We had a lovely chat, enjoying the late afternoon sun as the world passed by. Here’s his endeavours, a new treasure to add to my Fringe Box.

 

 

 

 

Guilty pleasures

Yesterday afternoon I indulged myself with an hour of class, intelligence and charm – I went to Benet Brandreth’s show. Ye gads, he has charisma in spades, but, and this is a big but, he looks and sounds so like his father!! How can I have a moosecrush on someone who looks and sounds like Gyles Brandreth? I do find Brandreth Snr entertaining and amusing but Junior is something else. Bud and I went to his first Fringe show back in 2011 for a laugh, we came out swooning and disturbed, Gyles Brandreth’s son! So wrong it’s right. I shall be reminded of him every time I see a ramekin from now on.

Not quite such a guilty pleasure is Brendon Burns, this year Mansplainin’ at Heroes@Boteco, a Pay What You Want show though when I went most folk had bought tickets in advance to be sure of getting in. Why do I feel any guilt about Burnsy? It’s when people politely enquire how my Fringe is going (out of something to say and obviously not any genuine interest) I can say how bloody brilliant he is, what a great show, and then hope they’ll go along – I spoke the truth but omitted that he probably wouldn’t be their cup of tea! He’s definitely not for everyone, someone yelling “Anal!” repeatedly in your face, he’s an acquired taste. And I’d say Burnsy has mellowed out a bit, not so John Robertson.

John Robertson has been having a Sweaty, Sexy Party Party this year at Just the Tonic at The Tron, another PWYW show. This year he came aided and abetted by the stony-faced Dr Blue on guitar (when the good Doctor actually cracked a smile and laughed at something, JR was like all his christmases had come at once, obviously this was a rare occurrence). His opening number The Sadomasochism Blues set the scene, and boy, he can sing the blues rather well, even when improvising, which he does whenever an inspiration appears, like how polite we were about him just helping himself to other people’s drinks (he can really chug a beer down!)

I think what I find so appealing about JR is how I feel like I’m peeping into a world I find scary and alien, but it’s only a peep and afterwards it’s like an unnerving but hysterically funny dream. A dream that includes margerine-coated koalas sliding down trees!!

Toodle pip! Sweet dreams!

 

 

The loveliest man on the Fringe

This award I would give to Aidan Goatley, he really is a lovely chap. I first saw him doing his show Ten Films With My Dad at the Voodoo Rooms in 2013. Since then there’s been The Joys of Retail, Mr Blue SkyThe Year of the Goat and this year’s Aidan Goatley is the Vicar’s Husband. Each year he has still also done Ten Films… which I love, it probably helps being a similar generation so the films are very much part of my own cultural references.

There was just one fairly obscure old black and white war film, with a young Thora Hird, that I didn’t know; I took a friend to see the show last year (any excuse to go back again) and she creased up in hysterics as she immediately recognised the film because of the young Thora Hird. On thinking, that same friend also almost ended herself at Year of the Goat when Aidan was slagging off his wife’s hometown, it only turned out to my friend’s hometown too! (she did agree with him)

You will have never seen a rant ranted as politely and so Britishly as Aidan Goatley rants, and I do find myself nodding and in fits of giggling agreement, for example, “street food” – if it’s indoors how can it be “street food”??! Totally with him on that one, a little favourite rant of my own in the last year or two. Oo, and Avatar, don’t get me started!! It’s wonderful to hear someone able to put voice to my own rants with so much eloquence.

I went to see this year’s new show The Vicar’s Husband  at Sweet Grassmarket and thoroughly enjoyed it, and not just because it’s in an air-conditioned room! That, of course, is a bonus, but on the other hand Ciao Roma did have the most sumptious ice cream to aid cooling. This year Aidan is also doing a few Ten Films … as podcasts with a different guest each time to chat about films, but sadly it’s also the last year he’s going to do Ten Films… So for one night only he’s doing Ten Films With You Pricks a look back at some of the horror stories of his time performing it. I have kinda mapped out my last few days of Fringe but, oo, I may have to work some jiggery-pokery to fit it in.

So if you happen to read this in Edinburgh before 25th August 2018, you still have a chance to see one of my favourite ever shows!

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It’s galloping away now!

Aaand that’s another week gone! Oh no, only eight more days to go! Today was grey and miserable right through. I don’t think the drizzle has let up once.Yesterday evening it began and by the time I headed home from my last show it was pelting down, rivers were swamping the gutters. Ok, so that was at quarter to three in the morning!

And where you may wonder was I ’til such an hour? At the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, ACMS for short. Never heard of it nevermind been before, but as this year I’ve determined to try to see more late night shows, I fancied giving it a go. Well, it does have Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts as co-hosts and I knew the weather forecast was crap for today so no need to leap out of bed; also, I mentioned it to Will Seaward and he obviously loves it, it seems to be something of an institution. Will mentioned about “permitted heckles,” huh? Oh yes, a list of the permitted heckles is on each seat.

ACMS is long from five to midnight to supposedly half two, but apparently more like as not three o’clock, thankfully there are two intervals for people to get some air and refreshment (it truly is mentally hot in the Monkey Barrel). So I’d been made aware this was an odd show – oh yes, absurd from beginning to end, with a particularly absurd piece by Tim Fitzhigham! What a joy to see him again. Thom Tuck was a delight, as was the poor chap who stood in for an absent John-Luke Roberts, no idea who he was, but lovely boy. They fair kept the pace going as there were quite a few acts to get through, no wonder it usually overruns!

Most of the crowd were obvious regulars, at only £7 it’s a great place to finish a day off with some fun and nonsense. If you do have a late night spare, it’s definitely an alternative worth considering if you fancy something alternative! Not everyone stayed to the end, after each interval a few had headed home, but at £7 even just staying an hour it’s worth it.

Just be sure you’ve nothing planned for the following  morning!

Toodle pip!

 

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!