Just when it looked like the end, the cavalry arrived

Some shows finished up on Friday night, some yesterday, more will end today, just a few will carry on until the bitter end, tomorrow. Of course, the Free Festival actually added on a day to finish tomorrow! I know the Gilded Balloon finishes today, saw it on Facebook. I only went to one show there this year and I’m not sure if the Library Bar, a usual Fringe haunt of mine, was open as I never enquired.

Today, the final Sunday is the first time I’ll set hoof in the Pleasance Courtyard this Fringe! Usually I would have a casual wander through whenever I’m passing. Yes, today is the day Tim Fitzhigham is the Cabaret Bar (in fact it’s some years since I last saw a show in that particular room). Oo, I do hope he’s good, no, surely he won’t disappoint! He mustn’t! At least, I have the magnificent The Elvis Dead at quarter to midnight to end the night, and possibly my Fringe if there’s nothing I fancy tomorrow.

I know The Elvis Dead will be magnificent because one, I’ve seen it before, and two, Rob Kemp is awesome. I just saw his other show at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club yesterday, Rob Kemp:Agenda (WIP) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have I explained about WIP before? WIP is short for Work In Progress, ie don’t expect great things, the performer will probably be following their notes, losing their place, saying punchlines first,

《at that point my buzzer went, a fellow Tim Fan had arrived early to go to the show, so being a congenial host I paused in my writing…… so now it’s a few hours later》

Rob Kemp did all of the aforementioned, but, he was so likeable it just added to the charm of the show. It almost felt like a privilege to hear his words, his story was frank, funny and moving. And if you’ve seen Big Trouble In Little China it helps – he references it, oh, two or four times! In fact, just watch it if you can find it anyway, it’s a lot of fun, a very Eighties movie. Agenda was great and it would be good to see it again once he’s honed and polished it, but it’ll never be more honest than when I saw it as a WIP.

On to Tim Fitzhigham, yeah, his show Tim Fitzhigham: Here Now is not even at WIP stage really, more just at pre-planning, not like that would be a problem for this raconteur, anyway. He had his notes beside him and a watch to see how long he could keep going, being Tim he overran a tad but no-one, apart from a few that had a train to catch, minded. Plenty of us were obviously regulars to his shows, one group have been coming over from Portugal for ten years to see him at the Fringe; he had a great anecdote about meeting up with one of them in Portugal. Tim also recognised a chap at the end of the front row who had been his tech guy fifteen years ago, ah, he sucks us all in!

it was like Tim was a manic high from finally being back on an Edinburgh Fringe stage again. He had so much to share with us, his joie de vivre was infectious, there was new stuff and condensed classics, he even finished with his traditional final show party piece! One story we hadn’t heard before was about his Venezuelan adventure – I can’t believe he hasn’t done a whole show about it, he really should, I want to know more!!

Well, time is marching on, I could go have a drink at Stramash before heading to Monkey Barrel 4 for The Elvis Dead. I wonder what sort of music the band will be playing?

Toodle pip!

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.

Last but never least…..

Yes, I know I said “tomorrow night” over a week ago, but I’ve been busy! Yes, busy, sleeping, working, eating. I haven’t even got round to seeing Tarantino’s new film yet, though I did manage to squeeze in Toy Story 4 (again), well, it is such a perfect film (to me, maybe not to you, but it is to me) and it left me feeling all happy and fuzzy.

Happy and fuzzy are good, see that’s how I like my last evening of the Fringe to be, I like a happy, bittersweet ending. But what did I do this year? Will had already left, I felt a tad bereft! Why, Mr Seaward has been rounding off my Fringe since 2013, yes, that’s the year before he started his Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories. Let me take you back…….

Monday 26th, it was a balmy evening, myself and a few friends were drinking in the Pleasance Courtyard, well, continuing drinking after the wonder that was the final Monday show of Tim Fitzhigham: Challenger (there are those who will remember the significance of it being a final Monday show for Tim, I shall just say, legendary!!). Flyerers were hovering around, desperately trying to tempt punters into one last show; we all had work in the morning and the alcohol was fast taking effect, so no amount of cajoling could sway us but we lapped up the attention. We had a right laugh with them all, generally waylaying their spiel with “So how’s your Fringe been?” plenty were happy to sit and blether before heading off to find more potential victims.

As we sat basking in a warm alcoholic glow, and I’ll quote from my Fringe diary here “a ruddy-faced, Crystal Tipps-haired chap came over to entice us to his show, we explained it would be too late (11.30pm) but invited him to sit down and join us a while and he did. Turns out he did the Bouncy Castle shows a few years back ……….Inevitably we later decided to head to Teviot to see him.” Yes, that was Will, and we were all so charmed and drunk that we agreed just one more last show would be fine!

So we turned up for Will Seaward: Socialist Fairytales! in The Turret, front row seats, we had no fear, we had more beer! I do recall Will got one of my friends up on the stage to play a witch, the idea being he had to fight the witch and she should try to get him to the ground, he wasn’t actually expecting her to almost succeed! He admitted later that she wasn’t as drunk as he’d thought, but she was drunk enough to be determined to achieve what he’d asked of her. What a great Fringe ending, and with that a new tradition was born.

Aaaand back to 2019. For the first time ever I took the final Monday off work, well, I did have my guest still up and thought I might start some tidying round (Yeah, right, the tidying was never gonna happen). I’d bought two tickets with my Friend of the Fringe deal to see A Midsummer Night’s Droll on the Monday morning before my guest headed for the train, however a late change of plans meant an earlier train back, so I ended up going on my own, ho hum. Not that I minded, I’d picked that show as they’re one of my favourite companies of the last few years and I’d get to see Titania again! Yay!

So what did I finish 2019 with? Well, the tried and tested method myself and Bud had, was to see again something we’d seen near the start and really rated, something silly and totally Fringe. Previous last shows have included Jeremy Lion, Otis Lee Crenshaw, the Les Clöchards, and the Penny Dreadfuls (three times!). Something silly and totally Fringe, a surefire brilliant show I’d seen before…..what a minute! What about an added bonus of a show seen – but also not seen before, a show as random as the spin of a wheel! Russian Roulette!

As Will had departed, our host for the evening was Sullivan Brown (looking very dapper in a sparkly jacket), presiding over the night’s production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. I’ve never seen The Seagull before – some may say I still haven’t seen it. Oh, it was marvellous, I was riveted! The plot seemed a little bizarre but hey, it’s Russian, maybe that’s how they roll. I felt for Konstantin, and poor Nina getting dysentery, and the chap who had a faberge egg for a head!! I wasn’t expecting Rasputin to show up, and that impression he did of Christopher Walken? Mind-blowing! But how did Donald Trump get there? Okay, so I remember that it turned out to be set in space, but did I miss some time travel bit?! Oh yeah, that roulette wheel may have had something to do with it 😆

Toodle pip!

 

Shaking all over……

You know me, I do like a little Shakespeare with my Fringe! As ever, I’ve had my breakfast date with C Theatre, of coffee and croissant and their latest shenanigans, and as ever they were bloody brilliant! Shakespeare for Breakfast don’t flyer or have posters around the town, at least I’ve never seen any of either, the blurb in the Fringe programme is fun and intriguing enough to pull in newbies (and just having Shakespeare in the name helps) and there’s plenty of fans like me who go every year.

This year’s frolics put Romeo & Juliet in two warring coffee shop families. The puns were flying thick and fast with fine comedic timing; for all the fun these guys are wonderful actors who are skilled at their craft, making it look effortless. I see this year they’re also doing an evening show Shakespeare Up Late! at 9.35pm, the blurb reads “from sex toys to soliloquies”, I think we get the idea! Yay, it’s at C Aquila aka Roman Eagle Lodge, a favourite (if a tad warm) venue of mine. I shall be getting me a ticket.

Last week saw the wonderful Tim Fitzhigham and Thom Tuck take to a makeshift stage in the basement of Black Medicine to perform Macbeth in one hour. And if that wasn’t absurd enough, each day they had a different director adding to the mix, the evening I was there it was Ahir Shah, okay, so I’d never heard of him before but he was rather lovely and very funny (worth checking out, I think).

Tim and Thom together with Shakespeare, it doesn’t get anymore Fringe than that!!! Both eloquently silly, nonchalantly charming, achingly funny, and bloody good at what they do! They did include plenty of actual Shakespeare along with the laughs and Thom ended up in a long black dress and a wig as Lady Macbeth, yeah, I did half expect that to happen! I do hope they team up again another year, the chemistry between them is too wonderful not to be repeated.

The Owle Schreame are back with A Midsummer Nights Droll. So that’s Shakespeare with the dull, boring bits taken out and the comedy bumped up (not a thousand miles from what Shakespeare for Breakfast do today, but this is from 350 years ago). That’s the very abbreviated version, if you go to see them at Gilded Balloon Teviot (at 10.45 in the morning!) then you’ll hear a history of Droll from Brice Stafford at the start of the show – its worth going just to listen to his magnificent voice.

Actually it’s an whole ensemble of magnificence and mischievery, performing with glee and boisterous enthusiasm (the singing of Cuckoo’s Nest was particularly bawdy). And Titania! Be still, my beating heart! Beautiful, strong, coquettish, a woman who knows what she wants – never was Titania so lovely!  Oh, and a special mention to Cobweb, Peaseblossom and Mustard Seed, a talented wee trio. The lion costume has had me musing on my Halloween costume this year, I reckon I could make myself a pretty good mane like that!

So I’ve seen three of Will’s big ones and have noticed there’s also Noir Hamlet on at theSpace @ Venue 45, that would make up a nice set I reckon.

Anyhoo, my bed awaits.

Adieu, kind friends.

It’s galloping away now!

Aaand that’s another week gone! Oh no, only eight more days to go! Today was grey and miserable right through. I don’t think the drizzle has let up once.Yesterday evening it began and by the time I headed home from my last show it was pelting down, rivers were swamping the gutters. Ok, so that was at quarter to three in the morning!

And where you may wonder was I ’til such an hour? At the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, ACMS for short. Never heard of it nevermind been before, but as this year I’ve determined to try to see more late night shows, I fancied giving it a go. Well, it does have Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts as co-hosts and I knew the weather forecast was crap for today so no need to leap out of bed; also, I mentioned it to Will Seaward and he obviously loves it, it seems to be something of an institution. Will mentioned about “permitted heckles,” huh? Oh yes, a list of the permitted heckles is on each seat.

ACMS is long from five to midnight to supposedly half two, but apparently more like as not three o’clock, thankfully there are two intervals for people to get some air and refreshment (it truly is mentally hot in the Monkey Barrel). So I’d been made aware this was an odd show – oh yes, absurd from beginning to end, with a particularly absurd piece by Tim Fitzhigham! What a joy to see him again. Thom Tuck was a delight, as was the poor chap who stood in for an absent John-Luke Roberts, no idea who he was, but lovely boy. They fair kept the pace going as there were quite a few acts to get through, no wonder it usually overruns!

Most of the crowd were obvious regulars, at only £7 it’s a great place to finish a day off with some fun and nonsense. If you do have a late night spare, it’s definitely an alternative worth considering if you fancy something alternative! Not everyone stayed to the end, after each interval a few had headed home, but at £7 even just staying an hour it’s worth it.

Just be sure you’ve nothing planned for the following  morning!

Toodle pip!

 

Paddington: The Fringe Show.

I just went back to see Paddington 2 for a second time, almost seven weeks after I first went to see it – I guess it’s a success, not many films stay on the big screen that long these days. Once back home I did that thing folk like to do these days, looked up the film on IMDb to see who’s done what where. But what! What! Tim Fitzhigham and Dan Antopolski were both in it and I missed them? Oh, and Cal McCrystal had a cameo besides being the Physical Comedy Consultant. FYI all Fringe favourites of mine.

Justin Edwards and Richard Ayoade were also in it, didn’t miss them, well it would be hard not to spot Richard Ayoade, who, incidentally, was being directed by Paul King (director of both Paddington films) in Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead the first time I saw him at the Fringe many years ago! One last tentative Fringe connection Tom Conti, well, I’ve seen him in town in August – up to see Nina?

In fact the first evening I saw Paddington 2, I saw Justin Edwards twice as he also had a part in The Death of Stalin (oh yes, two films in one evening with a trip to Nando’s sandwiched between them, well, I do have an unlimited viewings card). At the Fringe Justin Edwards had a magnificent creation the children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion, possibly one of my Desert Island Fringe Shows! More on him another time.

It is great when I see folk who I’ve seen in small, sweaty venues on the big screen, guess it reflects how long I’ve been fringing. Both Paddington films are excellent, having all the elements in the right proportions to make cinematic classics, and they came from a guy who first directed at the Fringe. What an inspiration! Crikey, I’ll be singing Circle Of Life next!

Next film I’ll go see may well be Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh, who also wrote the bloodiest play I’ve ever seen, or will probably ever see again, at the Fringe,  The Lieutenant Of Inishmore. See another Fringe connection!