Silliness, Inc.

Come on, moose, focus! No playing out in the sun ’til you’ve written up a few more reviews. Well, as I stuck that pic up of The Establishment poster form 2017 at the end of my last post, let’s start with them. Yesterday I caught up with Neil Frost’s and Dan Lees’ latest Fringe offerings. The Establishment may have disestablished itself but these two have plenty going on. I had already PWYC for Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, then just a couple of weeks ago I spotted that The Flop: A Band of Idiots was back (I failed to see it last year, yes failed, I did try hard) at Banshee Labyrinth, yay.

Neil Frost is at the Blundabus, a fitting setting for such an anarchic silly sense of humour. It is a small venue and he will talk to you wherever you choose to sit, but he’s very lovely and friendly so don’t let that put you off seeing this delightful show. You may wonder five minutes in what the show’s title is about, he’s still on his first riff dressed up like a scary psycho mouse, it’s actually a bittersweet look back at parts of his childhood. Neil Frost is obviously around ten years younger than myself as he thought Timmy Mallet was great in the 80s, really, he wasn’t. The show is on at 8pm in the Blundabus, which is next to the Potterow underpass (its passed by all the time by folk going between the Old Town/ Cowgate area and the university area around Teviot); definitely worth pausing there for 45 minutes to recharge your funny bone ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots wasn’t listed in the Fringe programme (it is now in the online version) but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt these last few years it’s that the Absurdists like to keep folk on their toes, always check the free fringe stuff regularly, the silliest comedy is worth the hunt. The Flop are the other half of The Establishment, Dan Lees, a third of Privates Tom Curzon and Cammy Sinclair, three gents who can make you laugh just by standing still. What a wonderfully musical and cathartic hour! Again, some friendly audience interaction, the front row seats are not to be feared, embrace your inner child and have fun. Besides being rather good at physical comedy our trio are musicians also, Dan on electric guitar, Cammy on percussion and Tom on strings, yes, he’s brought his double bass along again and a violin. If you’re not grinning from ear to ear by the end of the show, well, there’s no hope for you, I’m afraid.⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots is the perfect follow-on to Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, and time for a beer or two in between. Be warned though, like last year this is going to get very popular so head to Banshee Labyrinth up to an hour before and pick up a token from the bar to ensure you’ll get in; they’ll appreciate it if you stay in there drinking but you can toddle back a while.

And while I’m talking silly, Grubby Little Mitts at Assembly George Square Studio 4 at 14:45 is very silly. Sullivan Brown is a lovely chap (Russian Roulette) and this year he’s up with a new show with Rosie Nicholls, obviously I was going to see it. Funny, subversive, charming, dark, daft; Sullivan does blustering magnificently and Rosie is marvellous, I like her, excellent character acting both of them, the two make a great team. The chaise longue plays its part well and doesn’t seem to mind being pushed and nudged around, I wonder did it come up with them or did they audition local chaise longue for the part? Oh, and this show may make you think twice before ordering a coffee anywhere later. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now where’s my sunblock?

Toodle pip!

Another sunny day in Fringeland

It’s another glorious day in old Edinburgh town, gonna be hot today, maybe I should escape the Fringe madness for a couple of hours and go down to Portobello beach, soak up a few rays. For the Fringe acts this is the day it gets real – the giddiness of arriving in Edinburgh, previews, first weekend going wild, the packed houses of the 241 days, that’s all done now. Of course, apart from the initial Yay! We’re in Edinburgh! the PWYC (pay what you can) shows and the Free Fringe hit reality sooner, especially as folk (myself included) will have been making the most of the cheap offers, but now the pendulum swings the other way. The free Fringe shows puts the punters in charge of how much a show is worth, do they pay a tenner for a show that turns out to be rubbish or see a show that may turn out to be really good and worth every penny of that tenner? Or fiver or fifteen pounds if you’re really flush.

Today is also the day the Half Price Hut usually opens for business, sadly it’s no longer on the Mound and open until nine o’clock in the evening so that revellers can decide on a whim to take in a show as part of their evening. Instead, this year the day’s offers will be posted online and must be bought by six o’clock at the Fringe Box Office – am I the only one that thinks this is rather rubbish? For starters, the Fringe was going to make itself more popular with locals, hmmm, be at work, get home, eat, maybe a change of clothes, catch the bus into town and have already decided what you want to see, all by quarter to six?? (There will be a queue at the box office, let’s face it) Sorry, if you have a day job to go to and don’t live in the very centre of town you can forget HPH-ing for a fun evening.

The Hut’s old location also gave flyerers somewhere else to hang around, ready to give punters that extra push towards their show, the Royal Mile is packed enough as it is. There were obviously staff rotas for up until nine previously, so why not until nine now to help manage the crush there’s going to be late afternoon? Anyone who’s been on the Royal Mile in the last week knows it’s back up to peak capacity already in the afternoon; the times and place may deter some from bothering to get HPH tickets. I get that the old Hut was past it’s sell date and the Fringe don’t have the funds right now to get another one, but surely there’s a business in Edinburgh or Scotland that would like the publicity and prestige of putting up the dosh for a new hut? We need a new hut and laserboard, next year will do.

End of unexpected rant. Normal service will resume next post.

Toodle pip!

coming up next time, the Establishment comes apart!

Don’t worry madam, he’s a trained stunt dog.

Another sweltering night in Auld Reekie, the cars go swooshing by outside, the occasional drunk screeches her boyfriend’s name, a nearby gate gratingly squeals open and clatters shut again. Ah, the Gotham effect! Love that show, sooo stylish.

And a duo who definitely have their own distinct style would be The Establishment, not unlike a couple of really creepy henchmen, who you may be fooled into thinking are just buffoons but they’re really creative geniuses in the art of psychological torture. Do go see them😆  This year they’re doing two shows, Fool Britannia which runs right through to the final Sunday and Le Bureau de Strange just two nights where they’ll have “very special guests”. I’ll fit in Fool Britannia but I have a number of late night shows to choose from and at my age beauty sleep is essential!

Another duo, possibly the most distinctively recognisable duo at the Fringe for more than ten years are Gamarjobat; a mohawk-sporting, shades-wearing mime comedy act from Japan. Yeah, I know, mime, a word that can inspire almost as much disdain as juggler, but these guys are seriously and uproariously brilliant at it! They should be, they’ve been doing it for yonks.

The first couple or so years I think they were just a street show, then in 2006 Bud and I saw their first proper Fringe show and the following two years. In 2008 was probably the first time the second half of the show was The Boxer not a million miles from Rocky in it’s storyline, this was mime on another level, to this day a standout Fringe moment for me (and probably Bud too, he was a big fan of Rocky and got bits that I missed). They still perform on the street when they’re here, so even if you don’t go to the show you can catch them, still mohawked!

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.

Local prices for local people

Those lovely folk at Assembly Festival are putting on a special offer to local residents. From the 2nd to the 6th we can buy tickets for a fiver for shows at their venues (proof of being local like a utility bill required). So who was I to refuse?

I’ve just about wrapped up my preview shows but nothing much further. A quick reconnoitre of my possibilities and the venue show lists, five shows presented themselves, utility bill found, five tickets bought (and no booking fee!), huzzah!

One show I’m really looking forward to is The Establishment: Eton Mess at the Omnitorium. I saw them last year the Dragonfly bar, quite odd, surreal and slightly discomforting but still somehow charming and so terribly British. I reckon the Omnitorium will be a great venue for them, as it too is quirky but with its own charms. It came into being last year and a real ragtag bunch of vaudevillian oddities gathered to it, not the least of whom were the irrepressible Boris and Sergey and huzzah, they’re back again. I love those guys!