Some bad news, sad news, good news and reviews

Godammit! I was too late to get a ticket to see The Flop: A Band of Idiots tonight! There’s now a highlighted note on my Fringe calendar to be outside the Banshee Labyrinth ten minutes before the hour before tomorrow evening. The sad news is Barry Ferns has cancelled his Arthur’s Seat shows, I was perusing what was on today as I breakfasted and spotted it; good to know, but as it was already it in my head that I’d be ascending the Seat I decided to head up anyway. It was a good day for it – warm but overcast with a pleasant breeze.

Good news, the lovely Tim Fitzhigham is doing a show (a as in just one) at the Pleasance Courtyard Cabaret Bar and I have a ticket for it, huzzah! It’s not listed in the Fringe programme (well, not as yet), I happened to be looking at something else on the Pleasance website, then of course, I fell down the rabbit hole, at least it wasn’t another waste of time!

This year’s Fringe has been odd for trying to keep up with all the updates, no doubt at some point I’ll find out that I missed something I would have dearly loved to have seen. The Free Festival announced today that they have added a significant number of extra shows, extended the run a day to end on the 30th and earlier this week added a new venue at Bar 50. Things are obviously going very well for them, yay! And speaking of updates, there’s four shows I’ve seen but not mentioned yet, so, in chronological order this time (it would be hard to call between three of them).

I saw A Highly Suspect Murder Mystery in theSpace @ Symposium Hall. Umm, it was fun but the interactive part of it worked better for some than others. They had printed sheets for audience members who couldn’t access the clues and stuff that were online (new phone, me, I joined up with two ladies next to me). There were a few questions to ponder and solve, and plenty of interacting with the characters between their set pieces. Interestingly, the set-up had Dr Watson, a few years after the death of his wife and Holmes (almost deja vu!), he’s moved back into Baker Street; Mrs Hudson, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes are with him trying to solve the mystery – but could one of them be a killer?!

We had to figure out the how & why for not one but two murders! I was very impressed when one of the ladies next to me seemed to quite easily spot one of the how’s, it really was not obvious at all. I did enjoy the show, the actors stayed in character well. They could have had something telling us where to go online before the show began to save some time (many folk had turned their phones off what with being in a theatre!)

Next up, Joke Thieves at the Counting House, so a PWYC show, I’d already done that online to get a ticket. This year a lot of folk are booking and paying in advance for PWYC shows (Pay What You Can), there haven’t been many seats left for walk-in’s at the shows I’ve been to, so booking is a good idea (there are usually a few different prices you can choose from, just like you would choose what to give at the end of a free show).

Joke Thieves is an interesting concept hosted by Will Mars, four comedians perform their own jokes, then each others’. Will asked a member of the audience to pair up the comedians to show that nothing could have been rehearsed for the second part. Obviously every show will be completely different; some comedians may be meaner than others with the material they set their pairing up with; the second two of the second of the pairs (are you still with me here?) may want to retaliate somewhat for how the first two pairings of the second half have retold their jokes. I hadn’t really thought about it much before I went in, other than thinking it could be fun. It was! As I said every night will be different but its worth a punt.

Last night I saw Nathan Cassidy: Bumblebee in Bar 50. He’s been around the Fringe a number of years but I’ve never seen him before. Okay, so with the shortage of In Person shows, I decided to give him a shot and am pleased I did, he was really rather good; I would go and see him again next year. The pacing of the narrative was good, I enjoyed his delivery, and I would agree, Idris Elba is way hotter than Bradley Cooper.

So I didn’t see Barry Ferns today, but I did see Adele Cliff at 32 Below. She seems to be doing very well, extra shows added on for her. She’s rather sweet and so young! I did worry a bit if I’d just not be on the same level as her, like, what common areas could we possibly share? Well, there’s mothers who want to know everything, I feel her pain there. It was a light, entertaining hour in which she managed to confound many of my expectations. Nice one!

That’s it for another evening, I must away to my bed. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like to catch more reviews and other tales, I always post a link on Facebook, look up Bruce T Moose.

Toodle pip!

On top of the world! Well, Edinburgh.

Some nonsense is good, some is just nonsense.

Yesterday I caught three more shows, a lot of sitting around in darkened rooms, so I had a brisk walk around the Park and a strong coffee beforehand. Ah, I haven’t had a coffee yet, excuse me. That’s better, I’ll crack on. The third show I saw and am gonna give third place in ranking was Drown Your Sorrows in theSpace @ Symphony Hall. It wasn’t a good start when the music was too loud for the actors to be heard! Luckily the music wasn’t on long but even then some of the lines seemed a tad gabbled; what ever happened to enunciation and projection?! Mind, this was their first night so hopefully some director’s notes will steer them right.

Sorry, but much as I wanted to enjoy it, I did find it a bit lame. Oh, some in the audience, one area in particular, found it immensely funny – maybe they were in the sweet acoustic spot! Oh, it wasn’t all bad, the plot was okay and a few great moments and ideas. I bet in a normal Fringe year they’d be out flyering in the dinghy on the Royal Mile, oh they should do that anyway, grab any attention they can!

In second place I’ll put Kate Smurthwaite: The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi. She was in the Cinema Room at the Banshee Labyrinth, a small but sweet venue with well tiered, comfy seats. Having been pre-warned about the Banshee Labyrinth’s system, I turned up very early so that I could collect a “ticket” and head back into the sunshine awhile. It’s a PBH’s Free Fringe venue but the bar room and nooks and crannies, especially this year, are too small for the amount of people who might be wanting to hang around to catch a show (the shows here are always very popular). “Tickets” are available for each show up to an hour in advance from the man at the door, that way they can say when there’s no seats left (sometimes within five minutes the tickets being up for grabs), a much more civilised way than an arm across the venue doorway just after your friends have all got in and you’re left out!

That’s a great surname Smurthwaite! What with that and Fihalhohi in the show title, I had to go check it out, plus the blurb, “the most mind-blowing lockdown story you’ll ever hear”. It’s certainly a lockdown story that’ll be very hard to beat, it’s almost like a Bond movie – exotic islands, dramatic action, intrigue, a villain, a go-to guy, and, of course, some saucy shenanigans. It is good tale but one little niggle – as the time went by the narration became a bit clunky, like a slide projector clunking between slides. It may well have just been me that noticed it, but I suddenly had a vivid recollection of a teacher telling me that while my story was good, I should come up with other ways to say “and then”, funny the things that come back to you! Niggle aside, I did enjoy it, she is quite a lady!

My top spot for yesterday goes to Rob Duncan and Dan Lees: Extreme Nonsense. I was looking forward to this show – Dan Lees is one half of The Establishment, an absurdist duo who’ve been entertaining/disturbing me for a few years now. You’ll spot the title has just two names in it but there was another on stage with them, one third of Privates! Oh yay! These three gents are all very tall which added to the comedy as there was a large beam across the ceiling just above the front area of the stage – rather lower than all of them! Dave Alnwick must not be as tall as them, that or he kept well back from it! Once again I was in the cellar bar at the Canon’s Gait, in the same seat too (do other folk also tend to gravitate to seats they’ve sat in before?).

A seriously silly show! Not to everyone’s taste, these guys really know their absurdities. Some of it can almost come across as sinister and creepy, it doesn’t help knowing you have no clue what they might do next, well, maybe another refrain of “Call me Daddy”? Dan plays guitar for the songs, then Tom joined in on violin, he was rather good, I won’t say what he pulled out of the Gents loo at the side of the stage but he was rather good on that too! To be fair to the other shows I’ve reviewed, there were a few misses in this for me – they were too absurd?!

Hey, this means that though Privates have not brought their new show up to the Fringe, I will get to see all three of them! The other two thirds of Privates are up with their solo shows, yes, of course I have tickets. Anyway, must dash, I have a show to go to!

I just noticed the date…..

Whoa! Friday the 13th, that snuck up quietly! I wonder if today’s topic at Stand-Up Philosophy will be something about being superstitious? I’m not particularly superstitious myself, I’ll happily walk under a ladder, on the other hand I always salute the first magpie I see any day, even if I have to do it surreptitiously. Will there be any Fringe performers being extra exact in any little rituals they may have, to overt any bad luck floating around looking for victims today?

There’s a young chap, David Alnwick, who’s got three different magic shows in three venues every day for the full run of PBH’s Free Fringe – Friday the 13th could be just the day to see his show Nightmare Magic! That’s his last show every day at 8.20pm in Banshee Labyrinth (did he want specifically want that venue for that show? The names do fit so well). Oo, he’ll have started his first show of the day Super Chill Magic in the back lounge at Pilgrim Bar. After a chilled beginning, he’s ready to show off some Exceptional Magic in the Canon’s Gait cellar bar at 5.20pm.

How long before he does the wrong act in the wrong bar? Starts one magic trick that somehow morphs into a different one halfway? Smashes a bunny with a hammer? Sorry about that last one but it popped into my head as soon as I started thinking about mishaps of an overworked magician. I’m sure there’ll be no rabbits in any of his shows and he’ll be young, eager and bright enough to sail through a Fringe doing sixty plus shows! Yeah, I have to give at least one of them a go. I wonder if anyone’s been to see all three shows in the one day? Hmmm.

Toodle oo, mes amis.

○ □ ~ + ☆

I have now seen David Alnwick’s Exceptional Magic and indeed it is! I definitely intend to see his evening show now, and have been warned to get the Banshee Labyrinth an hour early to grab a “ticket” to get in, apparently they can disappear very quickly (like magic!). He does like to get folk up to help out in Exceptional Magic but no worries, he’s a lovely chap. The seating in the Canon Gait’s cellar bar is different from previous years and better for it, I reckon. You’ll get why I used those symbols above if you go to see the show!