Thursday 6th August
I travelled up on a nice early flight. Despite my anxiety about flying for the first time in nearly ten years, the flight was nice and straight-forward, and I touched down in Edinburgh around 9.30am. I was settled in my room by 11am, so ready to head out and see some shows pretty much straight away.
Only… I spent the first couple of hours wandering around and *just* missing shows. Actually, this served as a useful re-orientation exercise, so all was not lost.
Finally, I got to a show.
Lily Bevan – Pheasant Plucker
Lily is a wonderful performer. Transitioning from one character to another with ease, this was a real acting showcase. The story was enjoyable enough, and this was a competent one-person show. It wasn’t one that I would have chosen to see (I received a freebie), and at times it felt more like a theatrical showreel than a show, but the audience seemed to enjoy it.
When Blair had Bush and Bunga
Another freebie, I spent the first half of the show completely unsure as to how I felt about this. Upon entering the theatre, the Caribbean ladies had been a bit OTT for my taste (of course, that’s how it was intended) and it took a while to really get into the story, but, my – when George Bush entered I just couldn’t stop laughing. Playing as a stereotypical American tourist, the funny moments came thick and fast. Though perhaps a little one-dimensional at times, this show is likely to be divisive amongst audiences, but I left happy!
The Showstoppers have been on my must-see list for around six years now, and how I wish I’d seen them sooner. As slick and talented as everyone tells you they are, they didn’t let down on any level. A truly five-star show, and hilarious to boot.
Friday 7th August
The Tale of Tommy O’Quire
This one-hour, one-person show was a masterclass in storytelling from Tom Dussek. A real show for the ages, Tom takes us on a journey of ghosts, monsters and treasure. Well worth seeing, and well worth taking the young’uns to as well!
101 Clean Jokes in 30 Minutes
Masai Graham does exactly what he promises – another show well worth seeing. Graham has an awkward stage persona, and this makes him strangely endearing. There’s nothing massively original here, but if, like me, you like a good pun – this show more than delivers!
At this point I managed to slip on the cobbles outside the Underbelly at Cowgatehead. Thankfully the wonderful team at the Underbelly patched me back up and I was able to get on my way again – even if I was hobbling for the rest of my time in Edinburgh!
Full review at Fringe Review.
Having never been to a playback show, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Knowing a couple of the Playback Impro troupe, however, I expected an entertaining show. I was not disappointed. It’s amazing how quickly an hour can pass watching other people’s stories come to life, even if they’re seemingly insignificant incidents.
Alice Fraser – Savage
This was an odd one. Taking place at the Free Sisters, I took a chance after Alice’s show description caught my eye on FringeReview’s keywordchaos page. Opening the show by telling us that someone had recently commented to her “that wasn’t a comedy show, was it?”, it soon became clear that this show was about more than making people laugh. Telling us about her relationship with her late mother, and about her mother’s battle with MS was heart-wrenching to hear. More so for me, as I lost my mum to cancer only three weeks prior to this show. Alice did say to stay around for a hug if we wanted to. So I did.
As a writer for Mock the Week, I figured Julian was worth taking a chance on a free gig. Some of his material was distinctly unoriginal, but when he told the story of his arrest for drink-driving and time in prison, his set came to life. Worth going to see for that story alone.
Colt Cabana and Brendon Burns Sit in a Fucking Yurt at 11pm and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches
Another one that does what it says in the title, I saw this last year and as a wrestling fan I found it hilarious, so went back again this year. Nothing to say really, other than if you’re a wrestling fan, this is a must-see.
Saturday 8th August
The Maydays – Oh Boy!
Another one that I saw last year, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see this show again, and it didn’t disappoint. The format is an improvised episode of 80’s/90’s cult TV programme Quantum Leap, and the format really works well in an improvised show. This episode was called “Close That Sale” and featured a lustful housewife, a suicidal teen, and lots of vacuum cleaners and encyclopaedias.
Set in a bunker in America in the 1960s, two comedians are tasked with writing the first words spoken on the moon. Of course, the landing is being faked, and only a small group of people are in on it. Wonderful performances from the whole cast, and a gripping yet funny storyline.
Ed Aczel: The Random Flapping of a Butterfly’s Wings
I first saw Ed Aczel at Brighton Fringe last year, and this was a very different show. Using his trademark understated delivery, Aczel presents his theories of what might happen to the world if this show goes well, or goes badly. A couple of videos break up the performance, and his hand-drawn graphs on old-school overhead projector transparencies are just hilarious. I love this guy.
Sing For Your Life
Now this was an interesting one. The performances, singing and puppetry were first-class. The script, however, was…. well… non-existent. It’s a shame because they have a great concept here. Unfortunately the dialogue between the taxidermy puppets was underdeveloped and at times embarrassing. A team of performers this good (including note-perfect live musicians) were wasted on an immature script.
Sunday 9th August
Black Magic – Songs Unchained
I went to this one after meeting writer and performer Katt Tait at the Meet the Media event on behalf of FringeReview. Full review here.
The Sunset Five
My personal highlight of the Fringe. Full review here.
Ahih Shah: Distant
Ahih Shah was the guest comedian when I saw Colt Cabana and Brendan Burns last year, so I thought I’d check out his own show this year. Warm and witty, Shah is intelligent and insightful. I’ll probably check him out again next year too.
Die Roten Punkte: Haus Party
I fell in love with these guys at Brighton Fringe last year, so I couldn’t resist seeing what they would do this year, especially having released a new album last year. This year was completely different, however. I should have guessed though – it took the form of a house party. They had guest comedians and games between acts, so it wasn’t so much about them. As disappointing as it was that the show didn’t feature as much of them as I would have liked, it was a still a very fun show.
Monday 10th August
Full review at FringeReview!
Aiden Goatley’s 10 Films With My Dad
My final show of this year (boo!) and it was a good one! Another one I’ve been meaning to catch for a number of years, Aiden is a charming performer – compassionate and generous in spirit.