Just a quickie! Matron!

The trouble with Fringing is finding time to tell you about it, so I’m stealing some sleep time to mention a few highlights so far. Crikey, I need a fan on here, it’s a warm humid night after a warm humid day with the odd monsoon shower thrown in.

Shakespeare for Breakfast are on top form again this year, they’re so good and the writing is very witty and sharp, loved it. Goodbear and Sleeping Trees both 5☆ but I think Goodbear can have a + too (my scoring my rules).

Laser Kiwi, yay , brilliantly bonkers, incredibly bendy and I ❤ Imogen. And from Australia comes Echoes of Villers-Bretonneux, written and directed by Shane Palmer; I saw him in full gear flyering on the Mile, well, I do like a man in uniform so I was persuaded! Poignant and understated, quite moving.

The Shark Is Broken is directed by Guy Masterton, so of course it’s great, and fan of Jaws will love it. And last but definitely not least, I’m not long in from Nick Helm’s I Think You Stink, which I utterly and thoroughly loved. If you’re a fan of Rocky Horror then this is for you; great songs, great cast (including Rob Kemp, yay) and bubble wrap!!

Nightly night, sleep tight.

And so it begins……

Well, yesterday, it did and I reckon it’s gonna be seriously busy this year. People everywhere, new road closures in the old town, flyerers already out in force, monsoon rains intermingled with balmy blue skies, my first meringue David O’Doherty, eggs benedict. August in Edinburgh!

The Phoenix, Bear and Monster were great for starters last night. If there was a quota on swearing in shows I think Nick Helm will have put the number of c**ts still available well down with just his first preview. Maybe he thought there’d be some spare with Brendon Burns not being up this year! Still as shouty as ever, belting out songs Lemmy style, but, oh my, his butt – clad in the tiniest gold sequin shorts!! There is still work to be done, like learning all his lyrics, but you know his message at the end was quite on the mark; like an episode of South Park, offensive, funny and actually quite insightful.

Ben Pope and Alice Snedden were new to me, appearing in the Pleasance’s Bunkers Two and One. Be warned Bunker Two gets extremely warm before the hour is up, be sure to have something to drink with you. I was unsure of Ben Pope to begin with, he was amusing but it somehow lacked, then it seemed bright sparks of wit would leap out randomly which to me showed more of his personality and I liked what I saw. Ben, less doing of the routine, more of you, please.

Alice Snedden truly is a monster, very funny with it, mind. I’m not particularly believing of astrology either, but she is such a Leo! And her accent is so strong, I loved just listening to it, but some folk may find parts tricky to decipher; if you thought Australians and New Zealanders sound the same, you’ll learn otherwise here, along with plenty about Alice, she’s not shy on the subject – typical bloody Leo!

Now how do I put it in my phone calendar?

Yay! Today those lovely people at Assembly finally announced that their Edinburgh Locals £5 Tickets offer was back on again this year. I wasted no time in re-checking my cuttings and making a decision which six to go for (there’s a maximum of six and up to the end of the first Sunday night). I quickly got it down to nine, but which other three to drop? Ummm.

As it’s his final tour ever (so he says), Stewart Francis: Into the Punset would have been a definite contender but that 8pm timeslot knackers up so many other shows so no; plus he’s doing a full run and is on the Friends of the Fringe 241 list, so I may get to see him later with a chum. Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds was a thought. Yes, I saw it last year but it is really good – and at only a fiver! On the other hand my cuz may pop up for a few days and he’d love them, and I’m already going to their Garage Party show.

Also dropped for now as it would be the wrong time of the Fringe, much more suited to be a final week show (no, I don’t know why, it just is) is the magnificently titled John-Luke Roberts: After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drop splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!!

So what has made it into my Fringe diary? The lovely Sarah Kendall with Sarah Kendall: Paper Planes, and it’s just occurred to me, yes, indeed, same time same venue as two years ago! Also from Oz The Long Pigs claiming to be “spine-tingling original theatre” showing at the Roxy, very few duds seen there. Staying antipodean, Laser Kiwi a surreal sketch circus troupe, at a fiver it’s worth a shot.

Fringe regular Guy Masterton is directing The Shark is Broken, apparently a true story set during the filming of Jaws (what else with that title?) It is at eleven on the Sunday morning which could be hard after Saturday night, but I’ll just have to force myself to go straight home after Nick Helm’s I Think, You Stink, a musical comedy horror at the Roxy. And finally those Silly Funny Boys the Sleeping Trees, I wonder if they know what it’s about yet?!

Ha, who needs 241 Monday and Tuesday? If I knew how to spell it, I’d spell a long, fruity, loud raspberry. Yeah, I’ll be well into my Fringe before they even come round (bitter? moi?)

Toodle pip!

 

So a phoenix, a bear and a monster walk into a bar….

Actually it’ll be myself going to the bar between shows 😊 Yes, the full Fringe programme is out! An intense first check through over three days, eighty two cuttings, several G&Ts and some of teeth gnashing later, I have bought my first batch of tickets: twelve previews and the Sleeping Trees’ Christmas Special. Yay!

First preview night this year will be Nick Helm: Phoenix From The Flames, Ben Pope: Dancing Bear, and Alice Snedden: Absolute Monster. Nicely spaced over the evening and not too late to bed afterwards. Nick Helm, just because! Ben Pope, umm, is it the bear thing? I have seen previous good reviews for him (and who didn’t smirk on seeing the  words pope and bear so close together?!).  Alice Snedden I know nothing about apart from the blurb in the programme but she’s a kiwi and that’s enough in my book to warrant a preview ticket.

20180825_171401And on kiwis, I’m off to the Modern Maori Quartet’s Garage Party on the Thursday night, looking forward to seeing them again (that’s yours truly with three quarters of them last year)

I don’t have a ticket yet for the wonderful Sarah Kendall, but as her previews are £8 I’m holding off in the hope that Assembly will do the locals’ tickets for a fiver thing again (just up to the end of the first weekend I think). There’s another five or six shows in that particular queue; if Assembly don’t come through for me they’ll all go into my Half Price Hut hopefuls pile.

The Sleeping Trees: Christmas Special is just on for one night so I had to, had to, had to get a ticket! Well, actually I got two, the show has the Fringe Friends’ 241 offer on it, so at £15 for one ticket (yikes), it made sense to get the second ticket – I’ll sort out a chum to chum me later.

Oo, I’m starting to get a bit excited now. Only fifty days to go!

Sweet dreams!

 

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!

20180817_104817

Stannah Stair Lift to heaven?!

 

 

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!