Amused mooses, ACMSs and now the Brucies

It’s late, I’ve been medicating my sore throat with strong dry cider, I think it’s working, or?! Anyhoo, Mesdames et Monsieurs, Welcome to the Bruce On The Fringe Fringe Awards 2022! These winners have been picked from 52 shows (not counting return views); there’s been some stiff competition this year – so I took a leaf out of the ACMS’s approach and made up awards to fit.

Best Zomcom: Apocalypse Kernow

Best Pomelo: Palimpsest

Best Sci-fi: Space Hippo

I’m still pondering Best Musical Moment, first nomination is the Miracle Glass Company performing Look At You Now (it was mighty fine)

Best Use of a Red Hat: The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much

Most Macabre: Famous Puppet Death Scenes

Smartest Suited: The Flop – A Band of Idiots

Second nomination for Best Musical Moment is Blueswater performing The Wizard (epic)

Best Creepy Mouse Costume: Neil Frost – Nan’s House Of Fun

Best Hans Gruber Impression: Yippee Ki Yay

Most Tenacious: Aidan Goatley

Third nomination for Best Musical Moment is Nicole Smit for every moment she’s onstage

Most August: Thom Tuck

Best Kitchen Utensils: Steve and Shirley Sieve

Best Washing Machine Operator: John-Luke Roberts

Fourth nomination for Best Musical Moment is Accordion Ryan’s ability to go so low

Most Absurd Bird Impressionist: Luke Rollason

Best Avian Messenger Trainer: Christian Brighty

Best Furniture Movers: Grubby Little Mitts

Fifth nomination for Best Musical Moment is Carl Marah not falling off his stool in Binkies

Sweetest Fringe Thing: Accordion Ryan

Sexiest Fringe Thing: Rob Kemp

Silliest Fringe Thing: Crybabies – Bagbeard

And that’s it for this year. Pardon? Who won Best Musical Moment? I’m gonna take another leaf off ACMS’s tree and not bother declaring a winner.

Toodle pip!

this year’s Bruce On The Fringe Fringe award winners

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

Some fleas are very talented

Late Sunday afternoon, the penultimate day of the Fringe, for many acts it is the final day. Earlier on the Out Of The Blue and the Improv Musical flyerers were all out in force again on the Royal Mile, come on, guys, I thought, there’s still time for something to go down. Very entertaining on the Royal Mile was a Flea Circus act that was just starting as I passed by, well, I had to go back and take a look. Not too closely mind, one look at my luxuriant fur and …. well! Doroflea, Hercuflea and Evel Knieflea are actually very skilled circus performers, an acrobat, strongman and daredevil respectively; the ringmaster was very fun with his many flea puns and he seems to treat his fleas well (I do hope it’s the same away from the showtimes).

that’s Doroflea on the highwire

It’s been a glorious day here, after my late morning saunter up the Mile I wandered round to Olly Bongo’s on Teviot Place for a spot of lunch. I am a creature of habit so, bacon, brie and cranberry panini with a white coffee, thank you. I was happily surprised that there were tables available when I peeked in, Olly Bongo’s is very popular and quite often full around lunchtime during the Fringe (always worth a look though, very tasty food). Pleasantly full I headed to join the queue outside The Jazz Bar for Blueswater Presents: Queens of the Blues; yes, another date with Nicole!

Queen of the Blues and a couple of knaves

Actually it was the third time I’ve seen her this week. No, it’s not stalking! For one thing, until I saw Blues! on Tuesday evening I wasn’t even particularly aware that she was part of that Blueswater show, and no, I didn’t go to the final ever Blues! show yesterday just for Nicole, it was a brilliant show with the most awesome rendition of The Wizard (and I got a HPH ticket). The Jazz Bar was full today, luckily I had a good view, apart from not being able to see Simon on drums, shame. Another cracking show from m’lady, in her words, an hour of sass, waffle and song. As the show title hints, she talks about the Queens of the Blues as she sings their songs; in forty, fifty years time will another young singer be putting on a Fringe show about her hero, the great Nicole Smit, who started out singing at the Fringe all those years before? I like to think so (oh, Nicole will still be going strong, and maybe one night she’ll turn up and they’ll do a duet!).

Tonight will be Accordion Ryan‘s final show, quick check on Instagram, good, nothing to say he’s had to cancel, yay, I shall be there, my fourth time – yes my fourth, I did go see him on Friday night and bagged a photo with him! (no, I’m not stalking him, it’s a free show at a time of the evening when it’s too early to go home but really, should I be having yet another drink? Answer, stay out and give Ryan my pint money). He did say he’d put in a different Ryan’s Original song, so I have to go for that and to soak up a few more happy vibes! I wonder where he’ll be heading to next, and whether he’d fancy giving an accordion and ukulele double act a go? Hahaha.

Ryan & Bruce, has a ring to it, don’t you think?

It’s just occurred to me – I haven’t made any plans for tomorrow!! If you’ve read about any of my previous end of Fringes you’ll know that wrapping up the Fringe well has always been very important to me. Final night shows have to be good, usually a favourite to end on. Erm, ahh, my end is in danger of fizzling out like the Fringe does, oh dear. Quick flick through accumulated flyers and saved cut-outs for shows seen, it looks like only the Pleasance and Gilded Balloon still have shows on tomorrow, and even at lot of theirs have finished today. No final evening show for a good send-off?! I suppose there’s the Open Mic Night at Whistlebinkies for entertainment. Hmmm, if Ryan hasn’t already left Edinburgh will he show up? That’s where I first saw him just before the Fringe, it would make for a very good bookend!

Toodle pip!

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!

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!

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!)