Fringey things are afoot….

Hi there! Bruce here, coming to you from deepest dankest Yorkshire, yes, even in summer the damp is never far away. I may be away from Auld Reekie but I’m keeping tabs on what’s happening, like Fringe tickets now being on sale! One thing I managed to miss is that social distancing will be down to one metre as of the 19th July (how did I miss that?!) On the Edinburgh Fringe website it says that the Scottish Government has advised that even the one metre could be lifted on 9th August; two thoughts on this, i) I’m not going to hold my breath, and ii) its a bit bloody late to appease anyone. Did the decision for allowing the drop to one metre come too late for Underbelly? Whatever, apparently Underbelly will not be going ahead with plans for a Circus Hub venue in the Meadows.

Underbelly will be back in George Square as well as having an outdoor stage in Bristo Square. Assembly Festival will also be back in George Square Gardens with one spiegeltent and an outdoor stage. The Pleasance will be creating an outdoor stage in the Courtyard, let’s face it so many of their spaces are cramped, they couldn’t happen this year! Summerhall will also make use of their courtyard as a venue space – where will folk do their boozing and schmoozing?! Gilded Balloon will as ever be in Teviot (I guess the Wee Room won’t be used this year). Heaven knows how the smaller venues will manage, or if they’ll bother even trying.

The Edinburgh Farmer’s Market may benefit from having a new venue right next to it; the top floor of the NCP car park on Castle Terrace is to be an open air festival hub run by the Gilded Balloon, Traverse Theatre, DanceBase and Zoo Venues. At least I hope the Farmer’s Market will still be able to be in its usual spot over August, okay, yes, I am slightly troubled about this development.

Tickets for over 170 shows (but less than 180 shows, I’m guessing) are now available from the Fringe website. These can be In-person or online shows, the online shows may be scheduled or on-demand, or a show may be a mixture of the aforementioned. At quick glance it seems that if a show is both in-person and scheduled online it’s listed twice, this could take some time!!

One show that I spotted is back is that bloke atop Arthur’s Seat! Oh yay, Barry Ferns is going to back on Arthur’s Seat at one in the afternoon from 7th to 28th August, oh, with Wednesdays off and as long as his knees hold out. What with the Ferns’ return and all these outdoor stages, better pray to all the gods for a dry month!

I need some beauty sleep!

Crikey, it’s way past bedtime, I’ve got work in the morning, oh and the neighbours have just started arguing, joys! Here’s me needing my bed and Will Seaward will have just begun his midnight show, Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories VI once again in the Dining Room at the Gilded Balloon Teviot. Yes, there’s more spooky shenanigans going on, and yay, there’s the return of Louloulou and her boyfriend (whose name escapes me just now) in one of the stories. This is definitely not a show for everyone, but if you like bonkers, daft, eloquently told yarns then it may just suit!

Oo yeah, last Friday night at 22.55 I saw The Slinks in Dexter at the Underbelly Bristo Square; a show sure to divide opinion and bewilder – I’m not what I witnessed but it was whimsical, disturbing, mesmerising, kooky. Hugo Hamlet’s voice was sublime, very much reminding me of early Lou Reed. I have a friend who would so totally love this show, alas I doubt she could ever manage to stay up so late, pity.

Also a pity was the lack of audience, there was myself, two others and a couple of staff sat in. I guess the late time slot and the fact that they’re not listed in the paper-form Fringe Programme, just on the online version, may be contributing factors. If you fancy a trip to another realm one night The Slinks can take you there!

Toodle pip!

 

Who needs a good bear, when you have Camels?

Ok, so I mentioned in So long, farewell, ta-ra, toodle pip! three shows I’ve seen but hadn’t mentioned before, well, they’ve gone now anyway! Bloody good shows they were too!

What of all the other shows you’ve seen, Brucie, I hear you ask (mooses have very good hearing), and you said you’d tell us more about the early shows?! Yes, I know, but it’s hard in the madness that is Fringe to keep all one’s plates spinning. So I’ll press on and rundown my shows til I had to depart Edinburgh on my mission of mercy.

Preview Friday I managed six shows, yup, six, but that was from ten in the morning ’til one the following morning! The Shakespeare For Breakfast crew were on top form again!! I was surprised how many seats were left, hopefully they’re now selling out with their excellent modern twist on The Taming of The Shrew. A great start to my day!

Next up, new to me Camels, which excitingly was in part of the all-new singing, dancing underneath of McEwan Hall; very modern and entered via the blob thing in Teviot Square. Oo these chaps are good, recalling my Seeing double post from last year, this comedy duo make up for a lack of Goodbear this year! Tom Neenan’s: It’s Always Infinity was another corker from him (maybe not quite to the heights of last year’s Attenborough) it took a wee while to pull me in, but by the end, with the by-then obvious punchline in sight, the audience were all sitting cosily in the palm of Tom’s hand. What a piece of genius writing, long may he grace the Fringe with his wit and style! I did spot, though it took me a while, that the chap in the video clips was non other that David Reed from the Penny Dreadfuls (as is Thom Tuck).

Next up was a show in a big blue box, from Switzerland, umm, the humour just didn’t translate for me, and I’m going to leave that one at that. I recovered myself with a curry at the Mosque Kitchen for tea, first visit this Fringe and it won’t be the last; good, quick, tasty grub. I finished my day at the Gilded Balloon with first the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Superheroes, finishing with the wonderful Will Seaward now telling his ghostly tales in the Dining Room. The SFSPT:S was good but having seen plenty of trial bits previously on their Facebook page, I think some of the dumped bits were better. If you hadn’t seen them, then the show is perfectly fine with plenty of laughs and groans, and some rather obscurer fanboy jokes. Then the clock struck twelve and it was Will Time!! Nuff said really, another late hour of terrifying tales and howling horrors but in a bigger room this year!

And then it was home to bed! Well, it’s time for me to maybe venture oot into the rain. It’s been chucking down all day, hence my catching up here. Time to book a few more shows, methinks.

Toodle pip!

The bastard lovechild of Brian Blessed

So did that get your attention? This is a man who attempted alchemy to make gold, when that didn’t succeed he tried to become a supervillain, eyepatch and all, and now, still with gold in mind, this year he’s back in Edinburgh recruiting for an expedition to find El Dorado. He also lures innocents into the Gilded Room at midnight to scare the bejesus out of them with ghostly tales – it’s not called the Wee Room for nothing!

I am, of course, referring to the wonderful Will Seaward, a veteran of the Fringe. A most eloquent and exuberant fellow, full of mirth and wisdom. As when he did Alchemy, this year’s afternoon show (15.30, Heroes @ the Hive, Niddry Street) Will Seaward Goes to El Dorado, has been well researched so there’s plenty of learning with the hoots of laughter. Who knew there’d been so many attempts to find El Dorado? Who knew the Vatican may well know where it is? Who knew so many thousands died looking? And so many dangerous creatures waiting to pounce on you along the way? And he’s so jolly about how evil (but cool) most explorers were – still a touch of the supervillain there, perhaps?! I was enthused and stoked enough to sign up but I’d probably end up doing all the donkey work (I’m an educated moose, you know), no, plus this moose would find the Amazon a tad hot.

As I mentioned, Will also has a midnight show at the Gilded Balloon telling Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories (part IV). To be honest you’re more likely to pee yourself laughing than from fright. This is a gloriously silly show, though at times through the narration I noticed how hushed we’d all become as we lapped up every word, only to burst into hoots of laughter again a second later!

He is, as I would say, sooo fringe, definitely worth a punt on one or both shows, you may end up on an expedition to El Dorado! But could Will succeed in finding El Dorado, I point you to the heading, he is the bastard love child of Brian Blessed, an intrepid explorer who’s climbed mountains, gone to the North Pole AND he’s been on an expedition to the jungles of Venezuela, hmmm.