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!

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?!

300 not out! Who’d have thunk it!

Did someone have a bad case of insomnia in the early hours?! Why do I ask? First off, I’ll level with you, this blog doesn’t have a big following, to describe it as small would be generous, hey ho, I’m hardly doing it for fame and fortune! If I brighten up someone’s day, give a little light insight into Edinburgh and it’s Fringe, I’m good with that. Anyways, when I checked in on my blog this morning the stats page showed that one person (in the UK) read twenty posts in the time since midnight. If you’ve come back for more, hello there, and if that insomnia is chronic, there are another 280 posts for you during those long, sleepless hours, maybe some of the duller ones will help you nod off.

I said the numbers involved because this happens to be my 300th blog post!! Yup, hang out the bunting, bake a cake, call a psychiatrist, that’s a lot of musings. Maybe I should pop out, get a few more pears and make that cake that I tried out last week (no, I didn’t freeze any of it, it all got guzzled down); doesn’t everyone keep a supply of eggs, marg, caster sugar and flour in? Kitchen necessities, don’t you know. 300 is an odd number, there are noughts involved so that’s like a landmark, but it’s not as standout as 100 or 500, know what I mean? At least it shows I’ve stuck with it, I don’t think my family and friends thought it would last long, just a daft bit of nonsense.

A little investigation showed that my reader read through all my posts from last August, hmmm. A Fringe fan? Or they randomly came across my first post of last year’s Fringe and carried on reading? A performer having a read how last year went? A Fringer checking me out, they like my style and now want to give me a free ticket so that I’ll review their show! Hey, it could be, don’t laugh there. Just last month I was offered a free ticket in order to get a show reviewed, yes, me! I felt quite flattered, then I read the contact form again. It was obviously a standard letter sent to any number of reviewers at the Edinburgh Fringe, hey, at least they’d picked up on me, that’s something.

Did i take them up on it? No, why? It’s a free ticket! Look I really umm-ed and ahh-ed about it. First off, it’s a play in that venue, the venue that really sucks, the venue I’ve never seen anything half decent in, St Augustine’s or as it’s called in August Paradise in Augustine’s (it really isn’t). That was almost enough right there, then I read the play description again and well, it’s obviously a very serious drama, a social commentary, sounds really earnest, not really my bag. Okay, so I’d be there to review it, but that little inner voice niggled and jabbed away at me. They’re only doing a short run, anyway, what difference would a review by me have made? I almost took up the offer just to put two fingers up to my negative fish.

All this is not to say I would turn down any other offers of free tickets, I’m available for reviews after Saturday 6th, just saying. I’m seeing sixteen shows up until then, Sunday may need to be spent chilling somewhere quiet if I’m not stuck at a keyboard typing furiously. I do wonder whether I’d feel slightly obligated on a free ticket, could I be a hard-nosed hack telling it like it is? (my nose is actually soft and squishy) I’m up for finding out.

Now I must pop out for some fruit, toodle pip!