I need some beauty sleep!

Crikey, it’s way past bedtime, I’ve got work in the morning, oh and the neighbours have just started arguing, joys! Here’s me needing my bed and Will Seaward will have just begun his midnight show, Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories VI once again in the Dining Room at the Gilded Balloon Teviot. Yes, there’s more spooky shenanigans going on, and yay, there’s the return of Louloulou and her boyfriend (whose name escapes me just now) in one of the stories. This is definitely not a show for everyone, but if you like bonkers, daft, eloquently told yarns then it may just suit!

Oo yeah, last Friday night at 22.55 I saw The Slinks in Dexter at the Underbelly Bristo Square; a show sure to divide opinion and bewilder – I’m not what I witnessed but it was whimsical, disturbing, mesmerising, kooky. Hugo Hamlet’s voice was sublime, very much reminding me of early Lou Reed. I have a friend who would so totally love this show, alas I doubt she could ever manage to stay up so late, pity.

Also a pity was the lack of audience, there was myself, two others and a couple of staff sat in. I guess the late time slot and the fact that they’re not listed in the paper-form Fringe Programme, just on the online version, may be contributing factors. If you fancy a trip to another realm one night The Slinks can take you there!

Toodle pip!

 

Flyerers are our friends

Don’t laugh! Okay, so I refer to those flyering their own shows, those who put themselves up for rejection, ridicule and some downright rudeness. Have you ever actually tried to engage with one? And I don’t mean listening to their autospiel – that’s almost like a security blanket they can hide behind; smile and ask a question, there’s often a realignment pause as they realise you’re still standing there interacting with them. I’m not saying chat to every flyerer, crikey, the thought of it! Some shows you know are definitely not for your thing, but if something, anything, makes you smile or think, like the flyerer’s attire or manner, the glimpse you caught of the flyer, pause a moment.

I spotted him in a pretty authentic-looking WW1 uniform so 20190808_154012trotted over to find out more. He’s a personable chap, one Shane Palmer over from Melbourne, the performer and writer of Echoes Of Villers-Bretonneux, on at 3.10pm at Greenside@Nicolson Square (a venue I’ve never been to before so I had a little nosy around – nice cafe). So glad I did notice him as it was an excellent one man play, both in the conception and performance. The minimal set of a multi-use wooden pallet was great and I have to admit I didn’t know about puttees before; sure I’ve seen plenty of old pictures of men in army uniforms but didn’t realise the lower leg part was a long strip of cloth wound spirally around the calf. Just the detail of him putting them on and taking them off while recounting his story fascinated me.

Another chap in a hat, this time a woolly one with a furry bobble (the hat not him), flyering his own one man show Will Penswick: Nørdic(k) along with Mark & Haydn : Llaugh – a flyer has two sides, I admire the camaraderie and economy of this idea (both shows are at Just the Tonic at The Caves in Just The Wee One). I’m not hugely into Scandi noir but I do like it and thought a send-up of it could be fun. Oh yes, indeed! And he was going for full audience participation, well, there weren’t many of us at the performance, mind we were quite a bunch of oddities, and we were all up for embracing the moment.

Though, and here comes a mini-rant, some folk wandered in about twenty or so minutes after the start, wtf?! It’s one thing someone coming ten minutes late (which someone did) but over twenty minutes into a show?! Just because it was Pay What You Want (ie you can go without a ticket and just put into the bucket at the end) shouldn’t mean you wander in whenever, just a touch of exasperation escaped Will’s composure, he is a professional (just as well it was his show, some comedians would have ripped them apart for such an offence). He kinda got his own back getting one of them up for a part that required remembering something that was mentioned in the first twenty minutes, he did get in a good-natured dig about it! Will did come across well, keeping in character while putting his audience at ease. As I said before, there weren’t many there but this is a great show and deserves way more people seeing it, though I doubt he’ll forget the day I was there, no, not because there was a moose there, hell there were folk way weirder than me there!

And if you read my last post you’ll know The People’s Boat people also enticed me in by flyer. So if you’re at the Fringe, or any other Festival around the world, take a moment, have a chat, remember flyerers are human too.

Toodle pip!

Let’s hit the Hut….

And just like that the previews, the 241 days and Black Wednesday are behind us, only two and a half weeks to go! At least now the Half Price Hut is open. Let’s see what’s on…..

Flicking quickly through my eye is drawn to The Pat Hobby Stories at Gilded Balloon Teviot, hmmm. Oo, The Stander Gang is there, I saw this play last week after being flyered by the lads performing it. I enjoyed it, it was a little disjointed, but hey, there was a lot of story to put in; I did realise I’d heard of Andre Stander when I was speaking to them, a notorious policeman turned criminal in South Africa (a film was made of him starring Thomas Jane). They’re only on until Sunday 11th, So If you fancy it, be quick.

The Grey Cat And The Flounder is there, I do love this poster, it speaks to me! Mind, I also really like the poster for Monsoon Season but reading the blurb I have a niggling doubt about it. Maybe if it’s still at the HPH later in the Fringe when I’ve had a chance to see some reviews.

I see Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds is there, lovely chaps. I went to their Garage Party last week, noticed there’s a slight change in the line-up, gonna need another photo! The Three Deaths of Ebony Black and The Long Pigs are both there, I’ve seen them both, both shows are proper Fringe stuff. The Long Pigs was in the wonderful Assembly Roxy Central; the Roxy does tend to attract weird shows and this show really proves the point – it’s odd, it’s bizarre, it’s surreal and mesmerising. What’s it about? Erm, warped clowns, that’s all I’ll say; if ordinary clowns freak you out then this isn’t the show for you.

Goodness me, Max & Ivan are doing HPH tickets. Hmmm, I did used to quite like them but the last couple of times I saw them I wasn’t keen in the direction they seemed to be going in. Moon: We Cannot Get Out is there, I saw that last night and quite enjoyed it. I’ll clarify quite, some parts and some of their ideas were really good, but some just didn’t do it for me, having said that I will watch out for them again next year.

Guess I should get out and find some eggs benedict to eat before my first show, that’s Super Hugh-Man, ticket bought at the Half Price Hut yesterday evening. Another kiwi! Oo yeah, Laser Kiwi have tickets at the HPH too, just sayin’.

Toodle pip!

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!

What ever happened to the sideburns?

So back in April Logan’s Close played the Voodoo Rooms with a new addition of a keyboard player – fine. Next thing, the new pics on FB only show four guys, four plus one should be five? Was it an aesthetics thing – sorry only four to a photo, five would be too much!? The drummer with the great sideburns seems to be oot of the picture, literally. The Close have a new single out soon, no doubt they’ll play Edinburgh to herald it’s arrival, and we’ll see who’s in or out. Same drummer, new drummer, drum machine?!?

It’s reminded me of one of my favourite Fringe acts, Dead Cat Bounce. They wrote a rather magnificence song about the day they fired the drummer, performed at the end of the show literally as though the other three had just agreed earlier that day to fire him. Nine years later I still laugh when I hear it, absolutely brilliant, but then Dead Cat Bounce were top class comedy writers and performers as well as being great musicians. They would most definitely be one of my Desert Island Fringe Acts!

Ironically it was the keyboardist who left the band just over a year later. Sadly the remaining trio only played the Fringe one more time in 2012, it wasn’t quite the same without Mick; and it put Outsized Orthopaedic Shoe and Four Lads off the playlist, shame. In 2013 they called it a day, well, playing live, until in 2017 they apparently did a 10th anniversary reunion show, and there’s a DVD of it!! I must hunt one down. I shall keep on with the occasional stalk to see what they’re up to, in case they reform proper!

The Penny Dreadfuls, particular favourites of mine, were originally a four-man sketch show when my buddy and I first came across them in their Victorian sketch show Aeneas Faversham. It was our favourite show that year, silly, surreal, clever, witty, and thoroughly British! The following year they pulled it off again with Aeneas Faversham Returns, by George, even Bud’s elderly maiden aunt loved it, especially the Invisible Man sketch – the one part we feared she would disapprove of! Why? Specimen 626 had escaped from the lab and they had to find him, he was invisible, at least to them on stage, we could all see Specimen 626 who was stark bollock naked! He was prancing around, jiggling about between the others talking trying to put them off, he even did a cartwheel across the stage! By the following Fringe Jamie (aka Specimen 626) had left them. Had the naked cartwheels been too much for him? So 2008 saw the Penny Dreadfuls down to a trio for Aeneas Faversham Forever, and they’re still loosely together, every now and again popping up on Radio 4 and Radio 4extra, besides following their own solo careers, occasionally popping up at the Fringe. David Reed is up for  four nights with Inside the Comedian and of course, Thom Tuck is up as usual doing lots of silly things with lots of silly people.

Just to show you there were originally four Penny Dreadfuls and also what an awesome act they are……

2019-07-16 19.14.09

behold, the Penny Dreadful playing cards! Yes, they didn’t just do badges, they had decks of playing cards! Three years in a row! The chap at the back of the middle card is Jamie. I wonder what became of him? And can he still cartwheel?

 

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!

 

In a darkened room …..

I’ve decided I should record Gotham and fill you in on how my Film Festival is going so far. So far it’s going well, I say well, this evening’s film didn’t really do much for me sadly. Bulbul Can Sing from India is a story about a teenage schoolgirl in rural India; it certainly showed teenagers are teenagers the world over. I did feel for Bulbul and wanted some happiness for her but towards the film seem to meander to a slow stop and I have no idea how Bulbul was feeling or coping at the end. Shame because I wanted to like it more, having said that it was a enlightening insight into a country, culture and life so different from my own, not wasted time by any means.

Back to Thursday evening and my first foray was to see Happier Times, Grumpy from Finland. (A quick pause to hum the old Python tune😊) Ah, that’s done. So, grumpy old man makes his own coffin, self-centred son plans to put him in a home, pregnant granddaughter runs away from her life to hide at grandad’s. There’s plenty more too it, plenty humour, though I wondered about the subtitles at times. I get that it may be a toss up between how much of a literal or colloquial translation is given; a different manner of speech may not make sense when truly translated but neither will it do the original line justice if it’s altered too much. I don’t think the subtitler of this film wanted to commit either way (that or it wasn’t a great script anyway – or again, that may be how they like it in Finland?!) Enjoyable? Yeah.

Bodies at Rest was set in a Hong Kong morgue on a very wet Christmas Eve. I went into the film not remembering any of the blurb in the programme, so on seeing the dark wet night, skeleton staff, morgue, jumpiness, I thought it was going to be a zombie movie (all those cadavers in body bags, fat man being autopsied, I was so convinced one was going to move) turned out to be an action movie. An entertaining action movie, plenty fighting, good comic moments, reasonable plot and a sweet pair to root for against the baddies. Oh wow, just noticed that the director is Renny Harlin of Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Cutthroat Island, among others (I am one of the few who loved Cutthroat Island).

Blimey Charlie, it’s rather late, better wrap it up. I shall tell you about my Spanish adventures next time, but I will mention How to Fake a War, an Irish/ Georgian production; rock star gets his PR to fake that a war is still ongoing so that his peace concert can look like it brought about peace between the warring nations. Yeah, some of the plot was really stretching things (like a lame Radio Four comedy) BUT the  Georgian parts and the two female leads were great. Katherine Parkinson was just marvellous (as usual) and Lily Newmark was a joy as her character became more feisty and inventive. And there was a Q&A afterwards with the director Rudolph Herzog and, omg, Katherine Parkinson (looking gorgeous) both very delightful and interesting.

Okay, so if you’ve read previous posts20190622_195852 you’ll know this film is just teetering on the edge of inclusion, but hey, I saw Katherine Parkinson 😆

I was too tongue-tied to speak to her, such a big fan, but being close enough to snap this pic was a thrill ❤

 

 

Bears and foxes and sockses, oh my!

Yes, there’ll be bears and a fox and a pair of socks at the Fringe this year, yay! After a year off Goodbear are back with Dougal, no, not the dog, it’s the name of their new show. Oo, I might even make that a first night show, it’s always good to start well and I’m sure Mr Barnes and Mr Perryment will not disappoint me.

The Abbott and Costello of the sock world, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are back with Roll Up! I’ve been following their show development throughout the year on Facebook, bits have come and gone, and there’s plenty of video footage. I expect it honed to perfection by August!

And the Fox? Why, it’s my childhood hero Basil Brush! Apparently he sounds slightly different these days, but it was forty plus years ago when I was watching him on the telly. If only he’d come to the Fringe in 2015 – he could have met up with his old pal Rodney Bewes (this tablet wants to make him Rodney Beers! No, tablet demon, it’s Bewes). Mr Rodney was Basil’s side-kick in 1968, he’s the first one I can remember. After that there was Mr Derek, he stayed around a few years and was very good, but my favourite side-kick/straightman was Mr Roy, I loved it when he would grab Basil’s snout in exasperation to shut him up (while trying not to laugh).

Turns out Basil first appeared on telly as a support act to a magician before getting his big break with his own tv show. He was very influenced by Terry Thomas, he liked the charm and droll wit, and was always seen wearing a cravat (and comparing his clothes to now, he definitely had a better tailor back then, probably Saville Row). The stars were all queuing up to be on his show, Lulu, Cilla Black, Demis Roussos, to name a few, all eager to duet with him. Yes, Basil was so popular he even made a cameo appearance in The Goodies Rule-OK? 

Indeed, I shall have to go see the Fox, why, I learnt all my wit, humour and sarcasm from him (and Dougal, yes, the dog, and Brian). I wonder, will he still talk about Dirty Gertie from Number Thirty?! Does he still have that laugh? He must still use his catchphrase. Until next time, my friends,

Boom! Boom!

 

Well, that was a ride and a half!

And so tonight The Big Bang Theory finally came to an end (after which E4 announced they’re going to start showing it all again from the start). Gonna miss those guys! Sheldon Cooper must be my favourite comedy creation, closely followed by Niles Crane, both so brilliantly written and portrayed. Indeed, I used to watch Frasier as avidly as I’ve watched BBT these last twelve years. Even when Frasier was in the Friday 9pm slot my friends and I wouldn’t head to the pub until after it (mind, I would be oot til two o’clock or so).

It got me trying to remember what other american half hour comedy shows have had me so hooked over the years……

Roseanne immediately sprang to mind, okay so towards the end it seriously declined, but that is where my moose crush on Johnny Galecki began! I remember the hallowe’en episodes were always excellent. Grace Under Fire was another firm favourite, Home Improvement was around at that time, and Cybill, a show I loved for almost everyone in it apart from Cybill Shepherd (Christine Baranski was wonderful, of course). Oh yeah, Spin City too, Michael J.Fox was sooo, just sooo, yeah, moose crush time (and Jennifer Esposito was hot!)

I had videos recorded long play from the telly full of American comedies. The odd Married With Children episode thrown in as well. Crikey, almost forgot Third Rock From The Sun!! Wow, that was sooo funny and such a brilliant ensemble piece with great cameos (Christine Baranski and Laurie Metcalf to name two). Another connection – a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tommy) was briefly in Roseanne.

Later came My Name is Earl and Scrubs, then How I Met Your Mother. It took a while to get into HIMYM, but it sucked me in and by the sixth series I was seriously committed! Yeah, The Goldberg’s kinda pulled me in despite my lack of initial interest (I do like it when they have the people portrayed in it talking at the end).

But Bruce, what about Friends and Seinfeld? Seinfeld, I really did try, and it did make me laugh, but we just never gelled. Friends? They were on a break!! That’s when it lost me, oh I still watched but I was irked, the guys would, should have stuck by their bro, they were on a break, they were free agents. Wow, yeah, I’m still irked about that plotline now!

Two more classics that I adored, The Wonder Years and The Golden Girls. How come neither of them are being repeated on some channel?! They probably are, somewhere.

Ain’t it nice to look back on old loves!  Who would win a hissy fit fight – Niles or Sheldon? What new comedy show will grab Laurie Metcalf for a cameo? Whatever happened to Harry?Did any of your old favourites pop up here?

Toodle pip! Sweet dreams  x