I love Edinburgh, I love comedy, music festivals, drama, the works. The Fringe has such an incredible manic energy to it, you absorb it and if you’re not careful you could get lost in the guide browsing the seemingly endless shows on offer. There are the established favourites like Gregg Proops and ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ which you have to book well in advance just to get a look in, and then there’s the fun unknowns! Sure it’s nice to see your celebrity icons once in a while when you get the chance, but it’s an awful lot of fun finding some hilarious hidden gem. I like to get a good balance of drama, comedy and music while I’m at The Fringe, so I thought for those of you that have never been and are thinking about it, or just curious seasoned drama lovers, that I’d share my personal favourites from this year! Honestly, talk to people, see what they thought was good and the chances are you’ll get some decent material in your recommendations.
Voyage of the Narhwal, By The Awkward Silence: http://www.theawkwardsilence.co.uk/
Go find this comedy trio on youtube under The Awkward Silence. Go do it now. Right now. I’ll wait….you back? Good. This teeny weeny comedy troop of three put on one hell of a comedy gig for us in the cavey Just The Tonic venue. With a mix of good ol’ fashioned punning, perfect comedic timing, fantastic character acting and a blend of weirdness to rival the love child of Monty Python and Blackadder, I’d say they did a pretty good job. I desperately wanted them to have filmed one of their shows so I could show my friends and they’d understand why the phrase ‘There’s really nothing like it Babcock’ is just so frikken funny. They’re Oxford lads and I’d actually seen one of there shows a couple of years previously, which is why I opted for them again. I wasn’t disappointed. I expect to see great things from them in the future!
Baby Wants Candy
I’m always blown away by the improvised musical troupe’s ability to work together so well under pressure to produce a show that’s both unique every night and weirdly choreographed. They’ve obviously had plenty of practice..not to mention they had an in house band that did them justice. The way it works is, you pop along to the show, they come on stage and ask you for a title for their show. You shout out, and whichever weird and wonderful thing they hear first, they take it and run with it. A two minute musical intro and they go for it. Minor dance numbers, a mental plot and a whole bunch of top notch singing is the way the show goes. In my time at the Fringe I’ve seen ‘Irn Bru Ruined My Life’ and most recently, ‘Bored Gods and Sharp Objects’. My boyfriend caught them recently in London for his brother’s birthday and got to see a personalized birthday performance of ‘Happy Birthday Tom’. Get your titles ready and pick the person with the strongest lungs to sit as close to the front as humanly possible.
This had been my dream show since I heard about it, but it was always sold out. This year, I booked well in advance of me going and got two tickets for this glorious mess of a show. It lived up to all my expectations. The programme itself made for an entertaining read. Basically, the team choose ballots out of a hat for every performance in order to choose the cast member that’s fed alcohol ’til they can’t remember their lines anymore and forced on stage for your enjoyment. Two Gentlemen Of Verona was our chosen production. Although at times you really felt for the others having to shepherd and look after their often wayward drunken charge, their reactions to the pissed antics on stage just made it even funnier. One lucky member of the audience was even given a gong and tiny trumpet, to sound at two points in the play where they felt the actor was too sober to continue. Use it wisely friend, use it wisely.
Porky The Poet – Juplicity:
Now I know what you’re thinking, Phil Jupitus is not a new comic on the scene. Well established in fact. Which was why I was pleasently surprised to find him in his capacity as a rather fun poet on the free fringe! It turns out the free fringe is a scheme close to Jupitus’ heart. In the spirit of the original festival, Phil gave us funny and poignant poetry interspersed with chatter and comedy all for the (optional donation) price of a pint. Even though the venue was packed and pretty big, it still had the intimate feel of a smaller gig thanks to Phil’s open demeanor and natter with the audience. We were even treated to a performance from one of the original founders of the Free Fringe itself! Thoroughly enjoyed this show and it made a nice change of pace from the other comedy gigs we saw.
Harry The King – By Mingled Yarn
This was my favourite piece of theatre we saw whilst tramping round the Fringe. A fantastically unsettling two woman performance of Henry V that amazingly enough, made you sympathetic and repulsed about good ol’ Harry all in the space of about 10 minutes. The pace was spot on and the actresses really compelling to watch, well done ladies! The set was constructed in such a way that it caught your eye but didn’t detract from the performers, they made good use of the space they had and the symbolism was hard to miss. Overall a solid performance that took the play in a direction I’ve never seen done before.
Pop up to Edinburgh yourself, revel in the atmosphere and go see some shows of your own. I promise you won’t regret it!