Seven days. Fourteen shows. Bagpipes can STFU.
Harry Clayton-Wright's epic Edinburgh adventure continues.
More from Harry Clayton-Wright
We just want to start this by telling you two things. It doesn't stop raining here and it's ridiculously hilly. We're constantly wet and not in a sexy way. It's like walking around in a t.A.T.u video. The hills here in Edinburgh are keeping us from putting on the weight we should be gaining by the drinking and eating we're doing though. Carbs are a very good friend of ours here and we're spending a lot of time together. We're at second base, we might go all the way. But hills, rain and carbs aside, we're still very much enjoying our time in Edinburgh. The novelty of hearing bagpipes has well and truly worn off though. That noise just goes right through you. Just shut up and show us if you're a true Scotsman or not. Exactly.
We've got loads of shows to talk about in this post and so we'll be quiet and get on with it.
The Games - ZOO Roxy.
Set in Greece during ancient Olympics, this is a tale of three Greek nobodies who are unwittingly caught up in a celestial bet amongst the Gods and all given powerful abilities to compete. It's very daft. There's some nice moments of physical comedy and shadow puppetry. It might feel a bit theatre in education at times, but this isn't something you'll see performed in schools. There's a fair bit of simulated nudity.
Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs - Pleasance Courtyard.
Adam Kay walks into the room with a bottle of wine in his hand, he sits at the piano and pours himself a glass. And so it begins. Amateur Transplants frontman, Adam Kay, is here to sing you some smutty songs. Pop music is taken to places you've never heard it before. T'Pau in a whole new light. There's a certain darkness and anger to proceedings which is really exciting. We see Adam get more and more intoxicated as the show goes on and it's riveting to watch as he pours himself glass after glass of wine. This is a really fast-paced show. Jokes aren't milked. Once you've heard it, got the punchline and had time to laugh, we've probably moved onto the next song. Keep up. It's a style that keeps you on your toes and makes for a really fun show.
Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - C (Chambers Street).
The storyline is this: two gay men are getting married and there's some sort of conflict. If Primark produced theatre, this would be the show. It took us back to our youth. Back to Black(pool). The kids in this show, and there seems to be so many, are young and that's sweet. Well done to all involved for getting themselves here. It's just too much. We cringed quite a lot at the depiction of gay characters that are just so beyond cliche. We definitely didn't see what the audience did, some of whom decided to give it a standing ovation because they enjoyed it that much and good for them. What we are impressed with here though, is that in this social and economic climate, there's a group of young people who have got up and actually done something with their time. Well done.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding
Guilt & Shame - Just the Tonic at the Caves.
Of all the shows we've seen so far, this is definitely one of our favourites. Walking into what feels like a dank air-raid shelter, we took our seat with a feeling of intrigue as we see a guy on stage, in his pants. Guilt & Shame are the incredibly talented Robert Cawsey and Gabriel Bisset-Smith. After the heaviest night of drunken and drug-fuelled debauchery, they awake with no recollection of their actions and have to try and complete the show to get paid. All the while dealing with the repercussions of what they don't remember has happened. It's a sketch show with the most brilliant narrative which is incredibly well written, structured and performed. This is one of the shows we're recommending you see.
Guilt & Shame
James Sherwood - I Fed My Best Friend Her Favourite Cow - Gilded Balloon.
James Sherwood seems like a very nice guy. His demeanour reminded us a little bit of Colin Firth. He's smart and the most non-threatening comedian we've seen at the festival. It's interesting to see his style of comedy which really stands out next to other comedians here. The show explores what it means to be 'good' or 'bad'. James wittily deconstructs popular music to reveal what the moral compass is really saying and his original songs are a real treat. We enjoyed those a lot.
James Sherwood - I Fed My Best Friend Her Favourite Cow
Paul Sinha: Looking At The Stars - The Stand.
Paul Sinha, former GP turned stand-up comedian, is funny, remarkably intelligent and "a proudly gay cheerleader for multicultural Britain". He's also a quizzer and will be soon seen on ITV game show, The Chase, as their new Chaser. Recalling a chance encounter with Jim Davidson, his polar opposite, Paul explores "Davidsongate" and the nature of celebrity. This is a show we were told to go and see (by a lady from the BBC, so we weren't going to ignore Auntie Beeb) and we're glad we listened to the advice.
Paul Sinha - Looking At The Stars
How to be Awesome: An Introduction - Gilded Balloon.
Lou Sanders is the girl we want to be friends with. She's as awesome as the show title suggests she might be. Quirky, goofy, ridiculous and wonderful. Allowing herself to go off at any tangent she feels and saying whatever might pop into her head, we really enjoyed being invited into her crazy ass world. We especially loved the cardboard props and lo-fi feel to everything (watch out for the destiny reading). It's a one way ticket on the hot mess express and that's the reason we enjoyed it so much.
How to be Awesome: An Introduction
Bob Downe: 20 Golden Greats -Gilded Balloon.
Bob Downe is a legend. An absolute legend. We went to see this show having never experienced this comedy creation live before. We've seen clips on YouTube but not been in the presence of Bob Downe. It was one of the most polished hours of performance we've seen at the Fringe yet. The energy that comes from Mark Trevorrow's performance as Bob is unreal. He dances, skips and jumps around the stage, working the entire room with more life and finesse than a performer half his age, all while singing live and being incredibly entertaining.
Bob Downe: 20 Golden Greats
The Mess - Assembly George Square.
Shambolic comedy at it's best. It's pitched as a variety show for the debt ridden generation. Every night is different and you'll probably be finding out what's going on at the same time as those involved. Gloria Rivard (former Cirque du Soleil clown, Mooky Cornish) was our hostess for the evening. She changes costume throughout, trying her best to look extremely glamorous and boy, can she take a fall with the best of them. In this particular show, we saw the sexiest hula hoop act we've ever seen, a girl on the ukulele with a voice that can belt for what seems like years, a hot Australian and an escapologist who can play a hose pipe. Madness.
Milo McCabe: Get Brown - Gilded Balloon.
Spoof TV chat show created by Milo McCabe, a character comic who has invented a world for which his creations can all exist. It's a three hander. Maff Brown is the host, Milo plays four characters and also making an unexpected turn is Will Sentence, the actual floor manager from the Jeremy Kyle show. Never thought we'd be saying that. The characters Milo plays are Philberto the Portuguese warm-up man, Tyson Moon, son of an Irish comic who is trying to follow in his father's footsteps, Anthony SIxsmith, a Liverpudlian bongo therapist and Nobbo Johnson, former sportsman turned art critic. The set-up carries it along but it's only really alive when Milo is on stage with whichever character he's playing.
Milo McCabe - Get Brown
Le Gateau Chocolat - Assembly George Square.
This is drag performance, but not as you know it. La Gateau Chocolat (pictured) is a visual feast, a booming vibrato, an incredible entertainer and operatic diva. It's beautiful, funny, sad but yet joyful, and at times, extremely moving. There's a really strong message that comes from a very sincere and powerful place. Accompanied throughout by a pianist and a cellist, La Gateau's voice just ripples through the audience who drink it up like hot chocolate on a winter's day. We really had to hold back the tears at one point. It's an exquisitely beautiful show.
Le Gateau Chocolat
Christmas For Two: Friends With You - Just the Tonic at the Caves.
Christmas For Two are a pair of brilliant oddballs. They work so perfectly together possessing comedic synchronicity. It's a sketch show that contains the ridiculous, based in their creation of reality, with characters who are surreal and absurd. We loved the panpipe interlude music they used to transition scenes. The show crescendos and ends on the perfect note. We left smiling and with a sticker.
Christmas For Two: Friends With You
Kitty Cointreau's BraHaHa - Just the Tonic at the Caves.
Comedy and cabaret, Martin Mor was our excellent compere for the evening who was highly skilled at working the audience. We experienced another Scottish first which was a themed burlesque performance with a girl removing her tartan clothes while doing the highland fling. A real first for us there. As well as the other acts in the show, we had Frank Sanazi who is a Frank Sinatra and Adolf Hitler crooning hybrid. The show ended with a number by Kitty herself which contained enough glitter to make us think Ke$ha was somewhere nearby, hooked up to an intravenous drip.
Kitty Cointreau's BraHaHa
The Curse of the Devil's Verse - C (C soco)
Rob is a man's man who can't see the value of his girlfriend's quest to become a writer. This has made their relationship tempestuous to say the least. After ranting about it in a pub to a mysterious stranger, he awakes the next morning to find that he can only speak in rhyme. The rest of the show deals with the repercussions of this and Rob's life is turned upside down as he deals with the curse that his been put upon him. A well written show which had some really strong performances. We're glad we managed to catch the final performance here at the festival.
(Unfortunately, the run of the show has now ended and so we won't be posting a link to tickets because it's not possible to buy any. You missed out.)
If you've managed to read all of that then we'll definitely put out. We're open to even more suggestions of what you think we'd like to see. So drop us a line. Why wouldn't you? DO IT..