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!

 

 

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!

First night at the Fringe

It’s quite late now, but hey, I only have work in the morning. Just thought I’d jot down a few words about the previews I saw today. Silly, enjoyable, outrageous, Jimicaw, hot, unpolished, entertaining.

Tom Neenan: Attenborough is in Buttercup, a large box in the Medical School Quad. Silly, Jimicaw, entertaining and most definitely needs polishing, but that’s what previews are for, and as Tom has a rather endearing way about him, forgiven. You may be wondering was a Jimicaw is, a bloody good gag that’s what, along with Sample Text, no I’m not going to explain either. A special mention should go to his supporting actor Shutterstock (pretty certain that was his name), a great performance there. Yes, a few slipups today but utterly charming, this moose was well amused.

Next up were Brendon Burns and Craig Quartermaine in Race Off. This is in the Night Club at the Gilded Balloon, a strange room that doesn’t always work well, but it kinda suited them. After a quick recap of how they met (part of last year’s show), but this time with Craig’s perspective on it too, they then moved the story on, with the narrative ball being smoothly bounced between them. As usual Brendon wasn’t without a few tricks to try to unsettle and discomfort the audience, though some snares didn’t work quite as well as he’d hoped – plenty of us were obviously big fans and so savvy to how Burnsy works. And one thing he likes is a twist in the tail, another great ending played for and got. Not sure Craig will ever manage to show his angry face though, he’s enjoying himself way too much.

And lastly, Dan Antopolski has returned, so lovely to see him again, though I’m not that keen on that room, Studio Five at Assembly George Square, a little lecture theatre. Largely I really enjoyed the show but a few parts seemed to miss a bit, preview problems? Maybe. He speaks mainly about his marriage break up and his daughters, always good rich veins for material. I’ve always laughed at his stuff and this year was no exception.

The fingers on the clock are wagging at me for being up so late. Night all!

 

Rules are made to be broken

Last post I mentioned that I wait for the full Fringe programme to come out before taking a peek through, but last year I had to check out Susan Calman’s show (yes, had to). Well I’m tempted again thanks to my Saturday paper, which has a “best 40 shows to book in Edinburgh” feature. After a few years of doing his thang in the wilds of the Free Fringe (very successfully with no advertising other than the Fringe programme and in an obscure, tricky to find venue), Brendon Burns is back in a pay-to-enter venue, and he’s bringing his chum Craig Quatermaine with him.

This, for me, will be a great show, I say for me as Brendon is definitely not for everyone. For those unfamiliar with him, think of Adam Hills, well Burnsy is the antithesis of him. He’s uncouth, fairly unkempt and not for those of delicate dispositions. Love him! Though it wasn’t quite love at first sight, that first time was a preview show around 17 years ago at what is now the Roxy. My, I thought I was prepared for anything, not quite anything. I’ve always smirked at the word tramlines ever since.

And Craig Quartermaine? Great bloke, an indigenous Aussie, journalist turned comedian I think. Last year he turned up to be part of Brendon’s show and found himself with a Free Fringe show slot of his own. His quickly put together flyer was a pic of his face when he first heard there was a slot he could take due to a cancellation, he was a very happy man, big cheesy grin.

So, do I book a preview ticket early or wait? Nah, it’s fine, the fringe gods won’t let me miss out on this beaut.