Well, that’s the previews sorted!

If you read my last post (and why not?!) you’ll be dying to know what happened, will I have to miss my films? Well, good news, I will be heading back to the mother ship this weekend so won’t miss any of EIFF 2018, yay! Bad news, the whole piss-up/brewery thing has been totally cancelled this year (bloody numpty!) I am so not impressed.

Since then I’ve completed my first scour of the full printed Fringe Programme and bought my first batch of tickets, mainly previews with a few others. As there is now a booking fee of 80p a ticket that stops at £4.80 it makes sense to buy enough tickets to reduce the effect of it – £4.80 booking fee for fifteen shows is quite reasonable, I’d say!

I’m going to kick off this year with Russell Howard, good to see him back and for only a fiver! Mind it is called Russell Howard – Work in Progress, hmmm, first night could be interesting (interesting=shambolic). The ever delightful Felicity Ward (pic below is me swooning over her poster) is back and hopefully on time. I have 30 minutes to get from Pleasance Above to George Square Theatre for Thrones! The Musical! this is perfectly doable, just as long as the Pleasance aren’t running too late. Considering how long they’ve had to get it right you would think it should run like a well-oiled machine but, well, it doesn’t always.

After a break last year everyone’s favourite sock puppets are back  with a new show Superheroes, check out the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on Facebook or YouTube for skits and songs on the subject (love the Deadpool and Black Lightning videos). As ever they’re in the exceedingly warm Sportsman room at the Gilded Balloon, grab a flyer on your way in to use as a fan!

At the witching hour the wonderful Will Seaward is back with Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories V, but what’s this? He’s no longer in the Wee Room, he’s been upgraded to the Dining Room! Yay!!

Oo, and I got me a ticket to see the Ukulele Death Squad as they’re bound to sell out. They’re back at the Leith Depot near the bottom of Leith Walk, an exceedingly hot room above the pub but it does have its own bar. Well I actually bought two tickets as it’s on the Friends of the Fringe list of 2for1’s, so if you’re reading this and will be in town Sunday 5th, I have a spare half price ticket for one very lucky individual! Bang Bang!

Toodle pips!

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Pick a category, any category!

Oo, not long now. In two weeks time I’ll be just home after seeing my first two preview shows, fingers crossed it won’t be chucking it down like it is tonight. Now is the time to go through the programme again and see what else leaps out as possibilities.

For many years the first category in the programme was Children’s Shows, to be skipped past to reach Comedy, then in 2011 Cabaret appeared! Had the Fringe been devoid of cabaret before this?! Argh, the new prog has Cabaret & Variety, what? When? In 2015 it turns out, and in 2014 Dance & Physical Theatre took Circus under it’s wing. Prior to 2014 circus could be in Comedy, Theatre or Dance & Physical Theatre, some acts probably still are.

Variety acts sometimes still laze in Comedy and if you throw in a few amusing songs then Comedy or Music fit too and also back to Cabaret. It wouldn’t surprise me if Magic is put in with Cabaret & Variety next year (there is quite a bit of it about), but if you tell jokes while doing it, you’ll probably list it under Comedy. Is your head spinning yet?

Then in 2012 came Spoken Word, well yes, they usually are on stage. Ok, so the poets and storytellers generally leapt over to this, unless they considered themselves more comedic or theatrical. Plenty of university academics and scientists like to pop up to pontificate on their subjects, yep, definitely Spoken Word. My favourite entry in this year’s crop just says, Diary, Charlie Dupre, A man reads his diary. Fairy nuff, but when is a word just spoken, how theatrical can it be before it’s Theatre? Or Cabaret? Is Spoken Word more of a solo sport? But then if it’s funny would that make it stand-up comedy?

Are there any rules, or is it just about how a show wants to be perceived?  I think I’ll just go lie down in a darkened room a while.

Perusing the Programme

Make yourself a pot of tea and get the biscuit tin out or open a bottle of wine, this will take a while! If you’re a Fringe novice I would advise you not to try to do it all in one go, it takes practice. Always mark up potentials (you’ll never find it again if you don’t) and maybe mark if it’s a definite, an um-not-sure, a check out the company’s website, a wait for reviews, an only worth the preview price or if it appears listed at the Half Price Hut.

Then go through it again, maybe do it from back to front this time, or alternate categories. Leave it by the loo, peruse it on those long visits when you’ve nothing else to do!

Now here’s where it’s  good to have a spare programme to hand. Go through and cut out all the potentials from the spare, and if you have a Fringe buddy go through your choices together  (and hope you have at least a few matches). I had a good Fringe buddy for many years, we had so many matches it made the compromises on our other choices not seem so bad as we respected each other’s taste and trusted it to lead us to right. Though he’s no longer around I still do this, it’s easy to move bits of paper around to see what will fit where, throw a choice in the bin after a glance at their website, keep tabs on shows you haven’t yet committed to.

Or you can do none of the above and wing it! I’m afraid I need much structure in my life, like a good boy scout I like to be prepared!