So a phoenix, a bear and a monster walk into a bar….

Actually it’ll be myself going to the bar between shows šŸ˜Š Yes, the full Fringe programme is out! An intense first check through over three days, eighty two cuttings, several G&Ts and some of teeth gnashing later, I have bought my first batch of tickets: twelve previews and the Sleeping Trees’ Christmas Special. Yay!

First preview night this year will be Nick Helm: Phoenix From The Flames, Ben Pope: Dancing Bear, and Alice Snedden: Absolute Monster. Nicely spaced over the evening and not too late to bed afterwards. Nick Helm, just because! Ben Pope, umm, is it the bear thing? I have seen previous good reviews for him (and who didn’t smirk on seeing theĀ  wordsĀ popeĀ andĀ bearĀ so close together?!).Ā  Alice Snedden I know nothing about apart from the blurb in the programme but she’s a kiwi and that’s enough in my book to warrant a preview ticket.

20180825_171401And on kiwis, I’m off to the Modern Maori Quartet’s Garage Party on the Thursday night, looking forward to seeing them again (that’s yours truly with three quarters of them last year)

I don’t have a ticket yet for the wonderful Sarah Kendall, but as her previews are Ā£8 I’m holding off in the hope that Assembly will do the locals’ tickets for a fiver thing again (just up to the end of the first weekend I think). There’s another five or six shows in that particular queue; if Assembly don’t come through for me they’ll all go into my Half Price Hut hopefuls pile.

The Sleeping Trees: Christmas Special is just on for one night so I had to, had to, had to get a ticket! Well, actually I got two, the show has the Fringe Friends’ 241 offer on it, so at Ā£15 for one ticket (yikes), it made sense to get the second ticket – I’ll sort out a chum to chum me later.

Oo, I’m starting to get a bit excited now. Only fifty days to go!

Sweet dreams!

 

Bears and foxes and sockses, oh my!

Yes, there’ll be bears and a fox and a pair of socks at the Fringe this year, yay! After a year off Goodbear are back with Dougal, no, not the dog, it’s the name of their new show. Oo, I might even make that a first night show, it’s always good to start well and I’m sure Mr Barnes and Mr Perryment will not disappoint me.

The Abbott and Costello of the sock world, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are back with Roll Up! I’ve been following their show development throughout the year on Facebook, bits have come and gone, and there’s plenty of video footage. I expect it honed to perfection by August!

And the Fox? Why, it’s my childhood hero Basil Brush! Apparently he sounds slightly different these days, but it was forty plus years ago when I was watching him on the telly. If only he’d come to the Fringe in 2015 – he could have met up with his old pal Rodney Bewes (this tablet wants to make him Rodney Beers! No, tablet demon, it’s Bewes). Mr Rodney was Basil’s side-kick in 1968, he’s the first one I can remember. After that there was Mr Derek, he stayed around a few years and was very good, but my favourite side-kick/straightman was Mr Roy, I loved it when he would grab Basil’s snout in exasperation to shut him up (while trying not to laugh).

Turns out Basil first appeared on telly as a support act to a magician before getting his big break with his own tv show. He was very influenced by Terry Thomas, he liked the charm and droll wit, and was always seen wearing a cravat (and comparing his clothes to now, he definitely had a better tailor back then, probably Saville Row). The stars were all queuing up to be on his show, Lulu, Cilla Black, Demis Roussos, to name a few, all eager to duet with him. Yes, Basil was so popular he even made a cameo appearance inĀ The Goodies Rule-OK?Ā 

Indeed, I shall have to go see the Fox, why, I learnt all my wit, humour and sarcasm from him (and Dougal, yes, the dog, and Brian). I wonder, will he still talk about Dirty Gertie from Number Thirty?! Does he still have that laugh? He must still use his catchphrase. Until next time, my friends,

Boom! Boom!

 

Seeing double

I do like a good laugh (really? I never would have guessed) and there are plenty to be had at the Fringe, as long as your Fringe-dar is working well. You’ll know it needs resetting when the third show in a row just doesn’t work for you (it happened to me some years ago, I still shudder remembering that day).

My fringe-dar was working well when I first picked up on Goodbear a few years ago. This year it bleeped at The Intimate Strangers: Mr Bond. Yes, it’s working fine, these two are very good. They have some great ideas and twists, some pure genius, but there’s something not quite right yet, something needs something!? Heck, I’m only a moose, sometimes words fail me. I do hope they return, I want to see them back next year, I’d definitely get a ticket.

Another duo new to me are Studio 9, though I think they are Fringe veterans from another show. These two are what I think The Intimate Strangers could be, again great writing and ideas, these two have a great chemistry and perfect timing with each other, needed for the pace they go at. Really liked the seagull sketch, one of those that sneaks up and grabs you by the funny bone.

Oo, another duo I saw early on, The Establishment, playing at the Omnitorium this year. I caught them towards the end of the Fringe last year, an unexpected delight of whimsy and absurdity, so glad they’re back. The Omnitorium is a great venue for them, being odd and quirky with a slight air of anything could happen. The show is ridiculously bonkers, as two terribly British chaps they are wonderful but there’s a sinister layer underneath bubbling away. I did feel the material was a bit thinner by the end, but still entertaining.

There was a bit recently on the BBC News website about whether comedy duos have had their day, judging by this lot I’d say there’s new day dawning for duos.

Never babysit an anxious hound.

Really, don’t! Even in the night I’d be disturbed by my door opening as he checked I was still there. So no fringe shows, just walking and more walking. We did take a brief trip down to Portobello beach for a run on the sand followed by coffee at Miro’s on the Esplanade, ok, so we had cake too. Damn fine coffee, friendly table service, scrumptious sticky toffee cake, just a shame pooch wasn’t one for chilling and watching the world go by. Thankfully he went home this morning, yay.

So from paranoid pooches to good bears – I much prefer a Goodbear! Goodbear are a comedy duo, Henry Perryment and Joe Barnes who are now finely tuned to tweaking funny bones. This is the third year I’ve seen them at the Fringe and they just get better and better. This year the Apres Vie Hotel is the setting for their strange, often rather creepy, creations in sketches which twist in the most unexpected ways. It’s the twists that they do so well and they’re so charming too. I predict great things for both of them.

Also back was Aidan Goatley doing an updated version of his 2013 show Ten Films With My Dad, which was a free show at the Voodoo Rooms, next he moved to the room downstairs at Ciao Roma. TOP TIP – buy some of their icecream if you’re going to a show at Ciao Roma because i) it’s bloody roasting down there, and ii) it’s sooo good, I would recommend a scope of the sea buckthorn with a scope of the mango, heaven in a tub!

Last year Aidan moved on to the paying Fringe, which was ironic as I bought a ticket at the Half Price Hut for Ā£4 – I always give a fiver at free fringe shows! He is an hour of joy and amusement at life’s foibles, there is an occasional slight rant, like last year’s about “street food” on which I am in total agreement with him. This year’s rant was about Avatar and again I find myself supporting his stance, quite obviously a man of intellect and taste. Highlight was his telling of going to Chicago with his Dad, with his synopsis of Escape to Victory a close second. He’s finished his Fringe run for this year, worth remembering his name for next year.

Let’s make this a trio of rib ticklers and mention Sleeping Trees, who have moved to Pleasance Dome this year, once again at the Movies: Mafia, Western and Sci-fi. The live score is superb and adds so much to the show. The physical and verbal comedy of these chaps is outstanding with some surrealism thrown in for good measure. They’re also doing Sleeping Trees and the Chocolate Factory again at the Pleasance Courtyard on Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s not in the Fringe Programme so almost feels like a cosy secret for the fans. Which reminds me I really should get a ticket!

 

It’s oot!

It’s out and I’ve just finished my first trawl through the Edinburgh Fringe Programme. Immediate thoughts – it’s looking quite good, I’ve already earmarked about 60-70 possibilities, this will be whittled down later and more will be added with each trawling. A few definite must-sees for me are Goodbear, Sleeping Trees, Aidan Goatley, the wonderful Thom Tuck and Shakespeare for Breakfast. Oh, and after a year off, I’m delighted to see that once again This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie at 2pm on Saturday 19th August. Well worth walking up the hill for, and the show will go on in almost any weather!

One omission from this year’s programme are the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, regulars at the Fringe for the last ten years or so. I’ll miss those little chaps, think Abbott and Costello as socks and a tad ruder! They have plenty of stuff on YouTube worth a look, including a duet with Dean Friedman of his classic Lucky Stars (if you’re old enough to remember it from 1978 check it out).

Ah such is the Fringe, shows come and shows go.