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!

 

Still the loveliest man on the Fringe!

After seeing thirty six shows in the first eleven days I took a bit of a breather, that’s not to say I didn’t wander out to savour the atmosphere, chat to flyerers, mooch around Bristo Square. Mind, I didn’t go out any more than necessary last Sunday, a very very wet day indeed; the old moose cave did need a bit of a tidy round too.

Tuesday I dipped my toe back in, going to see the loveliest man on the Fringe, Aidan Goatley, once again at Sweet Grassmarket. Mr Goatley has a brand new show this year Aidan Goatley: Happy Britain Part I. I knew about his idea to find the centre of all 105 counties in the UK and to ask who ever he finds there what makes them happy, but what happened? Why Part I? Let’s face it, it was a pretty huge undertaking, so bad news – he didn’t manage it as quickly as first envisaged, as so often happens in life; good news – there’s Part II to look forward to next year (touch wood!).

We hear all about the ups and downs of his attempt, along with amazing stories about the folk he’s met on his travels, oh, I could have sat and listened to him all evening, such a wonderful raconteur. Alas the show came to an end, a lovely end which sent us all back out into the world uplifted, glowing with warm fuzziness (like the old Ready Brek advert). In fact after getting home that evening I just had to dip back into his book Never Eat The Buffet at a Sex Club* (*contains no food or sexual references), a collection of his previous work. It was almost like he was in the room reading to me 💛

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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!

The Mid Fringe Blues

Halfway through Fringe is Point Knackered, folk feel all fringed out, tired from never enough sleep, the flyerers don’t even try to summon up any enthusiasm, the flyered don’t even notice the flyerers anymore. Some shows with a full run can lose a bit of their sparkle in this dip. Maybe with awareness of this maudlin moment, many shows take a day off this week; this can catch folk out (me included), as one didn’t spot the one pale date in the middle of the run, this year 13th, 14th or 15th, and head expectantly to the venue only to be told, no show today!

Even I, looking through my possibility pieces, find my enthusiasm flagging, this is when more pieces get screwed up and flung in the general vicinity of the bin. Nothing I want to see is coming up at the Half Price Hut, gonna have to be more stringent in my planning, the Fringe Fund wallet doesn’t bulge anymore. This morning the HPH part of the Fringe app wasn’t even working, aaargh!!!

And then, something in the air changes….. it’s the second wind!

The app is back up running properly and three of my possibilities are at the HPH today!! Yay! Woohoo! No rain forecast today; Brendon Burns is over his tonsilitis; everywhere everyone will be picking up again, miraculously recharged and ready to take on the world, well, Edinburgh. Flyerers will be over enthusiastic and annoying again, yay!

So I shall have me a strong cup of coffee and head out to see some shows.

Toodle pip!

Oh, those Russians!

If you’ve recently checked oot my Facebook doings (I’m Bruce T Moose, being proper, like) you’ll know the world just shrank a teensy bit more, when I was accosted by a gent flyering his show which also stars our mutual friend Will Seaward! Only very a unusual, warped intellect could have devised this show, I suspect over a jar or two in some drinking establishment! Why do a straightforward play? Why not bring in the contrariness of chance to keep the actors on their toes? Improv with a difference – a roulette wheel!

Russian Roulette is just that, a Russian play of chance; the first choice is between writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, twas Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the evening I went. Some victim from the audience becomes the croupier and whenever the bell sounds (apparently set up earlier using randomly picked times) he/she spins the wheel and calls out the number. We, the audience, had numbered lists to check and yell out (well those with the eyesight to read small print in semi-darkness,  I’d forgotten my reading glasses), cryptic instructions like “Borscht Surprise”, “Russian Dolls” or “I’m Stuffed”. Will and his co-host would explain what each meant and the actors had to incorporate it into the play. Hence, poor Princess Kitty spent a long while unable to move as she became stuffed! “Beard Ban” was tricky for two of the cast, did I mention there were penalties for failure!? This was obviously set up by some devious, dastardly mind who wouldn’t be actually caught up in this play of chance themselves! Will?!

Whilst thoroughly enjoying the fun I noticed some of the cast looked somehow familiar, I also noticed that every seat had a flyer for A Midsummer Night’s Droll, yeah, I completely failed to spot the connection – I’d seen their show Droll last year! (another smidgeon off the earth’s girth) At the end of a very entertaining hour, everyone did the usual plugging of their other shows, only then did I twig! And, being a moose of limited means, I went off to purchase a ticket for their last £10 show, at 10.05 in the morning!

If you like some fun with your Shakespeare and some top-notch comic acting to go with it, then I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. Yes, I know it breaks one of my rules, never recommend just say you liked it, but I fail to see how anyone who matches the aforementioned criteria could not love this show!!! Oh, and I noticed Princess Kitty in the audience looking charmingly unstuffed!

So that’s Russian Roulette at Just the Tonic: La Belle Angele and A Midsummer Night’s Droll at theSpace on the Mile. If you want to see a little culture this Fringe !  😊 🎭