One of the highlights of last year’s trip to the Fringe was Olaf Falafel’s There’s No I in Idiot show, so it was a no-brainer that we should see him again this year. Here’s Olaf Falafel Presents Knitting with Maracas at The Main Room @ Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree, at 14:50 on Thursday 22nd. Here’s the blurb says: “Critically acclaimed idiot Olaf Falafel is back once again like a renegade master. If you’ve been to any of his previous shows, you’ll know exactly what to expect – inventive jokes and stupid comedic leftfieldery all held together with the flimsiest of narrative structures. ‘Absurdity so well-crafted that silly doesn’t do it justice’ (Evening Standard). ‘A wonderful hour of professional silliness’ (List). ‘A barrage of absurdist humour and sharp one-liners’ (EdFringeReview.com). ‘Olaf Falafel is an idiot, and wouldn’t have it any other way’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk). ‘Refreshingly odd’ (iNews.co.uk).”
I know this is going to be a complete delight. Check back just after 4 pm to see just how entertaining he was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Here’s something that should be top quality and challenging. It’s the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain’s production of F. Off, at Belly Button, Underbelly, Cowgate, at 12:50 on Thursday 22nd. Read the blurb: “As the extremes of social media kick up an unsettling and unsavoury stink, Evening Standard ‘One to Watch’ writer Tatty Hennessy, National Youth Theatre Artistic Director Paul Roseby and Britain’s best young talent are kicking off in response in true interrogatory style to put Mark Zuckerberg and his social network colleagues on trial. The question is who really is to blame, and who is following who? So we ask you, the audience, to be the jury and the NYT company will be the disrupters. Served with a heavy helping of humour, some knitting and hardcore experts.”
This sounds like an ambitious production, but if anyone can do it, the National Youth Theatre can. Check back around 2.30 pm to see if we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
An unfortunately early start for us but this first play sounds gripping. It’s Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers are but Brothers, at Assembly George Square Studios 2, at 11:00 on Thursday 22nd. Here’s the blurb: “From the postcolonial Middle East, to the EU and USA, old orders are collapsing. Tech-savvy extremist groups are ripping up rulebooks while a generation of young men burn with resentment and unfulfilled self-entitlement whilst falling into online worlds of fantasy, violence and reality. Fresh from the UK premiere of it’s BBC4 adaptation, this Scotsman Fringe First (2017) winner returns for a limited run. ‘Complex… masterly… one of the most fascinating shows I have seen in an age’ ***** (Financial Times). Part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019. Originally co-commissioned by HOME, Transform and Ovalhouse.”
After yesterday’s late night I hope we’re able to get our act together and get out to see this morning play because it sounds totally fascinating. There’s a WhatsApp element to watching this play which sounds extremely curious! Check back shortly after 12.15 pm to see if we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
A fascinating and gripping show, not only because of its horrendous subject matter but also its brilliant use of multimedia. The thing I got most out of it was that this depicted possibly the greatest use of the Internet for evil. Superb, thought provoking experience.
Now it’s time for our second visit to the show that we think about all year round. It’s Spank! hosted by the amazingly wonderful James Loveridge and the also terrific Evan Desmarais – at Belly Dancer @ Underbelly, Cowgate, at 23:55 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “Spank! returns for an incredible 16th year with hilarious hosts, awesome comedians and gratuitous nudity. Showcasing the most exciting comedy and cabaret on the Fringe, don’t miss the ‘best wild night out’ (Scotland on Sunday) at the festival! ‘Comedy and legendary party night… if you haven’t experienced this night, get down there right away!’ (Time Out). ‘It’s raunchy, raucous and ridiculous. Utterly and absolutely hilarious’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Everything you could hope for in a late-night comedy showcase… absolutely must-see show’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). ‘Atmosphere is electric… you just don’t quite know what is going to happen next… superb’ ***** (One4Review.co.uk).”
Spank on a Wednesday night? Why not! It always gets a great crowd no matter which night you go. Check back around 3am (or maybe early on Thursday morning) to see who were the guests, who got naked and how much fun we had. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Another brilliant Spank with a sold out audience loving every minute. We started with the inimitable Lolly Jones whom we saw last year and whose show we’re due to see tomorrow; then the intimidatingly funny Emmanuel Sonubi; the smart talking Georgie Morrell; the absolutely brilliant Christopher Macarthur-Boyd, whom we really need to see again; the very funny Gareth Waugh, and the amazing Tom Houghton whose act ended with the best series of callbacks I’ve ever encountered. The naked promo was from John and Veronica promoting their show which involved a little spanking (appropriately) and the whole thing was hosted by James and Evan on blistering form – their final co-hosting of this year. Who will host Friday’s show, which we’re also seeing…. only time will tell…
Our next show is a mixture of comedy and circus – strictly for adults, and it’s Colossal’s Laser Kiwi, at Assembly George Square Gardens, Piccolo, at 22:30 on Wednesday 21st. Let’s take a look at the blurb: “New Zealand’s favourite surreal sketch circus troupe bring their smash hit to Edinburgh. A wonderfully bizarre and thoroughly entertaining masterpiece, you will never predict what’s coming next! After sell-out shows across Australia and Canada, this unique style of comedy is set to shake up the UK. This show is innovative… and refreshingly unpretentious. ‘Fall-down funny, and absolutely top shelf’ ***** (Advertiser, Adelaide). ‘Hilarious and impressive in equal measure’ ***** (TheUpsideNews.com). Winner of Best Circus and Physical Theatre at Adelaide Weekly Fringe Awards 2019.”
Mrs Chrisparkle isn’t always in the mood for something circusey so I hope this isn’t too traditional big-top – I kinda doubt it is, on this late at night! Check back shortly before midnight to see how we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Not sure I’ve ever seen a show quite like this! A range of truly impressive circus/acrobatic acts mixed with surreal comedy mini-sketches. Three very likeable and talented performers make the evening go with a swing! I was brought up on stage to play along with the “Perfect Match” act at the end – hope I didn’t ruin it for everyone. Great fun!
Time for another comedy play, and hopefully, it’s a good’un. It’s Moaning Toad Productions’ The People’s Boat, at Olive Studio @ Greenside @ Infirmary Street, at 21:00 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “One dinghy. Lost at sea. Four disillusioned knobheads. Join Britain’s most dysfunctional quartet as they attempt the impossible mission of towing the UK away from the continent. This new comedy follows the intrepid but ignorant explorers as they grapple with life on the ocean and the futility of their existence. On a crusade to somewhere sunny, they encounter rough winds, soggy pasties and trouble with their neighbours. After weeks and weeks of parlour games and pissing overboard, food is running out and patience is wearing thin. Wherever it is they’re headed, they’re taking Britain with them…”
I’m sensing a Brexit analogy here! With any luck it will be pithy and revelatory – and not just depressing. Check back shortly after 10 pm to see how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Four young actors act out an allegory about Brexit, interspersed with scenes of them planning the play that they’re currently performing. Nice idea. The scenes of the planning actors work much better than the actual “play” scenes, which are for the most part shouty and a bit gross. Shame – I really wanted to enjoy this because it’s heart is so in the right place; but it doesn’t really work, I’m afraid.
Comedy rules today as now it’s time for another stand-up, one who I’m really happy to be seeing again, and that’s Joby Mageean – Shanty Prince, at Just the Tonic at the Tron, at 19:40 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “Join comedy jumble sale Joby Mageean on a swashbuckling stand-up comedy adventure as he takes you on a whimsical tale of the seven seas, recounting his life as a troubadour and heir to the shanty throne! A barnstorming hour of musical and stand-up comedy with ‘hilarious gags and brilliantly written songs’ **** (ThreeWeeks). ‘Inspired daftness, proper gags and charisma to spare’ (Chortle.co.uk). Winner: Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year, 2016. Finalist: English Comedian of the Year, 2016. Chortle Comedians to Watch, 2017.”
We saw Joby Mageean in Edinburgh a couple of years ago and were really impressed with his fresh, cheeky style and we’re looking forward to catching up with him this year. Check back around 9 pm to see how it went. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Joby’s on great form with his nautical jaunt through his family heritage on a quest to be a pirate. More than that, it’s an hour of terrific comic observations, copyright vendettas and Newcastle’s most famous product. Intrigued? You should be. He’s an immensely likeable and naturally funny guy and I’d highly recommend his show!
Time for some comedy nostalgia, with Broken Robot Productions and So Comedy’s Radio Active: The 40th Anniversary Show at Gilded Balloon Teviot – Debating Hall, at 16:30 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood, Michael Fenton Stevens and Philip Pope return to the Fringe to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary, award-winning radio comedy at the festival in which it was born. Join the original cast as they perform a new selection of classic scripts live for the very first time. ‘An hour of pure mirth’ **** (Telegraph). ‘If you want to laugh a lot, don’t miss this!’ ***** (BritishTheatreGuide.info). ‘Classic, clever and charming… just simple excellence’ ***** (EdinburghGuide.com). ‘An absolute treat’ **** (TheEdinburghReporter.co.uk).”
I occasionally listened to this show in its heyday but have always admired the talents of the four performers separately anyway; Ms Atkinson Wood and I were at that big posh university at the same time together. Check back around 5.45 pm to see if we liked the nostalgia. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Nostalgia, yes, but good sketch comedy is good sketch comedy and this is simply an hour of laughs that really lifts your spirits. All this and a final concert from the HeeBeeGeeBees! I’d forgotten about them – one of the best comedy records ever. We loved it, go see it for yourself!
Reality TV and the Classics meet and life is never the same again. It’s Roo Theatre Company’s Come Dine with Mr Shakespeare, at Perth Theatre @ theSpace on North Bridge, at 15:05 on Wednesday 21st. See the blurb: “Reality TV lurches onto the stage, with four familiar Shakespearean characters competing to win a thousand gold crowns. Lovesick Duke Orsino (Twelfth Night), Cordelia (King Lear’s former favourite daughter), Petruchio (tamer of small animals, such as shrews) and the nefarious Lady Macbeth each take their turn hosting a dinner party for the others. The kitchen capers of this volatile collection of unhinged individuals result in the inevitable mix of triumphs and disasters, for which they score each other out of 10. Who will ultimately be declared the winner and how will they celebrate their victory?”
Yet another Shakespearean parody – second one today! At this rate, we’re going to go home talking in iambic pentameters. Check back around 4.15 pm to see how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Oh dear. One thing it achieved was it reminded me how much I dislike Come Dine With Me! Under-rehearsed, under-delivered and under-funny. A great idea but it just doesn’t work. Sold out…. so they’ve done something right, not sure what…
Next up is a comedian that I’ve long been waiting to see, it’s Ahir Shah: Dots, at Monkey Barrel Comedy (3), at 13:45 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “Nominated for Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2017 and 2018, Ahir Shah returns to the Fringe with a new hour of funny and good stand-up. Shah’s most recent show, Duffer, was performed to packed houses and critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, followed by a sold-out run in London’s West End, and a UK and international tour. Now he’s written another one. Fingers crossed, eh? As seen on Live at the Apollo and The Mash Report. ‘A blazing talent firing on all cylinders’ ***** (Telegraph). ‘Magnificent’ ***** (List). **** (Times).
Ahir Shah has been on my list of comics to see for a couple of years now, and I’ve always just managed to miss him. However, the time has come and we’ll finally get to see him for ourselves. Check back around 3 pm to see how much we laughed. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
They say good things are worth waiting for…. Ahir Shah is a great comedian with a superbly constructed show, full of catch-you-out callbacks, fantastic observations and a whole lotta emotions. He also liked my laugh 😀 – good man!! Packed house and a must-see.