Zombies, rats and hot tubs

First off a big WOOHOO!! and YAY!! for those Grubby Little Mitts who won an Amused Moose Award yesterday, brilliant news, well-deserved. Second, the Fringe is coming to an end, shows are starting to wind up (sniff!) and there are a few that I have neglected to mention how much I enjoyed them, in case anyone pays attention to what makes a moose smile. Here goes…

Aidan Goatley, the loveliest man on the Fringe is back with Aidan Goatley: Tenacious in ZOO Playground 1, a slightly out of the way venue to find but still very central. If you’ve seen Aidan before you’ll know what to expect, if you haven’t, like I said, he is a very lovely guy, you do not need to fear the front row (mind, he did demonstrate that without his glasses and a change of tone, with his size and tattoos he could come across as very menacing – and then he put the glasses back on, phew!). He always tells a great story, some older stories have come round again used as springboards into new material; he’s mentioned in previous shows that he started out in stand-up with the likes of Ramesh Ranganathan but Aidan’s not bitter, no, he’s bloody tenacious! ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Nathan Cassidy is back with two shows, one at City Cafe (PWYC) the other at the Three Sisters (Free). I saw Hot Tub God in City Cafe in a small square room, comfy seats around the walls and uncomfy seats in the centre – there was just enough room for what audience there was to fit around the sides – like we were all in a big hot tub. Another great storyteller, more bite, snarl and sex than Aidan, whatever type of storyteller you want they’re here at the Edinburgh Fringe! I haven’t seen his other show yet but on the strength of Hot Tub God, I may well visit the Three Sisters very soon. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This morning I finally saw a show at Paradise in the Vaults, one of my favourite Fringe venues, and happy to say, it was another belter (I’ve seen some great stuff in those Vaults over the years). It was in my to-see pile as soon as I saw it in the Fringe programme, Apocalypse Kernow; great venue, zombies, Cornish, comedy – what’s not to love? Absolutely nothing! So much funny and satirical content in one hour, the writing and performances are brilliant, turns out its father and son, both are so good in their many roles. Like all the best multi-character shows various soft toys played small parts (very well, too) and the ongoing Trago Mills worker’s updates of the situation were pitched perfectly. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enough Fringery, though this kinda is as bands don’t start playing at two in the morning in Binkies at any other time of year. The Scat Rats had told me in advance that they’d be playing Whistlebinkies on Wednesday night (just as well, a night that late requires a little forethought and Binkies made no mention of it til last minute), they did also mention the strong possibility of some level of inebriation, okay, it’s Fringe, it’ll be very late, a few drinks in would be perfectly reasonable to expect.

Back in March I wrote It’s going to be a special night a direct quote from Mr Marah the night Logan’s Close played the Running Horse in Nottingham (click on it, it should link to my post). Wednesday night was another special night, only this time it was Scott’s turn as the soberer one! I was concerned when Carl first took to the stage and sat on his stool that he would stay on it, clearly instinct kicked in and he performed pretty well considering (oh yes, there’s a couple of clips on Instagram!) He coped pretty well with the ongoing technical problems, I felt sorry for the poor girl who was on sound that night, she was doing so her best. It was indeed another fine fun performance through to around four, hugs all round and home to bed.

In other Fringe music news, did I mention the other day that Accordion Ryan had to cancel his show because his voice was suffering? Well, anyway, he did, it was. Poor guy had to cancel another two shows, but today he’s back up and running, yay! I won’t be seeing him tonight but I’ll definitely be there for his last show on Sunday (22:15 at The Counting House on West Nicholson Street), I reckon it’ll be banging!

Must go, need to eat. Toodle pip!

Spending time in Spaces

Yesterday I hit the hut, the Half Price Hut tickets, plus others just to get a good return for the overall £5 booking fee. In doing so I finally saw shows in theSpace venues, third week and I hadn’t been to any of them yet, unusual for me. I’ve noticed theSpace host a lot of small theatre companies, many that just come up for one week; so if it’s theatre at a reasonable price that you’re after, it’s a good place to check out.

TheSpace on North Bridge is on the first floor of the big hotel there, the big posh hotel, lovely staircase up, but somehow a building devoid of any, erm, emotion is not quite right, very airport lounge-y, very impersonal, a total lack of atmosphere (just my opinion, others may say differently). This does mean that the actors really need to be able to create their own atmosphere. Once Upon A Midnight Dreary certainly pile in on, a sumptuous musical play about Edgar Allan Poe, sadly it wasn’t quite to my palate. It was the Edgar Allan Poe element that attracted me (there’s always at least one production about Poe or his works at the Fringe every year). The music was very good, very fitting and the three performers all have great singing voices but the play itself just didn’t sit right with me, but any Poe fans, fans of the macabre should consider giving it go, especially if the tickets are on HPH offer.

In the evening I had back-to-back shows in Theatre 3 at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall. Be warned, Theatre 3 is a very warm room, warm enough to have your head nodding if you’ve recently had a large meal. First off, You’re Dead, Mate a dark comedy where Death has to process his latest client and send him to the Hereafter, but his client is, understandably, rather confused and disbelieving. This is the debut play of Edmund Morris with himself as Death and Harry Duff-Walker playing the recently deceased. It’s very funny and entertaining, a few poignant moments in there amid the laughs; for a first play I reckon he done good, not brilliant but sound and some great ideas. It would be interesting if Morris re-visited this in five years time, with tweaks from all his accumulated knowledge and experience this could be really something (yes, Morris has a future in theatre of that I have no doubt). ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Another young man with a bright future is Fraser Brown. After a brief step outside to gulp down some fresh, cool air it was back into Theatre 3 for It’s Fraser Brown, I’m Afraid. He comes across as a personable young chap who’s a tad anxious, or is that part of the act? No, I think his occasional apologies to his audience weren’t without basis in his true self, they may be in there as part of his routine but it would still be telling that he put them in. Brown has some wonderfully pitch-black comedy moments where a few cracked a laugh and others gasped or laughed like they shouldn’t be finding the funny. He seemed to take a while to relax into his stride, I felt he was trying to hard to be edgy, it came across just a bit uneven, disjointed; when he got in his groove he had a lighter touch and delivered the dark punches with more effect. Definitely one I’ll be keeping my eye on ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yesterday early evening I finally indulged myself with a HPH ticket to see Blueswater Presents: Blues! The 10th Anniversary Show in the Grand Theatre at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall. I know that I shouldn’t begrudge spending a bit more to see some top class blues but I’m a terrible moose and I do. Wow, though, this is a brilliant show, it’s the last year Blueswater will do this particular show, definitely worth seeing before it finishes on Saturday if you like the blues. Worth it just for Nicole Smit coming on and performing I’d Rather Go Blind, followed by a blindingly good rendition of The Wizard by Black Sabbath!

Yes, this show takes us for the beginnings of the blues (with just Nicole Smit and Felipe Schrieburg on stage singing John the Revelator – exquisite) right up to modern day. Members of the band came and went off stage as each number required, with Nicole adding to the mix occasionally; all the various Back Up Crew were there along with some brass on the side. Just have to mention The Wizard again, I don’t usually pay much attention to drummers but I do enjoy watching Simon Gibb and he was sooo good on this; and Jed Potts and Charlie Wild going nuts on guitar, awesome (oh, Ewan on bass and the harmonica player were great too, and Felipe on vocals). I am a bit tempted to go back for the final show.

Last but not least from yesterday, not in any Space, the Gilded Balloon Wine Bar instead, was Yippee Ki Yay and if you can’t guess what this show takes its name from it’s possibly not the show for you. If, however you are a fan of Die Hard, are not averse to some verse and like a slice of silly, this could be right up your street. Richard Marsh tells two stories side by side, one Die Hard the movie, the other of our narrator’s life having fallen in love with a fellow Die Hard fan. His Hans Gruber is priceless (with plenty of little Rickman and Potterverse quips); the proposal scene to the music from The Princess Bride, such a great little detail. So glad I decided to get around to seeing this romp ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The sun has finally decided to come out – it was very gray and wet before lunchtime. Must go out and get a few rays, maybe catch another show or two. It could be a late one tonight as I believe those Scat Rats are playing Binkies in the early hours, will I make it?

Toodle pip!

That’s another week ending

And that’s the second week of the Fringe drawing to a close; but it’s not quite over yet, my plan is, start writing this post, take a break to see Accordion Ryan, then come home all cheery and write the rest of it. Good flan, huh? Quite a number of shows will be finishing up tonight, there’s always one you’ve intended to get round to seeing only to realise it’s finished, packed up and gone home. There’s also a number in my cut-outs pile that I’ve kept looking at only to realise they weren’t on yet – well now they will be! Oh, and I must go see young stand-up Fraser Brown this week, every time I’ve bumped into him flyering I’ve said I will. He was at the Fringe last year and had a very successful run but I never saw him, my Fringe-Dar is reckoning he’ll be good.

Oo, Lucifer is on 5USA channel on the tellybox, from the first series. Yes, I’ve seen it a number of times now but hey, it’s Lucifer.

That’s where I had to dash out to get up to The Counting House to see Accordion Ryan. He’s such a sweet guy and smart, quite the multilingual too, from spending the last few years in a number of different countries and always making an effort to learn the language. Tonight he had in audience members from Denmark and Spain so sang songs in both languages, like so impressive. The dude exudes joy and harmony, though some of the songs he sings can cause outrage when he busks on the street. Ryan does write songs himself but this show is mainly, as the title says, Pop Bangers which he encourages his audience to sing along with him. Accordion Ryan is a ray of sunshine to brighten up the day ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Did I mention last time that I found out late on Friday night that Barry Ferns was to be back on Arthur’s Seat on Saturday? Did I go? Of course, I did, even though it was very windy with showers forecast (luckily they didn’t materialise but I was prepared in case); because it was so windy the show happened at the slightly lower level before the last climb up to the very top. Plenty of people turned up deliberately, a number of others stayed to watch as well and some would just walk across the “stage” bemused by us all.

that’s Barry Ferns squinting into the sun, trying to see his audience

As it was a one-off Barry had a few other comedians with him including John Hastings, who told a very funny story, involving Tim Fitzhigham, about the last night of a Fringe some years ago. I was very impressed that Nina Conti was up there, and over the moon when I got a photo with her on the way back down. Naturally I got a hug from Barry, it was so lovely to see him again! As he said it’s just about as fringey a Fringe show can be, sitting on a high hillside, magnificent view of the Forth and a man with a door frame, amp and mike with stand (the door frame is so that we can all enter the venue and pay into his bag when we leave, not exiting make cause existential problems later).

Its now much later than I thought it would be so I’ll end this here. I”ll pop a reel of Ryan and other Fringey pics on Instagram tomorrow.

Toodle pip!

Silliness, Inc.

Come on, moose, focus! No playing out in the sun ’til you’ve written up a few more reviews. Well, as I stuck that pic up of The Establishment poster form 2017 at the end of my last post, let’s start with them. Yesterday I caught up with Neil Frost’s and Dan Lees’ latest Fringe offerings. The Establishment may have disestablished itself but these two have plenty going on. I had already PWYC for Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, then just a couple of weeks ago I spotted that The Flop: A Band of Idiots was back (I failed to see it last year, yes failed, I did try hard) at Banshee Labyrinth, yay.

Neil Frost is at the Blundabus, a fitting setting for such an anarchic silly sense of humour. It is a small venue and he will talk to you wherever you choose to sit, but he’s very lovely and friendly so don’t let that put you off seeing this delightful show. You may wonder five minutes in what the show’s title is about, he’s still on his first riff dressed up like a scary psycho mouse, it’s actually a bittersweet look back at parts of his childhood. Neil Frost is obviously around ten years younger than myself as he thought Timmy Mallet was great in the 80s, really, he wasn’t. The show is on at 8pm in the Blundabus, which is next to the Potterow underpass (its passed by all the time by folk going between the Old Town/ Cowgate area and the university area around Teviot); definitely worth pausing there for 45 minutes to recharge your funny bone ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots wasn’t listed in the Fringe programme (it is now in the online version) but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt these last few years it’s that the Absurdists like to keep folk on their toes, always check the free fringe stuff regularly, the silliest comedy is worth the hunt. The Flop are the other half of The Establishment, Dan Lees, a third of Privates Tom Curzon and Cammy Sinclair, three gents who can make you laugh just by standing still. What a wonderfully musical and cathartic hour! Again, some friendly audience interaction, the front row seats are not to be feared, embrace your inner child and have fun. Besides being rather good at physical comedy our trio are musicians also, Dan on electric guitar, Cammy on percussion and Tom on strings, yes, he’s brought his double bass along again and a violin. If you’re not grinning from ear to ear by the end of the show, well, there’s no hope for you, I’m afraid.⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots is the perfect follow-on to Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, and time for a beer or two in between. Be warned though, like last year this is going to get very popular so head to Banshee Labyrinth up to an hour before and pick up a token from the bar to ensure you’ll get in; they’ll appreciate it if you stay in there drinking but you can toddle back a while.

And while I’m talking silly, Grubby Little Mitts at Assembly George Square Studio 4 at 14:45 is very silly. Sullivan Brown is a lovely chap (Russian Roulette) and this year he’s up with a new show with Rosie Nicholls, obviously I was going to see it. Funny, subversive, charming, dark, daft; Sullivan does blustering magnificently and Rosie is marvellous, I like her, excellent character acting both of them, the two make a great team. The chaise longue plays its part well and doesn’t seem to mind being pushed and nudged around, I wonder did it come up with them or did they audition local chaise longue for the part? Oh, and this show may make you think twice before ordering a coffee anywhere later. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now where’s my sunblock?

Toodle pip!

Twenty One Returns

That is to say, there are a number of shows that did make the effort to come to Edinburgh last year, that are back again, some did come as WIPs (Work In Progress) in ’21 so there will be changes to them. I’m excited to see Rob Kemp: Agenda in a couple of days, that was excellent last year, I wonder if I’ll spot the changes. All three Privates are back with last year’s shows, alas, again no actual Privates show even though they do have a new show Great Ideas by Geniuses, which was premiered at the Brighton Fringe earlier this year.

Due to extremely popular demand last year I didn’t get to see Tom Curzon in The Flop: A Band of Idiots but this year I’m determined (he was in another show last year which I did see but thats not being repeated). Luke Rollason and Christian Brighty were both at Monkey Barrel last year so I was able to get tickets in advance to ensure seeing them. Christian has moved over to the Pleasance Courtyard (Below), let’s start with him.

Christian Brighty: Playboy is a brilliantly silly show with plenty of bawdy Carry On style humour. One obvious change from last year – no bows and arrows left on any seats for the audience to fire at him, shame! At least in Pleasance Below there’s quite a gradient up to the tech desk, so the avian messengers had easier downward flights to the stage. Pingback back time, if it works, see last year it was A win by a gnat’s crochet for young Brighty (click on the highlighted bit to see last year’s review), could he do it again?

Well I’m pretty damn certain there was no talking armchair in Luke Rollason: Bowerbird last year! It even has a wee segment to itself when it invited someone to sit on it (the guy at the front wouldn’t, nothing would persuade him, Brighty boy was in the audience and obliged the armchair), then Luke reappeared, kind of like those little odd bits in The Young Ones, remember them?! I did think he spoke more this year, as I previously noted that it seemed almost weird when he did talk. I’ve checked and my review from last year still stands, he is A barrelful of funny. Another pingback there, do let me know if they’re not working.

But which one won the battle of the Privates this year? Oo, gonna have to say Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (and that’s not just because he had badges at the end!). Mind, if you go to either of these shows and enjoy it, then do check out the other.

This evening I trotted up to Cabaret Voltaire to see Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines last year it was Philosophy Pig – a man who doesn’t stray far from his favourite subject! Another interesting and entertaining show, oh, he did get in a mention about Andrew Nagel and his book again (well, I do recall his liking for bats). Last year Philosophy Pig did very well with plenty full audiences, mind that was a smaller room, but I’d say go for the Pay What You Can in advance option, this chap could get very popular again!

I’ll put this up I’ve seen some things, you know as it has my review of Alex Farrow: Philosophy Pig in it along with my reviews of The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Stand-Up Philosophy which are both back again. I’ve noticed that the company that put on Embassy Stomp are back again, hmmm. And John-Luke Roberts’ show was my favourite at that point of the Fringe. Ah well, it’s very late, to bed!

Move over Lionel Ritchie, it’s Bea Arthur’s Seat now!

Hello you, I’m ba-ack, the moose is in the hoose. All my travel bits have been sorted, cleaned and put away, time to play! And yay, tonight sees the Scat Rats back at Stramash. Oh yeah, I realised some time after I wrote the last post that I hadn’t mentioned seeing the Scat Rats before, how remiss of me. A few weeks ago I popped into Stramash on my way to the cinema as I had some time to kill, some band called the Scat Rats were playing. Well, blow me down, it was Carl Marah and Scott Rough from Logan’s Close! Needless to say, I never made it to the cinema that evening, it was well after nine when the lads finished their second set. Just the two of them on acoustic guitars playing mainly covers and a few of their own. Oo, they played Babe Station, love that song, gonna have to go back and check it out on the Limbic TV gig, has it altered since then?

I’ve been back since Wednesday evening, just before six. I know it was just before six because I made a brew, grabbed some digestives and put the telly on just in time for Richard Osman’s House of Games. What a lovely surprise and long time no see, Andy Hamilton is on it this week (he’s doing rather well). He’s a very clever and very funny man; he’s created, written and directed comedies on radio and tv, he acts, writes novels and is known for appearing on radio and tv game shows. Apparently he still appears on The News Quiz on Radio 4, I don’t bother with it any more, gave up on it a few years years ago. For me, the Simon Hoggart years were the best, when Andy was on it regularly with the likes of Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy and Alan Coren (them were the days!).

Googling Andy Hamilton, I’ve discovered that he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 1970s going on to being a scriptwriter for tv comedies and radio. He’s been responsible for creating some great comedy – Drop the Dead Donkey in the 90s (essential viewing at the time), Outnumbered (out of the mouths of babies, nuff said), Old Harry’s Game on Radio 4 ( it did tail off in the later series) oh, and the wonderful film What We Did On Our Holiday. Bud and I saw him at the Fringe in 2009, he did one night at the Queen’s Hall, Andy Hamilton’s Hat of Doom. The review in my fringe diary reads “Good, sharp, but not really brilliant like we wanted. ☆☆☆☆”

If Andy wins tonight’s ROHOG he’s won the trophy for the week, he may well still win it if he comes second. I want him to win, he deserves it just for getting the answer Bea Arthur’s Seat in the Answer Smash round. Speaking of the Seat, I must go out and stretch my little legs.

Toodle pip!

And so ends another Fringe

I’m happy to report that my Fringe did end well, though it did look doubtful for a while that I’d get to see one final show. I went up the Three (Free) Sisters a good twenty minutes early, a few folk were scattered around outside the gate, just a few seemed to be In a definite little queue, ah yes, they wanted to see Darius Davies: Don’t Be Shit but hadn’t got tickets either; I tagged on to them. The guardian at the gate, a woman not to be trifled with, yelled “Anyone with tickets for the next show? Anyone?” about half a dozen stepped forward, damn. Every three of four minutes she’d yell out again and more would realise she was meaning them and so got to enter, mind the queue was still growing all the time.

Ten past nine came and went but we all assumed it must be running late as there was no shout that no-one without a ticket was getting in, and none of us were walking away at this point, just on principle! Yes, just after quarter past nine we started to trickle in, the others in front were all heading to the the bar first but I made straight for the door at the back on the right as instructed. Yikes, there weren’t many seats left but I managed to nab one, which luckily had a shortarse in the seat in front, yay!

The lights dimmed and the star of the show announced himself before running on to the stage to great applause. Five minutes in, as he was telling us how bad Croydon is, I realised I had heard this spiel about Croydon before. Where? Ahha, Joke Thieves at the Counting House. Tonight’s show was apparently a Best Bits of what he’s done so far – apparently so far is over ten years!

It was a great show, very funny though at times not really my cup of tea; nothing bad, just maybe a bit antagonistic for me, hey ho. He is a good storyteller, the suited guy on the bus tale and later recall to it were well executed for maximum effect. A word of warning, trying to leave a Darius Davies show early unseen is impossible, no matter how sneaky you try to be, those piercing eyes will target you and his disapproval will be fierce! Oh, and his final punchline had me laughing most of my way home, nice one.

Good night, sweet dreams!

Some bad news, sad news, good news and reviews

Godammit! I was too late to get a ticket to see The Flop: A Band of Idiots tonight! There’s now a highlighted note on my Fringe calendar to be outside the Banshee Labyrinth ten minutes before the hour before tomorrow evening. The sad news is Barry Ferns has cancelled his Arthur’s Seat shows, I was perusing what was on today as I breakfasted and spotted it; good to know, but as it was already it in my head that I’d be ascending the Seat I decided to head up anyway. It was a good day for it – warm but overcast with a pleasant breeze.

Good news, the lovely Tim Fitzhigham is doing a show (a as in just one) at the Pleasance Courtyard Cabaret Bar and I have a ticket for it, huzzah! It’s not listed in the Fringe programme (well, not as yet), I happened to be looking at something else on the Pleasance website, then of course, I fell down the rabbit hole, at least it wasn’t another waste of time!

This year’s Fringe has been odd for trying to keep up with all the updates, no doubt at some point I’ll find out that I missed something I would have dearly loved to have seen. The Free Festival announced today that they have added a significant number of extra shows, extended the run a day to end on the 30th and earlier this week added a new venue at Bar 50. Things are obviously going very well for them, yay! And speaking of updates, there’s four shows I’ve seen but not mentioned yet, so, in chronological order this time (it would be hard to call between three of them).

I saw A Highly Suspect Murder Mystery in theSpace @ Symposium Hall. Umm, it was fun but the interactive part of it worked better for some than others. They had printed sheets for audience members who couldn’t access the clues and stuff that were online (new phone, me, I joined up with two ladies next to me). There were a few questions to ponder and solve, and plenty of interacting with the characters between their set pieces. Interestingly, the set-up had Dr Watson, a few years after the death of his wife and Holmes (almost deja vu!), he’s moved back into Baker Street; Mrs Hudson, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes are with him trying to solve the mystery – but could one of them be a killer?!

We had to figure out the how & why for not one but two murders! I was very impressed when one of the ladies next to me seemed to quite easily spot one of the how’s, it really was not obvious at all. I did enjoy the show, the actors stayed in character well. They could have had something telling us where to go online before the show began to save some time (many folk had turned their phones off what with being in a theatre!)

Next up, Joke Thieves at the Counting House, so a PWYC show, I’d already done that online to get a ticket. This year a lot of folk are booking and paying in advance for PWYC shows (Pay What You Can), there haven’t been many seats left for walk-in’s at the shows I’ve been to, so booking is a good idea (there are usually a few different prices you can choose from, just like you would choose what to give at the end of a free show).

Joke Thieves is an interesting concept hosted by Will Mars, four comedians perform their own jokes, then each others’. Will asked a member of the audience to pair up the comedians to show that nothing could have been rehearsed for the second part. Obviously every show will be completely different; some comedians may be meaner than others with the material they set their pairing up with; the second two of the second of the pairs (are you still with me here?) may want to retaliate somewhat for how the first two pairings of the second half have retold their jokes. I hadn’t really thought about it much before I went in, other than thinking it could be fun. It was! As I said every night will be different but its worth a punt.

Last night I saw Nathan Cassidy: Bumblebee in Bar 50. He’s been around the Fringe a number of years but I’ve never seen him before. Okay, so with the shortage of In Person shows, I decided to give him a shot and am pleased I did, he was really rather good; I would go and see him again next year. The pacing of the narrative was good, I enjoyed his delivery, and I would agree, Idris Elba is way hotter than Bradley Cooper.

So I didn’t see Barry Ferns today, but I did see Adele Cliff at 32 Below. She seems to be doing very well, extra shows added on for her. She’s rather sweet and so young! I did worry a bit if I’d just not be on the same level as her, like, what common areas could we possibly share? Well, there’s mothers who want to know everything, I feel her pain there. It was a light, entertaining hour in which she managed to confound many of my expectations. Nice one!

That’s it for another evening, I must away to my bed. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like to catch more reviews and other tales, I always post a link on Facebook, look up Bruce T Moose.

Toodle pip!

On top of the world! Well, Edinburgh.

It’s downhill all the way

After doing my civic duty yesterday, I skidaddled down the road to the old country (so much quicker going down the way, as my old dad used to say). First morning woke early, ye gods, frost! And I’d thought, what a waste of time, when I had to cover a multitude of young plants around the garden with various objects yesterday evening. Apparently it’s been back to wintery coldness down here recently, but now I’m here things are gonna get warmer and, rather annoyingly, wetter.

Hurrah, teatime viewing is Richard Osman’s House Of Games. Ha, back in the day mother banished the new colour telly to the sitting room and insisted we all sat at the table for meals – it still feels slightly devilish even now to eat tea watching the telly down here! ROHOG is rather good this week, I do like Samira Ahmed, she and Angela Rippon (isn’t she looking great) compliment each other well in the pairs round. Meanwhile at the far end Dom Joly has been rather a misery guts, doesn’t like losing, does he? And then there’s the stand-up comedian, the rather amiable and unassuming John Robins, he’s whupping Dom Joly’s ass in the final round each day (oh, I hope saying that doesn’t damn John’s performance today). On checking wikipedia last night, I see he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2007, winning the Comedy Award in 2017 for his show The Darkness of Robins – how does his name not register with me at all?! I’ll have to look through my Fringe programs when I get back home and see why Mr Robins has stayed below my fringedar.

Oh joys! John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme is back on Radio 4 on Thursday evenings, I was happy to have the kitchen to myself to listen while (while or whilst? Linguistics?) I did the washing up. Oo, I wonder if he’s ever been on ROHOG? With the unusual things he dreams up I bet he’d be rather good on it, though his quickness on the buzzer wouldn’t be stand-up fast. Finnemore v Neenan would be a good match, I reckon, let’s add in, erm, Carrie Quinlan and Alice Lowe. Okay, so I think about people I’d like to see competing on ROHOG, more about that another time.

By the time I return to Auld Reekie the dust will have settled after the parliamentary election. No doubt it’ll all be whirled up again soon enough with independence talks. Politics suck, why can’t folk just try to get along better? Vive la différence! Another thing that sucks is waiting to see how this year’s Fringe will pan out. Registrations have now opened for it but, as the vast majority of venues won’t be viable under current restrictions, it’ll be more the Online Fringe than the Edinburgh Fringe. Hey, at least that could be fairly international, I mean, from next year there could be fair less Creatives over from europe thanks to Brexit, and then, god knows what will happen when Scotland goes for independence?! And let’s not forget the new Scottish Hate Crime Bill thats been disturbing many with its potential new puritanism. At this rate 2019 may turn out to have been the last ever full-on Edinburgh Fringe!!

Oh dear, that went bad. I’ll pick the mood back up by leaving you with a pic of the blue haze of bluebells in the local woods. Toodle pip!

A bit of banter….

The weather’s been rotten today, it’s gonna be really rotten tomorrow, Thursday it’ll keep being rotten just not as windy as tomorrow. The forecast I saw earlier predicts heavy rain, lots of sleet and the odd bit of actual snow until next Tuesday morning, not a single segment showed a lack of any kind of precipitation ’til then. Welcome to February! This may be the time to finally break out the Breaking Bad box set.

I’ve been watching Staged sporadically over the last two weeks. I missed all of the first series last June, so had to catch up on that before watching the second, just out in January. I particularly wanted to see it as it is mainly David Tennant and Michael Sheen bickering with each other, well, they were the best thing about the TV production of Good Omens (from the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – him again). Staged is a product of the current crisis, it’s about this moment in time, all the restrictions on lives, everyone meeting online. I wonder what we’ll make of it in ten, twenty years time?

The premise is that David Tennant (my favourite of the modern Doctors) and Michael Sheen were due to do a play together in the West End, of course it’s on hold due to the pandemic, but the director Simon Evans decides they should press ahead with rehearsals via Zoom………. The three play exaggerated versions of themselves. As this is filmed from their homes their significant others (Georgia Tennant and Anna Lundberg) and Simon’s sister (Lucy Eaton whose house he’s living in) pop up too. The banter is just wonderful, the beards, the wild-eyed rants and angsty moments, spot on as life in lockdown mode. There is some riffing between Sheen and Tennant but it is mainly scripted by Simon Evans who also directs, stars and co-created it (not to be confused with the stand-up comedian Simon Evans, a Fringe regular).

That was just the first series, the second series isn’t just more of the same, oh no, they take it several notches further. The second series accepts that the first series was just that, a tv series, a successful tv series that Evans has been asked to remake for American television – without Tennant and Sheen! Naturally the two are not happy at this, especially when they’re asked to speak to potential new leads, cue a marvellous parade of guest stars including Jim Parsons and Christoph Waltz. While the second series is still very funny and enjoyable, I do prefer the first, it has a warm charm about it of two great friends just bantering.

Hmmm, if Covid isn’t brought to heel soon, if it keeps mutating and makes the current vaccines useless, will there be a third series of Staged? Just how meta could it get? It’s late, the heating gone off for the night, I need to get snuggly warm and sleep.

G’night, sleep tight. 💛