Twenty One Returns

That is to say, there are a number of shows that did make the effort to come to Edinburgh last year, that are back again, some did come as WIPs (Work In Progress) in ’21 so there will be changes to them. I’m excited to see Rob Kemp: Agenda in a couple of days, that was excellent last year, I wonder if I’ll spot the changes. All three Privates are back with last year’s shows, alas, again no actual Privates show even though they do have a new show Great Ideas by Geniuses, which was premiered at the Brighton Fringe earlier this year.

Due to extremely popular demand last year I didn’t get to see Tom Curzon in The Flop: A Band of Idiots but this year I’m determined (he was in another show last year which I did see but thats not being repeated). Luke Rollason and Christian Brighty were both at Monkey Barrel last year so I was able to get tickets in advance to ensure seeing them. Christian has moved over to the Pleasance Courtyard (Below), let’s start with him.

Christian Brighty: Playboy is a brilliantly silly show with plenty of bawdy Carry On style humour. One obvious change from last year – no bows and arrows left on any seats for the audience to fire at him, shame! At least in Pleasance Below there’s quite a gradient up to the tech desk, so the avian messengers had easier downward flights to the stage. Pingback back time, if it works, see last year it was A win by a gnat’s crochet for young Brighty (click on the highlighted bit to see last year’s review), could he do it again?

Well I’m pretty damn certain there was no talking armchair in Luke Rollason: Bowerbird last year! It even has a wee segment to itself when it invited someone to sit on it (the guy at the front wouldn’t, nothing would persuade him, Brighty boy was in the audience and obliged the armchair), then Luke reappeared, kind of like those little odd bits in The Young Ones, remember them?! I did think he spoke more this year, as I previously noted that it seemed almost weird when he did talk. I’ve checked and my review from last year still stands, he is A barrelful of funny. Another pingback there, do let me know if they’re not working.

But which one won the battle of the Privates this year? Oo, gonna have to say Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (and that’s not just because he had badges at the end!). Mind, if you go to either of these shows and enjoy it, then do check out the other.

This evening I trotted up to Cabaret Voltaire to see Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines last year it was Philosophy Pig – a man who doesn’t stray far from his favourite subject! Another interesting and entertaining show, oh, he did get in a mention about Andrew Nagel and his book again (well, I do recall his liking for bats). Last year Philosophy Pig did very well with plenty full audiences, mind that was a smaller room, but I’d say go for the Pay What You Can in advance option, this chap could get very popular again!

I’ll put this up I’ve seen some things, you know as it has my review of Alex Farrow: Philosophy Pig in it along with my reviews of The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Stand-Up Philosophy which are both back again. I’ve noticed that the company that put on Embassy Stomp are back again, hmmm. And John-Luke Roberts’ show was my favourite at that point of the Fringe. Ah well, it’s very late, to bed!

A barrelful of funny

Today I saw my top show of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, oh yeah! I really doubt I’ll enjoy any show more, mind there is still time for some late arrival to come and sweep me off my feet. Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (WIP) in Monkey Barrel 1 on Blair Street, so so brilliant!! Okay, the guy has an immediate headstart on being surreal just from how he looks (that may sound bad but I bet he’d agree) and the bright orange attire seems to me a choice to keep jarring on our senses.

I only rolled up five minutes before the show show due to start, well, I had a ticket, but the room was nearly full and Luke was on stage with a large lampshade covering his head, like a standard lamp from the early 70’s (when I was young most homes had a standard lamp in the front room, usually with a tassled shade, I was so jealous when a sibling inherited our grandfather’s standard lamp – it had a little book case at the bottom), I wondered how long he’d been up there. He spent the first while of the show with it still on his head too. Then he took it off and we could see his eyes.

Luke Rollason’s eyes, well; I think he was a dog in a few former lives, his eyes are so expressive, from pure unadulterated glee to proper puppy sorrowfulness. The mind behind those eyes is inventive and sharp; the humour is absurd, surreal, just plain silly but never mean or cruel, there’s a joyous innocence to it. The show was maybe a reflection of how he spent his time in lockdown and I don’t mean writing the show, I mean having long conversations with kitchen utensils and dreaming up other uses for household items – didn’t we all? Most of us don’t have the ability or temerity to follow our amusements further.

There wasn’t a wasted moment in the show while it quietly built up to such an end that my chuckles were like waves on a beach, never actually stopping, with louder guffaws bursting out suddenly. I came out of the show feeling so chilled but warm with happy and giddy with joy.

Outside the venue was the third Private, Christian Brighty, handing out flyers for his show Playboy which will be on in Monkey Barrel 4 from 20th to 22nd (I have my ticket!). I’m looking forward to his solo offering; this is like the year Bud and I saw all three of the Penny Dreadfuls do solo shows, it really showed what each of them brought to the mix. No pressure, Christian, but Luke has set the bar very high!