The party’s over ūüė≠

Give me a few days to tidy all the mess of the last month, wash all the washing up, catch up with work in work and sleep in bed, much, much sleep in bed!!

To tide you over, here’s a few pics of the final furlong and if you have a look on Facebook (Bruce T. Moose) I arranged for an old friend to sing a farewell song to Fringe 2018 ūüėČ

 

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One last show to desperately advertise or how they felt by the last night?!

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Psychedelia at the Pleasance Dome

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Will Seaward in full scary mode intent on scaring the bejesus out of all who dare entire his domain!

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!

Oh, those Russians!

If you’ve recently checked oot my Facebook doings (I’m Bruce T Moose, being proper, like) you’ll know the world just shrank a teensy bit more, when I was accosted by a gent flyering his show which also stars our mutual friend Will Seaward! Only very a unusual, warped intellect could have devised this show, I suspect over a jar or two in some drinking establishment! Why do a straightforward play? Why not bring in the contrariness of chance to keep the actors on their toes? Improv with a difference – a roulette wheel!

Russian Roulette¬†is just that, a Russian play of chance; the first choice is between writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, twas Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the evening I went. Some victim from the audience becomes the croupier and whenever the bell sounds (apparently set up earlier using randomly picked times) he/she spins the wheel and calls out the number. We, the audience, had numbered lists to check and yell out (well those with the eyesight to read small print in semi-darkness,¬† I’d forgotten my reading glasses), cryptic instructions like “Borscht Surprise”, “Russian Dolls” or “I’m Stuffed”. Will and his co-host would explain what each meant and the actors had to incorporate it into the play. Hence, poor Princess Kitty spent a long while unable to move as she became stuffed! “Beard Ban” was tricky for two of the cast, did I mention there were penalties for failure!?¬†This was obviously set up by some devious, dastardly mind who wouldn’t be actually caught up in this play of chance themselves! Will?!

Whilst thoroughly enjoying the fun I noticed some of the cast looked somehow familiar, I also noticed that every seat had a flyer for¬†A Midsummer Night’s Droll, yeah, I completely failed to spot the connection – I’d seen their show¬†Droll¬†last year! (another smidgeon off the earth’s girth) At the end of a very entertaining hour, everyone did the usual plugging of their other shows, only then did I twig! And, being a moose of limited means, I went off to purchase a ticket for their last ¬£10 show, at 10.05 in the morning!

If you like some fun with your Shakespeare and some top-notch comic acting to go with it, then I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. Yes, I know it breaks one of my rules, never recommend just say you liked it, but I fail to see how anyone who matches the aforementioned criteria could not love this show!!! Oh, and I noticed Princess Kitty in the audience looking charmingly unstuffed!

So that’s¬†Russian Roulette¬†at Just the Tonic: La Belle Angele¬†and¬†A Midsummer Night’s Droll¬†at¬†theSpace on the Mile. If you want to see a little culture this Fringe !¬† ūüėä ūüé≠

Well, that’s the previews sorted!

If you read my last post (and why not?!) you’ll be dying to know what happened, will I have to miss my films? Well, good news, I¬†will be heading back to the mother ship this weekend so won’t miss any of EIFF 2018, yay! Bad news, the whole piss-up/brewery thing has been totally cancelled this year (bloody numpty!) I am so not impressed.

Since then I’ve completed my first scour of the full printed Fringe Programme and bought my first batch of tickets, mainly previews with a few others. As there is now a booking fee of 80p a ticket that stops at ¬£4.80 it makes sense to buy enough tickets to reduce the effect of it – ¬£4.80 booking fee for fifteen shows is quite reasonable, I’d say!

I’m going to kick off this year with Russell Howard, good to see him back and for only a fiver! Mind it is called Russell Howard – Work in Progress, hmmm, first night could be interesting (interesting=shambolic). The ever delightful Felicity Ward (pic below is me swooning over her poster) is back and hopefully on time. I have 30 minutes to get from Pleasance Above to George Square Theatre for Thrones! The Musical! this is perfectly doable, just as long as the Pleasance aren’t running too late. Considering how long they’ve had to get it right you would think it should run like a well-oiled machine but, well, it doesn’t always.

After a break last year everyone’s favourite sock puppets are back¬† with a new show Superheroes, check out the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on Facebook or YouTube for skits and songs on the subject (love the Deadpool and Black Lightning videos). As ever they’re in the exceedingly warm Sportsman room at the Gilded Balloon, grab a flyer on your way in to use as a fan!

At the witching hour the wonderful Will Seaward is back with Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories V, but what’s this? He’s no longer in the Wee Room, he’s been upgraded to the Dining Room! Yay!!

Oo, and I got me a ticket to see the Ukulele Death Squad as they’re bound to sell out. They’re back at the Leith Depot near the bottom of Leith Walk, an exceedingly hot room above the pub but it does have its own bar. Well I actually bought two tickets as it’s on the Friends of the Fringe list of 2for1’s, so if you’re reading this and will be in town Sunday 5th, I have a spare half price ticket for one very lucky individual! Bang Bang!

Toodle pips!

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Fireworks ignite old volcano

Oh, every year I have this image of the fireworks getting bigger and bigger until everyone realises it’s the volcano reactivating spewing molten rocks into the air and lava flows down the Royal Mile.

So only one show to go, Will Seaward’s spooky midnight ghost stories one more time, and maybe a pop into the Pleasance Courtyard on the way!

Toodle pip!

The Squirrel Show

Back as a young student my friends and I would explore the pubs of Edinburgh and occasionally even speak to the locals, this one particular group of lads were noteable by their pronunciation of my friend’s name, “No, it’s Philippa”,”Yeah, Phulupuh”, “No, you’re saying Phulupuh”, “Yeah, that’s what you’re saying”,”No we’re saying Phil e pah, not Phulupuh”, and so it went on and on. We also noticed that here girls were girruls and films were fillums, oh, and in Chippies we had to say very quickly if we didn’t want sa’n’sauce on our chips as they were usually putting it on as they asked.

On a few years and I realised if someone was talking about Dawn, they were probably talking about Don. It did explain a few things about the stories I’d heard about her/him. Then with Bud there was the long-running “khaki/car key” debate, apparently I say it like “car key” which is not the same as “khaki” at all according to Bud, who, of course, was always supposedly correct.

So the Squirrel Show was water off a duck’s back to me, been there, done that and got the t-shirt. I had no idea what the Squirrel Show was, but I saw it mentioned on Facebook that Mark Steel, Will Seaward and John-Luke Roberts were appearing, among many others, and it was a one-off for charity, hey ho, why not?

The whole premise is to help the comedian Chris Coltrane to say “squirrel” properly instead of “squirle”, one audience member went down the Sesame Street route, patiently separating the syllables to join them again, bet she’s a teacher. Some audience members were almost apoplectic (I really couldn’t decide if they were plants to keep it going), and all the other comedians were not helping the situation. John-Luke Roberts was surreal as ever, rushing the stage and dancing every time Walking On Sunshine came on, I did miss the first five minutes but I doubt there was any explanation there. Will tried his best to tell the tale of Big Squirrel and Little Squirrel while being heckled. And, wow, they had Mark Steel to headline, as you would expect he gave a funny but insightful monologue, pure genius!

Apparently, this has been going a few years now. Well worth catching next year, unless mispronunciations drive you insane, on the other hand, it would be fun to take along that friend who’s always correcting others – just light the blue touchpaper and stand well back!

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.

 

 

A wee rant about the last night of the Fringe

I was going to bring this up sooner or later, and tonight’s the night. You may be aware that the Fringe started seventy years ago when a few uninvited companies decided to turn up in Edinburgh when the Edinburgh International Festival was on and they put their shows on anywhere they could on the fringe of it, and the rest as they say is history.

Well up until two years ago there was a big fireworks display after both the International and Fringe festivals had finished and most had gone home. It almost felt like a thank you to the good folk of Edinburgh for putting up with the hullabaloo of August. The day had moved a few times over the years but for quite sometime was nicely ensconced on the Sunday after the Fringe finished. Tickets are sold for people to sit in Princes Street Gardens or you can stand in the streets to watch forty five minutes of fireworks to the music of the Scottish  Chamber Orchestra.

For years my Fringe buddy and I had our spot in the Gardens, and many of the folk around us came back to their same spots, we all chatted about how our years had been, had our picnics, then settled back for the fireworks. Champagne corks could be heard going off all over the place, down from us one group always marked where they were with a large red umbrella with white hankies tied to it. Of course, to be sure of our spot at least one of us would queue for around two hours then hurtle along with camping chairs. It was a great tradition and we loved it, a beautiful setting, perfect view, orchestral music and the sheer power of the blasts of the fireworks, magnificent!!

Then they introduced Priority tickets, where they would be allowed in the Gardens half an hour before the other ticket holders. Now when this was brought in, space in the park was already getting squeezed because, well, trees grow and spread, so many parts that had previously been fine were no longer fine, people were having to move when they realised they could no longer look up and see sky. As people competed for smaller areas it meant many felt compelled to pay the extra money. Grrrr!! Boo Virgin bloody Money!

Now at this point I should also point out the August Bank Holiday is not a bank holiday in Scotland, for most it is just another working day, so when, two years ago they announced it was being moved to the Bank Holiday Monday, let me assure you many of the locals were NOT happy! It was no longer a leisurely afterthought when the city was more peaceful again, just another thing to be rushed.

So I was peed off at the changing of the day but, but, AAARRGH it’s the last day of the Fringe!!! I also like to finish the Fringe on a high, as I’m sure all the shows that are still on until the final Monday night would like to as well! Now the poor blighters have to compete with a huge fireworks display. The end of the Fringe fizzles out as it is, some shows finish on the Saturday, ¬†some on the Sunday, just the diehards carry on until the very end, valiantly flyering anyone around to see their last show (that is how I met the magnificent Will Seaward four years, but more about him next time).

Two years ago I did go back to the Gardens with a different friend and just sat in a random spot. I took a wander up to where I had previously always sat to find that none of the other regulars were there either, quite sad really. Afterwards we went to see Will at midnight to finish the Fringe properly. Last year I went to shows then just popped on to the top of the Mound to watch the fireworks before heading off to more Fringe bars and William’s spooky storytelling.

It was the end of an era, the end of my love affair with the Fireworks. I will probably always wander along and stand to watch at least some of it, but as with many lovely things a big money-grabbing organisation came along and took away the joy. But I’ll always have the memory of the wine, the strawberries, the music and the big bangs.