The Fringe of ’22 is over

Its all done for another year, everyone’s left town, so many venues already look like there’s not been anything happening at all, even the streets are looking cleaner (yes, the binmen went back to work yesterday – was it really a strike or a dirty protest against the Fringe?!). At least I was able to console myself watching the Scat Rats yesterday evening in Whistlebinkies, and at the reasonable time of half nine! It’s Scotty boy’s birthday today, I’m sure there’ll be shenanigans afoot; just as long as he’s recovered by Friday when there’s a double dose of Marah and Rough – at five in Binkies, then down in Stramash at seven, sweet!

Anyways, you probably popped in for some end of Fringe waffle, like, did Accordion Ryan do a new song? Yes, he did and very good it was too, all about him seemingly giving off long term relationship vibes when, well, sometimes it’s nice just to have a bit of fun! Another clever, funny, slightly bittersweet song. It was a brilliant last show, a total blast, it’s gotta be ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. As is the usual with these things venue staff came along for a final send-off, I’m sure Ryan brought plenty of sunshine into their lives this last month (mine too!)

Earlier that evening walking up Blair Street I noticed that the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society Awards 2022 were taking place that night, obviously I had to get a ticket, what better way to round off the Fringe (especially in case nothing turned up on Monday)? Needless to say it was very silly, rather anarchic and quite random, like any evening at the ACMS. Thom Tuck managed to keep some semblance of order (Professional), or did a good impression of doing so. Throughout the show various nominees for Best Song went up and performed, my favourite was definitely John Robertson’s, short and very much to the point BINS!! As this was ACMS Awards there wasn’t actually an award for Best Song, of course not. The whole thing was done and dusted by around two thirty, a very reasonable time, considering.

announcing the winner of the Least Likely award

Monday? The few flyerers left descended on the remaining Fringers, by god, they had one last show to flyer and they were determined to got some bums on those seats! They circled around us like seagulls going for discarded chips, saying you already had a show to go to almost felt mean. Oh, I wasn’t just saying it, I did, the chaps from Out To Lunch were quite engaging so I bought a ticket, and that was my final Fringe show, in the afternoon! No final night, didn’t even bother with Binkies Open Mic Night, this slow, wheezing demise of the Fringe is no fun. Just end everything on the Sunday night!!! The last Monday gets more tragic each year.

Out To Lunch was rather good, by the way. It’s a comedy-musical but there’s not too much singing in it. Indeed, when the first song started I’d forgotten that it was a musical it was a fair way into the play, oh and the two male actors weren’t particularly musical when they tried to sing but that just made it funnier. Emily Cairns playing Angie made up for them, she has an awesome voice. I was amused by the main protagonist Marcus Tuckwell, a failing food critic, when I realised he was coming across like the bastard love child of Bernard Black (Black Books) and Jack Whitehall! Yes, I had that going on in my head.

Must finish, I’m hungry. There may be a ranty post later, possibly; well, a Fringe round-up that may become ranty. I may even get round to some Bruce T Moose awards this year, I’m feeling a tad inspired by the ACMS, Best Song nominees welcome!

Thom took his MC duties very seriously

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!

A few musical notes ……

It’s Friday night and I’m in playing the Miracle Glass Company‘s first album on my stereo – yes, its a vinyl record, blue vinyl! I’m now also the proud owner of their second album, that one’s red vinyl. What encouraged this bout of vinyl procurement? Seeing them play last night that’s what, with the added bonus of having their albums on sale afterwards, how could I not? And how to choose one over the other? And when would I get the opportunity to get both again? Yes, they are on Spotify but it’s not the same as having the physical records, both in gatefold covers no less!

I was lucky to spot that the Miracle Glass Company were playing one show at Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, ticket booked! The Old Royal High is a brilliant old building that’s been unused for about sixty years, for a short while it was a possible site for the Scottish parliament, this summer Pianodrome have moved in and created a pop-up venue in true Fringey style. It’s worth a pop in just for a drink and a wee peek around the open bits, while it’s possible.

cloudy with a chance of tunes

The band were playing in the Grand Hall in-the-round or more oval in this case. My, but it was such a fine performance, great songs and cracking harmonies. There sounds to be Beatles’ influences there, but I was surprised when a couple of the slower numbers really reminded me of Bad Company (haven’t hardly thought about them in years). Not sure if I still have any of their albums somewhere. Song of the night for me was Look At You Now with it’s sparseness of just Willie’s voice with guitar for quite a while before coming in with bass, drums and more vocals, exquisite.

Well, I certainly wasn’t going home and crashing after that, oh I popped in to drop off the records, then headed straight back out to Whistlebinkies where the Moaning Bones were playing from midnight til sometime after three o’clock (three sets). A rather cracking night in all, twas almost four before I lay my head down, yeah, didn’t see any of the morning today! Check out the reels on my Instagram for a clip of each.

It may be Fringe time but I’ve still been making time to catch some good music when I can, even if it is very late on. Mind, I’m not sure I’ll still be about for the Scat Rats at two in the morning in Binkies, unless I go to the ACMS that night for a couple of hours or so (It starts at midnight). And on music, I’ll mention before I forget, I caught a rather lovely show yesterday early evening at The Mash House. The chap collared me at the bottom of Blair Street as I was heading home for a spot of tea, told me it was about making the greatest album of all time, “Oh, that’ll be out next year” says I; we started chatting, he sounded interesting, so an hour later I went to see Tom GK: How To Record The Greatest Album Of All Time which was enjoyable and interesting, though at times it seemed a bit disjointed.

Tom GK has a condition that has rendered him completely deaf in one ear and partially (going increasingly) deaf in the other ear, time then, to record the greatest album of all time. The show has songs along the way and I really liked the way he spoke about music, he has a great take on explaining how he relates to music sounds and how songs are put together, I was fascinated. Tom GK is a big Beatles fan, they get referenced quite a bit, no bad thing. One particular stand out moment was his song about starting with one chord and planting it like a seed, keep coming back and checking it, then one day another chord like a shoot appears and from that a plant (song) will grow and grow. Sweet! Of course, there was the sombre message at the end to do that thing whatever it is, do it, it may not be the best in the world but make it the best you can do in what time you have. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A pomelo? Looks like a grapefruit

Not long in from seeing Palimpsest in the Balcony room at Gilded Balloon Teviot. I quite like the irony of having to head to the lowest level to reach the Balcony, that’s just to queue then there’s a different set of stairs to get to it. The Balcony used to be one of the hottest rooms of the Fringe, yay, thank god for air-conditioning units.

Palimpsest, just googled it, apparently it’s something reused or altered but that still bears visible traces of its earlier form, ah, that makes sense! I’d never heard the word before, never heard of a pomelo before today, either (it does look very like a grapefruit);a day of discoveries! Palimpsest is also the name of a play by Alex Lacey, which she also stars in alongside Rob Kemp (he also has his own show Rob Kemp: Agenda reviewed last post).

Yes, I did see Palimpsest on the back of Agenda, good decision, loved it too. The flyer calls it a meta romcom, it’s meta and then some. If you enjoyed the film Free Guy that’s a good starter to liking this. The play starts normal enough, each actor delivers short monologues then the other joins in with the same line and takes over with their own monologue……until Jess tells Jim to stop interrupting her! The initial play is funny enough, but when the characters go off script, wow, its brilliantly written with really fun ideas – your head may hurt a bit after seeing this! Just go have a drink somewhere, you’ll be fine (the Library bar doesn’t have a lovely stock of real ales anymore, sadly, so head somewhere else if you want a good ale).

This career off-piste into a wickedly funny existential crisis reminded me of Phil Jupitus‘ play Waiting For Alice at a Fringe many years ago about Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but that was quite melancholy and sad, it’s the existential bit that’s similar. Both Palimpsest and Agenda are on until the final Sunday, time enough to fit them in!

Puppets, hippos and an accordionist

It’s really warm out there and really busy, so many people everywhere! So many people who have totally forgotten everything they were ever taught as kids about crossing the road. The human gene pool could do really without them. They’re quite often the same people who walk two or three abreast across the pavement and expect you, the oncomer, to step into the road to avoid them; I used to, every time, now I check myself and carry on my own path, let them moved aside instead – so many times they completely, like a refusal to give way, keep coming on, then are astonished/annoyed that I expected from them what they expected from me (it is in fact less, I just expect the courtesy of being able to walk on the pavement, they expect me to walk into the traffic). And breath, rant over, humans, huh?!

Space Hippo is a case in point of how dumb humans can be; why is a hippo sent into space? – because all life on earth will be wiped out in five years and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Yes, you’re right, there is absolutely no follow-on logic there, this is the bizarre premise of Space Hippo but considering some the world leaders around today, hmmm. This is like an epic sci-fi movie, but told using shadow puppets projected on to a large screen. A poor female hippo is captured and sent into space, this is her story, meeting aliens, being used, lied to, befriended, getting caught up in an intergalactic war and ultimately discovering the power within herself. I told you it was epic!

The two puppeteers are amazing using over two hundred shadow puppets whilst also performing all the characters’ voices. The story whips along with laugh out loud bits along with wry and poignant moments; it is quite out there but if you see it, I’m sure it will charm you too ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A very different puppet show is Famous Puppet Death Scenes, this is dark, very dark, unsettling, grotesquely funny. Oh, it’s very funny if you have a macabre sense of humour; lots of puppets die, one poor thing dies over and over. The puppet show stage set is impressive and there’s quite an Edward Gorey feel to the whole thing. Mind, the first death will make most think of Monty Python as the big foot comes down. Catching strange and wonderful shows like this and Space Hippo is what the Fringe is all about ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Famous Puppet Death Scenes has an air similar a Tiger Lillies performance, their music would be the perfect accompaniment to it. Speaking of the Tiger Lillies, they’ve finally returned to the Fringe with a new show One Penny Opera, I have a ticket for next week, yay.

And now, something completely different Accordion Ryan’s Pop Bangers playing at the Counting House as part of the Free Fringe and popping up in various places during the day. He is the sweetest guy, a gentle, laidback soul, who (you may have worked it out) plays the accordion, rather well. The show is mainly his twist on popular pop songs but he sneaks in a few of his own compositions (I do like the Holister song). He arrived in Edinburgh a few weeks ago now, I first saw him performing at Whistlebinkies’ Open Mic Night and made a mental note. At 22:15 in an evening it’s a good time when folk will be up for taking a chance on a free show. He is highly entertaining with his mix of music and comedy, not for the prudish though! I’ll probably go see him again before the end of the Fringe ⭐⭐⭐⭐

That’s your lot for today, I’ll leave you with a pic of my latest Fringe mementos. The programme from Famous Puppet Death Scenes with a selection of cut-outs on the back to make my very own puppet death scene; and the Mochinosha Puppet Company’s comic book/flyer for Space Hippo (what a great idea!)

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!

Red hats, chest freezers and an owl

Wow, it’s Sunday, pretty sure it is, yup, my Fringe calendar shows that I saw BriTANick last night and indeed I did. This afternoon I’m staying in to fill you guys in on what I’ve enjoyed so far. What? Staying inside on a lovely Sunday afternoon when the town will be heaving with Fringey things? Well, exactly, it’ll be heaving out there and I have to write something down, all these shows are starting to merge into each other in my head, some were perfectly bizarre enough on their own without added plots. I have been out earlier in Holyrood Park, I headed up by the lesser walked Lang Rig, round to Nether Hill and down the steps, a bracing walk on such a windy morning. Washing up from the last three days finally done, I have strong coffee and a punnet of cherries to help me along.

So, how was Fritz and Matlock? Pretty good. Two friends have managed to accidentally get locked in a house basement while putting a dead body into a chest freezer down there; they’ll be unable to get out for sometime. The house belongs to Fritz’s granny and the lads have been growing marijuana in the attic, dubious characters; this is drama and dark comedy about dependency within relationships, with occasional illumination from the chest freezer. Its well acted, well written and well conceived, it struck a chord with this moose.⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Pleasance Courtyard in The Attic)

I was back up in The Attic the following morning for Who Here’s Lost? an utterly delightful monologue by Ben Moor. The hour slips away as our narrator tells a tale about going on a road trip with his ex-mother-in-law who is dying from cancer; it’s funny, heart-warming, surreal, recognisable, beautifully eloquent. I really enjoyed it and intend to pop up to the Courtyard just after he’s finished one day as I want to buy the book of it (didn’t have any cash on me at the time), oo, and there’s a badge too, yay ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the Pleasance Courtyard I headed to the Pleasance Dome for The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much by the Voloz Collective. The blurb in the Fringe had “Chaplin meets Hitchcock meets spaghetti western ….. live music ….. Lecoq-trained physical theatre company” how could I not see it? (great promo pic too, quirky, intriguing) Live musical accompaniment can really enhance a show, this guy played keyboards, guitar and harmonica (well if you’re gonna get a musician in, might as well get one who can play a few instruments). Could the Voloz Collective deliver what seemed promised? Yes, and how, with impeccable timing and nuances. Physical, comic theatre at its best, and that red hat amid the grey, loved it. Definitely gonna be one of my top shows this year (yes, three weeks still to go, it’s that good) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While I’m on about the best ones so far let’s stay in the Pleasance Dome and go back a day to when I saw Crybabies: Bagbeard. Picked because the blurb said Absurdist and “a sci-fi infected narrative sketch adventure”, the pic was too dark to inform further. By George, my fringedar was right on the bullseye with this one, these lads are great. Right from the first scene, so, so funny and inventive, and the owl. I lost it when the owl appeared, not just because it was a ridiculous costume (that looked more like a strange bat to me) but it looked like John-Luke Roberts had just wandered into their show (it so looked like something he’d come up with and the chap is not dissimilar to him). And Victor Valentine – this character (and only when he was playing this one character) so made me think of the crazed FBI agent in one of my favourite films The Frighteners.

Crybabies:Bagbeard is hilarious, ridiculous, sweet, quite bonkers, there is a very good, clever plotline in there amongst the laughs. Another top Fringe delight for me. So what if there was a slight technical mishap, it was the first preview and they handled it well ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Must finish here just now. I do need to eat before my next show.

Toodle pip!

It’s started, cue the drizzle

Yes, it’s Preview Wednesday and right on cue the sky is completely grey and a gentle drizzle is alternating with a fine mizzle (the wetness just hangs in the air more with a mizzle, drizzle goes downwards). As this is a Brave New fringe my old habits are being reassessed for compatibility. For instance, I haven’t left Shakespeare For Breakfast til later, first morning in, bang! Seen. Actually it was more like Shakespeare For Brunch, this year they’re putting on a second performance each morning at 11:15 – rather good for folk who could never be up and at a venue by 10:00. Different venue again this year, an old favourite of mine, Roman Eagle Lodge or as it’s proper title C Aquila.

Ah, back queuing up those stairs to the very top room, but what’s this? The croissants weren’t just left on the seats, they were by the coffee (or tea or orange juice) at the entrance! While I applaud this change, no more wasted croissants, it does mean I don’t get to grab a few left ones as I’m leaving. How was the show? Very different to previous SfB productions, first and most obvious there’s only three players, one of whom is definitely much older than the usual demographic (not that there’s anything wrong with that, he’s probably younger than me actually); I don’t think I’ll be the only regular who’ll be like, oh, ok, not the same vibe. But it is cheesy in parts, some good groans, some not so good groans, great opening song, the usual bit of audience anticipation (just the one bit for one audience member).

This year’s breakfast dish is The Winter’s Tale, they asked the audience if anyone knew it, erm, I did it at A-level but remember only a smidgen, wasn’t about to admit to it. Oh, exit, pursued by a bear, I remember that, of course! Actually, once the story got underway a lot of it did come back to me but I couldn’t seem to recall Leontes hiring a private detective to look for his daughter, hmmm. Yes, Shakespeare with added film noir, oh and a ukulele (yay! There was a guitar played too in the play but ukuleles are way cooler). Not the best SfB production I’ve seen but it ranks pretty high, and bear in mind that was the first day. I’ll give it just a smidgen off four stars.

That wasn’t actually my first Fringe show this year, I saw that yesterday. Monkey Barrel Comedy decided to start a few previews early, it was a fairly easy choice to pop my Fringe22 cherry with John-Luke Roberts: A World Just Like Our Own, But…. He did not disappoint! On stage with just a washing machine with an old slimline corded phone in the powder tray, he told us about so many worlds like our own but for one thing, there were an awful lot of them, of course I remember it was very, very funny but few actual details. Two that really stuck with me were a world where corpses are buried feet first, so that if there’s a zombie outbreak it would like a game of Zombie Whac-A-Mole as they rose up; the other involved a cat and little red laser dots, I’ll say no more on that one.

The phone was there to enable other John-Luke Roberts from other worlds to phone him, he’d ask them about their worlds and whether they were happy. There is a reason for the washing machine but you’ll have to see the show to find that out, it is integral to the arc as JLR slowly reveals more, silliness and absurdity mix with pathos and profundity. I love this man that he can make me weep tears of laughter and recognition. A definite ☆☆☆☆☆

I’ve actually just finished this post off much later in the day as I had to shoot off to see another show. It was Fritz and Matlock in the Attic at the Pleasance Courtyard, more details next time; just mentioning it because I saw it purely by luck. Coming out of Shakespeare For Breakfast I debated whether to head home via the Royal Mile or the longer way by Teviot Square, the long way I decided. I fell into conversation with a girl with a small inflatable cow in her bag (as you would), of course it was to do with a show, would I like a free ticket? I wasn’t entirely sure it would fit into the day’s schedule but I took it, and phew it did, quite nicely in fact.

More from me about today tomorrow, I’m not too sure how or when as I have five shows lined up. I’ll probably put the odd pic up on Instagram and Facebook (Bruce T Moose). I’ll leave you with an old pic inside Roman Eagle Lodge, and yes the old stair lift is still there. Toodle pip!

Stannah Stair Lift to heaven?!