It was a very good year (part I)

2013 was the year the Free Fringe got really quite exciting, no longer was it just stand-up comedians in back rooms of pubs, there were proper shows to see! Or, at least, that was how my buddy and I perceived it. Casual Violence: Om Nom Nominous in the Voodoo Rooms was one such show, so good we went to see the company’s other non-free show the next day; the live musical accompaniment was a fine asset!

The Hawke Papers at the Blind Poet (loved that pub, alas, no longer there, that fine old boozer has been absorbed by the Pear Tree) was an interactive murder mystery using the full space of the pub for us to move around, look for clues and talk to the various characters. It was popular for a morning show, we missed out one day but were given a signed flyer and told to be there twenty minutes early the next day to be sure of getting in!

We heard that Death Ship 666 at the Three Sisters was very good and very popular and at 10:45 in the morning! After one miss we made it in plenty of time on the second attempt, great show, dubious venue. It may be fine now (I haven’t seen any shows there for a few years) but the back of the Three Sisters used to have a whiff of stale urinals, watching a show distracted from it, but hanging around waiting for a show to start was not pleasant!

The Free Fringe show that sounded right up our street was Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time at what was the Fiddlers Elbow at Picardy Place – ours and every other bugger’s street. We’d heard it was popular so headed down a good twenty minutes early, apparently not a hope in hell said the guy who came out to count the queue.  The next time we were just over half hour early, so did we get in? Argh, by a gnat’s crochet, no!!! We were right at the door, next in, sorry, jam-packed full!! Now fainter hearts may have given up at this point, not us, another evening another even longer wait (forty five minutes) but, yes, we made it in! Was it worth it? Absolutely! Two actors, one musician (yes, more live accompaniment), lots of characters including Poseidon, a Lovecraftian creation played by the actors together.

2013 was the year we saw the wonderful Aidan Goatley for the first time, another visit to the Voodoo Rooms to see Ten Films With My Dad, a Free Fringe show. It was also the Fringe we finally scaled the mighty Arthur’s Seat, not once but twice, to see This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie, a gala spectacular of Barry Ferns and friends (not quite at the top as it was a very windy squally day) and then Barry on Arthur’s Seat, which poignantly turned out to be the last time he’d do his solo show up there – his knees had decided enough was enough.

Here’s a little collage of pics from the Arthur’s Seat shows. See, you can tell it was a proper Free Fringe show – there was a doorway to go in through and it’s where he stood with the bucket at the end 😆

2019-09-27 00.11.49

Last but never least…..

Yes, I know I said “tomorrow night” over a week ago, but I’ve been busy! Yes, busy, sleeping, working, eating. I haven’t even got round to seeing Tarantino’s new film yet, though I did manage to squeeze in Toy Story 4 (again), well, it is such a perfect film (to me, maybe not to you, but it is to me) and it left me feeling all happy and fuzzy.

Happy and fuzzy are good, see that’s how I like my last evening of the Fringe to be, I like a happy, bittersweet ending. But what did I do this year? Will had already left, I felt a tad bereft! Why, Mr Seaward has been rounding off my Fringe since 2013, yes, that’s the year before he started his Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories. Let me take you back…….

Monday 26th, it was a balmy evening, myself and a few friends were drinking in the Pleasance Courtyard, well, continuing drinking after the wonder that was the final Monday show of Tim Fitzhigham: Challenger (there are those who will remember the significance of it being a final Monday show for Tim, I shall just say, legendary!!). Flyerers were hovering around, desperately trying to tempt punters into one last show; we all had work in the morning and the alcohol was fast taking effect, so no amount of cajoling could sway us but we lapped up the attention. We had a right laugh with them all, generally waylaying their spiel with “So how’s your Fringe been?” plenty were happy to sit and blether before heading off to find more potential victims.

As we sat basking in a warm alcoholic glow, and I’ll quote from my Fringe diary here “a ruddy-faced, Crystal Tipps-haired chap came over to entice us to his show, we explained it would be too late (11.30pm) but invited him to sit down and join us a while and he did. Turns out he did the Bouncy Castle shows a few years back ……….Inevitably we later decided to head to Teviot to see him.” Yes, that was Will, and we were all so charmed and drunk that we agreed just one more last show would be fine!

So we turned up for Will Seaward: Socialist Fairytales! in The Turret, front row seats, we had no fear, we had more beer! I do recall Will got one of my friends up on the stage to play a witch, the idea being he had to fight the witch and she should try to get him to the ground, he wasn’t actually expecting her to almost succeed! He admitted later that she wasn’t as drunk as he’d thought, but she was drunk enough to be determined to achieve what he’d asked of her. What a great Fringe ending, and with that a new tradition was born.

Aaaand back to 2019. For the first time ever I took the final Monday off work, well, I did have my guest still up and thought I might start some tidying round (Yeah, right, the tidying was never gonna happen). I’d bought two tickets with my Friend of the Fringe deal to see A Midsummer Night’s Droll on the Monday morning before my guest headed for the train, however a late change of plans meant an earlier train back, so I ended up going on my own, ho hum. Not that I minded, I’d picked that show as they’re one of my favourite companies of the last few years and I’d get to see Titania again! Yay!

So what did I finish 2019 with? Well, the tried and tested method myself and Bud had, was to see again something we’d seen near the start and really rated, something silly and totally Fringe. Previous last shows have included Jeremy Lion, Otis Lee Crenshaw, the Les Clöchards, and the Penny Dreadfuls (three times!). Something silly and totally Fringe, a surefire brilliant show I’d seen before…..what a minute! What about an added bonus of a show seen – but also not seen before, a show as random as the spin of a wheel! Russian Roulette!

As Will had departed, our host for the evening was Sullivan Brown (looking very dapper in a sparkly jacket), presiding over the night’s production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. I’ve never seen The Seagull before – some may say I still haven’t seen it. Oh, it was marvellous, I was riveted! The plot seemed a little bizarre but hey, it’s Russian, maybe that’s how they roll. I felt for Konstantin, and poor Nina getting dysentery, and the chap who had a faberge egg for a head!! I wasn’t expecting Rasputin to show up, and that impression he did of Christopher Walken? Mind-blowing! But how did Donald Trump get there? Okay, so I remember that it turned out to be set in space, but did I miss some time travel bit?! Oh yeah, that roulette wheel may have had something to do with it 😆

Toodle pip!

 

Caterpillars, hedgehogs and sperm – all in one day!

Friday of week two is a good day to take off work and Fringe, most years I’ve done this; it was always a day for seeing pricier shows that were on the Friends of the Fringe list for me and Bud, always beginning with Shakespeare for Breakfast, we’d snaffle any croissants left on nearby seats at the end. This year it just happens to be one the days I’ve taken off work, but thinking about it, it is indeed a perfect day to Fringe. It’s shortened the working week, woohoo, which allows for later shows on Thursday night; it’s far enough in that the list of possibles has been whittled down from it’s original unwieldy size; it’s also far enough in that other possibles are in the mix, from chatting to flyerers, tips from people in queues, reviews.

Just as well I didn’t go to any late night shows on Thursday night – the first show I saw on the Friday started even earlier than Shakespeare for Breakfast! Okay, so only five minutes earlier, but still, my Fringe Friday tradition of running to get to the first show on time ain’t gonna end with early starts like this! Headhog was only on for six days of the middle week, the blurb was that a man has a scan after having a fit and discovers he has a hedgehog living in his skull. No one can explain how it got there and removal of it is (obviously) unknown territory.

Headhog was a charmingly absurd play; a great concept to mull over. I liked Malcolm, the turmoil he was going through was well played out. When he becomes more concerned by the “why me?” than “how?” the scene with the ecologist and philosopher was great – amusing and exasperating. Some of the play felt a bit clunky but overall it was well done, with a lovely melancholy ending that was somehow quite uplifting.

Two hours later I was back in the same venue, Paradise In The Vault, in the Annexe room, one of the best smaller venues; the seats are generous and comfortable, with a reasonably tiered-height between them, it’s also got a good record with me for good productions.

The Man From Verona was a very funny, dark comedy, quite farcical at times. It is quite a small stage but the set was well-conceived to maximise use of every part of it. Everyone was great in it, especially Mama – don’t mess with a mafia matriarch! Rocco, her henchman, had some wonderful moments. The Man From Verona himself is a mafia don/landlord, Harry,  who spends a lot of the play dead, but is very effective when he’s alive. Blaze and Jimmy, our secretly-in-love couple are the ones we’re rooting for, will they get to be together? Will Jimmy ever be able to leave the bathroom?

From Paradise in The Vault on Merchant Street it was a quick jog over to the Space @ Surgeons Hall, with just ten minutes to spare before The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar started. Another trustworthy venue, I see they’ve moved their Box Office to just inside the gate, probably to cut down some of the noise in the foyer though the queue inside was still regularly told to hush – with more and more people joining in the sssssshhh-ing for a laugh.

The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar is one weird show! It’s extremely quirky and absurd, a great piece of high-energy physical theatre and hell the delivery is fast, it can be tricky to keep up with the plot at times. I followed the basic story, Caterpillar likes eating, can’t stop, won’t stop eating, demands all the food his subjects have, a complete tyrant hated by all; through a portal he meets and falls in love with the Butterfly King, a good, beloved ruler; Caterpillar tries to change his ways, err, the ending escapes me! No matter, the destination is unimportant, the journey there is loads of fun with this talented, enthusiastic bunch.

After a breather, a beer and a bite to eat, I headed to Boteco on Lothian Street for Privates: A Sperm Odyssey and though it’s a PWYW show instinct told me to buy ticket upfront; good call as a lot of folk had tickets, I doubt many without made it in. Oh my, how much utterly joyful daftness can one hour contain??!! Blimey, never have sperm been so funny! These three chaps, Luke Rollason, Christian Brighty and Tom Cufzon have created one bloody wonderful show. And I’ll never hear the name Darnell again without a smirk on my face!

So, four for four, and it was only half past six! At this point of such a brilliant Fringe day picking the next show is trickier, it’s like, it’s gone too well, don’t mess it up. I decided to take a chance with Ava Beaux: The Mysterious Tales of Poe at the Revolution Bar as part of PBH’s Free Fringe. The blurb promises macabre minds, magic and gothic tales. Ava has been at the Fringe before and I’ve always been a tad tempted so tonight was it. Well, it was lovely, good magic and a charmingly dark sense of humour, but it came across as too rehearsed and some how contained, she needs to get wilder?! The venue wasn’t the best though for her show, too many distractions which hampered the ambience Ava was going for. I did enjoy it but not half as much as the previous shows.

As the night was still young I took a wander up to the Squares, Bristo and George, plenty of ambience there. Flyerers, buskers, young chaps trying to hang on to a high bar for 100 seconds (a tenner a shot, £100 to any who can do it, I’ve seen many try but none succeed), bright young things out to party, older things blethering to other old things only met in Edinburgh in August. The melting pot that is Fringe.

Toodle pip!

 

 

Oh, my giddy aunt!

I can’t believe I haven’t yet given a mention to Russian Roulette, how remiss of me! Yes, they’re back again, the new, improved version, well, it’s an upright roulette wheel, more visual I guess. No longer down in the hidden warren in La Belle Angele, Russian Roulette are in the Balcony room at Gilded Balloon Teviot at 10.15pm (which gives Mr Seaward just forty five minutes before he’s back on stage for more Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories!). Be warned, it is a tad warm in there, grab a cold drink to take in with you.

The evening I went Crime And Punishment was taken for a spin. The play begins as normal, then the horn sounds, the wheel is spun and things get odd! The number landed on dictates how the play progresses – there are thirty seven bizarre ways to proceed with titles like Borscht Surprise, Beard Ban and I’m Stuffed, luckily, our host Will Seaward is on hand to explain what each means to our unfortunate actors. Our brilliant ensemble have to battle on through the play never knowing when the horn may sound again to add more confusion to the plot.

Yes, this is as bonkers as it sounds and more!! Our players are most excellent, a seriously talented troupe. Really, you will laugh your socks off! Oh, and the lovely Mr Sullivan Brown is usually flyering near Bristo Square before the show, do go say hello.

Toodle pip!

Shaking all over……

You know me, I do like a little Shakespeare with my Fringe! As ever, I’ve had my breakfast date with C Theatre, of coffee and croissant and their latest shenanigans, and as ever they were bloody brilliant! Shakespeare for Breakfast don’t flyer or have posters around the town, at least I’ve never seen any of either, the blurb in the Fringe programme is fun and intriguing enough to pull in newbies (and just having Shakespeare in the name helps) and there’s plenty of fans like me who go every year.

This year’s frolics put Romeo & Juliet in two warring coffee shop families. The puns were flying thick and fast with fine comedic timing; for all the fun these guys are wonderful actors who are skilled at their craft, making it look effortless. I see this year they’re also doing an evening show Shakespeare Up Late! at 9.35pm, the blurb reads “from sex toys to soliloquies”, I think we get the idea! Yay, it’s at C Aquila aka Roman Eagle Lodge, a favourite (if a tad warm) venue of mine. I shall be getting me a ticket.

Last week saw the wonderful Tim Fitzhigham and Thom Tuck take to a makeshift stage in the basement of Black Medicine to perform Macbeth in one hour. And if that wasn’t absurd enough, each day they had a different director adding to the mix, the evening I was there it was Ahir Shah, okay, so I’d never heard of him before but he was rather lovely and very funny (worth checking out, I think).

Tim and Thom together with Shakespeare, it doesn’t get anymore Fringe than that!!! Both eloquently silly, nonchalantly charming, achingly funny, and bloody good at what they do! They did include plenty of actual Shakespeare along with the laughs and Thom ended up in a long black dress and a wig as Lady Macbeth, yeah, I did half expect that to happen! I do hope they team up again another year, the chemistry between them is too wonderful not to be repeated.

The Owle Schreame are back with A Midsummer Nights Droll. So that’s Shakespeare with the dull, boring bits taken out and the comedy bumped up (not a thousand miles from what Shakespeare for Breakfast do today, but this is from 350 years ago). That’s the very abbreviated version, if you go to see them at Gilded Balloon Teviot (at 10.45 in the morning!) then you’ll hear a history of Droll from Brice Stafford at the start of the show – its worth going just to listen to his magnificent voice.

Actually it’s an whole ensemble of magnificence and mischievery, performing with glee and boisterous enthusiasm (the singing of Cuckoo’s Nest was particularly bawdy). And Titania! Be still, my beating heart! Beautiful, strong, coquettish, a woman who knows what she wants – never was Titania so lovely!  Oh, and a special mention to Cobweb, Peaseblossom and Mustard Seed, a talented wee trio. The lion costume has had me musing on my Halloween costume this year, I reckon I could make myself a pretty good mane like that!

So I’ve seen three of Will’s big ones and have noticed there’s also Noir Hamlet on at theSpace @ Venue 45, that would make up a nice set I reckon.

Anyhoo, my bed awaits.

Adieu, kind friends.

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!

Adrift on the Mile…..

Ho, yes. I know a photo opportunity when I see one! Alas my photographer didn’t spot the sun glare off the flyer, tsk, it reads The People’s Boat on at Greenside at Infirmary Street at 9pm (I do quite like this venue, it’s an old school, a building with character, and a place I’ve never seen a duff show). If I’m looking a little pensive its because I was imagining us being swept away by one of the sudden monsoon deluges plaguing Edinburgh at the moment.

So did I see the show? Yes I did and it was bloody good! I was slightly concerned at the start that it may be a bit too political for my taste, but no, it’s more political commentary and an insightful look at human weaknesses. For example, when one of the actors isn’t happy at playing a racist character for fear of being personally tainted by it, the others rationalise it (with what I thought was a brilliant example of Anthony Hopkins and Hannibal Lechter) but also make snide jokes at the same time, and then they all use the flimsiest of excuses why they can’t play that part. I know that whole scenario so well; if it doesn’t resonate with you, its probably because you’re the one doing it to an unfortunate colleague.

They also brought up the now thorny issue of who’s allowed to act what parts, handling it very well I thought in a no-nonsense way. Personally, yes, I can see that disservices have been and are still being done, but also, it is acting! Acting is all about pretending to be something you’re not.

The whole play-within-a-play was very meta, with great lighting effects for the switches between the two. Before the first switch to the actors I could feel a slight uneasiness in the audience, the laugh when it came was from a sense of relief! We’d been let it on the joke and were now all in the same boat. It reminded me of Brendon Burns’ show back in 2007, but he just kept going and going, pushing it right til the end when he finally let us in on the gag, oh how we laughed (and slightly wanted to hurt him for putting us through all that).

But was it funny, Brucie? Yes, indeedily. It’s funny and witty as well as sharp and insightful. The four lads are great, slipping seamlessly between actors and characters, and they bounce off each other really well. Definitely a company to watch out for at future fringes!

 

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!

 

….then the armadillo said to the bishop….

Hello peeps! No he didn’t – I have no idea what the armadillo said, which I suppose means he could have said it after all! Way back one of my first posts was about the effects of negative advertising on fringe-goers, this title is to test the effect of false advertising. If you’ve read this far and intend to continue on, well, yay!

So I happened to glance at one of the update Assembly emails and noticed that Sleeping Trees have gone for the Ronseal approach for their show this year; no messing just Sleeping Trees: Silly Funny Boys.  Indeed they cannot be done for false advertising, they are as funny as they are talented with silliness in spades, and the brilliance of a show title like this is it says everything about them but nothing about the show itself (most likely because they haven’t written it yet but wanted to get a good slot).

They have been very busy; last year’s Edinburgh Fringe show Sleeping Trees: World Tour is still touring the world, they were at the Adelaide Fringe earlier this month, then a quick hop to Melbourne before coming home to Blighty. Even then they still have a few performances to go. Phew! A new show, new ideas, new jokes must be quite an attractive prospect after such a long run. I can’t wait to see it!

Oh yeah, for those not familiar with old British tv adverts, the Ronseal tagline quickly became part of the vernacular “it does exactly what it says on a tin”.

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?!