Our very last show in Edinburgh this year is Late’n’Live at the Debating Hall @ Gilded Balloon Teviot at 01:00 in the early hours of the morning of Sunday 27th. Let’s read that last blurb: “’Still the best late night show on the Fringe’ (Scotsman) is back for its 31st year! Different shows every night, but always the same recipe: one hilarious compere, four amazing acts, one incredible band, two hours of dancing and a whole lot of fun… Leave to simmer from 1am–5am and you’ve got yourself ‘the celebrated comedy abattoir that has slain a thousand comics’ (Scotsman). Comperes will include Scott Gibson, John Hastings and many other top names.”
I really can’t see us staying up till 5am. However, I’m sure some people will! We’ll just stay for the one hilarious compere and four amazing acts, whoever they are. Check back sometime after 3 am (or preferably on Sunday morning, or later) to see whether we survived.
If you’ve been following our reckless pursuit of entertainment over the past eight days, thanks very much for your loyalty! If not, I can’t blame you. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
And we fell at the final hurdle. We already thought that this was going to be A Show Too Far, and so it proved. So rather than watching this show, we’ve treated ourselves to a bottle of shiraz in the hotel bar. Rather a quiet way to end our Fringe week, but the quality has been outstanding. Hope you had fun too!
Taking us up to Sunday morning is Late Night at the Bedlam Theatre at 23:00 on Saturday 26th. Here’s the blurb: “Strap in tight to the most rad, bizarre, awe-inspiring comedy and alt-performance rollercoaster at the Fringe! We’re back for our third year with one-off takeovers from your favourites, cabaret stuffed to the gunnels with fun and a feeling of general satisfaction. Last year’s stage was graced by Fern Brady (The Alternative Comedy Experience, 8 Out of 10 Cats), Andrew Ryan (Russell Howard’s Good News), 2016 Funny Women Awards winner Harriet Braine, sketch-mongers Princes of Main, Fringe First nominee clown Helen Duff and World Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker. This year’s line-up is ruddy epic – get down here!”
Not entirely sure what to expect – and I guess that’s the point! A variety of comics and cabaret artists, I hope, with that unpredictable Fringe twist. Check back shortly after midnight to see what happened. By then the final preview blog should be available to read too.
So it turned out to be an hour in the company of Lach; an American guitar singer who also tells jokes and does poetry. I found his music soporific, but in a good way. But it was very low key in comparison to what I was expecting, and I wouldn’t have booked his show under other circumstances. Sorry Lach, I just wasn’t your natural audience.
Next up is another of my favourite comedians, and someone else whom we’ve already seen a few times this week in Spank! and that’s James Loveridge: Suspiciously Happy at Just the Attic @ Just the Tonic at The Mash House at 21:00 on Saturday 26th. Here’s what the blurb has to say: “Despite the world being on the brink of collapse, it’s fair to say James is the happiest he’s ever been. He’s just got engaged, his relationship with his cat has improved (subject to change), now all he has to do is not f*ck it up! Nominated Best Show Edinburgh Fringe, 2016 (Amused Moose). ‘Undoubtedly the best free show that I have seen at the Fringe’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Animated and confident, with a fine sense of timing’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (Skinny). **** (ArtsAwardVoice.com). **** (EdFringeReview.com). **** (FringeBiscuit.co.uk).”
James has got a great stage presence and I’m looking forward to an hour of general silliness with the occasional stand back in amazement insight. Check back around 10.15 pm to see how much fun it really was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
James is so irrepressively happy that it’s impossible not to warm to him and to love his account of how he and his fiancee got together and how they’re preparing for their nuptuals. It’s an hour of sheer goodwill, peppered with brilliant and hilarious stories of how he will inevitably f*ck things up. The comedy gig equivalent of a feelgood movie and highly recommended!
For our last evening in Edinburgh we’ve got four shows of comedy in its various fringey hues. First up is Kev’s Komedy Klub at The Basement @ Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom at 18:15 on Saturday 26th. Here’s the blurb: “Stand-up comedy from the stars and creators of the underground-award winning Festival Fringe hit Kev’s Komedy Kitchen. Each show will feature a special guest headline act. ‘Slickness and sheer talent’ (Time Out). ‘Lively and energetic, instantly likeable’ (WhoDaresGrins.com). ‘An excellent comedian, one of the most underrated comics on the circuit’ (Toby Foster, BBC Sheffield and star of Phoenix Nights). ‘A real treat of understated deadpan humour’ (ThreeWeeks). ‘Engaging and funny’ (QuaysNews.net). ‘Bonafide Funny’ (BroadwayBaby.com).”
Kevin Dewsbury is one of my favourite comics whom we only saw a couple of days ago in his Komedy Kitchen and here he is again masterminding an hour of comedy with guests. I’m thinking Will Hutchby will be involved too, but I’m not sure who else. Check back around 7.30 pm to see who else was there and how much we laughed. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
A classic host-and-guest show with Kevin Dewsbury in charge and keeping it lively with some great material – including wrestling holds – and introducing some very funny guests. We had Lee Kyle, who’s spent the last month in a tent, Mark Grimshaw, who reviews trip advisor reviews, and Liam Pickford, with his amazing party trick of telling you some basic facts about your hometown. The hour flew by!
I’m expecting our next play to tell a fascinating story of a gifted, lucky life turned to dross. It’s Penthouse at theSpace on Niddry St (Lower) at 16:45 on Saturday 26th. Let’s read the blurb: “Ewan is one of the country’s most intelligent young bankers. However he’s just lost close to £1.4 billion of investors’ money in an illegal trade he should not have made. His plan? Hire the penthouse of a hotel and indulge in a blowout before ending it all. Everything is turned upside down when he meets an escort called Eloise. Sex, drugs and depression blur Ewan’s perception of reality. Penthouse offers an insight into the world of bankers and the pressure they face that can lead them to take their own lives.”
In this day and age it asks a lot of an audience to feel sorry for a banker, but I wonder if this might just do it. Written by and featuring Ed Brody, the remainder of the cast are Cat Lamb, Ryan Hutton and Dario Coates. Check back around 6 pm to see what we thought of it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Great little play, and acted with tremendous attack and class. All four characters are totally convincing and the four actors all put in fantastic performances. I was really hoping for a different ending…. but I guess its resolution is the most credible. On reflection, it’s a shame that the promotional material gives away a substantial part of the plot, which the text actually nicely hides until a final reveal. Still, an excellent show.
Working on the theory that we choose our Edinburgh shows from those least likely to make it to our home town of Northampton, next up is one of those fascinating gigs that only Edinburgh can offer. Or maybe Rejkjavik, as it’s Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic at Banana Skin (Basement) @ Heroes @ Monkey Barrel at 13:40 on Saturday 26th. Let’s read the blurb: “Ari Eldjárn is Iceland’s biggest stand-up comedian. Born and raised in Reykjavík, he debuted as a stand up comic in 2009 with his local comedy group Mið-Ísland, which is the highest selling stand-up act of all time in Iceland. He has done numerous TV specials, performed with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and opened up for Ari Shaffir, Bill Burr and Ed Byrne. Pardon my Icelandic is his Edinburgh debut. ‘Very talented comic. An Icelandic treat’ (Jim Gaffigan).”
An Icelandic comedian, who’d have thought it? Well even Icelanders have to laugh sometimes. I’ve seen some of his Youtube routines and they’re very funny. Check back around 3 pm to see if he was as bright as a puffin or as foul as buried cod. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
That was great. Because his material is so different from most of the other comedians we have seen, he really stood out. I loved all the stuff about language differences, Nordic racial stereotypes, and I’ve never heard such a convincing impersonation of an erratic warm air hand dryer. Extremely funny!
And our last day at the Edinburgh Fringe has already come around! We’re starting off with Fragile Man at Space 2 @ theSpace on the Mile at 11:50 on Saturday 26th. Here’s the blurb: “On an isolated hilltop two men must confront their darkest secrets and deepest fears in a chance encounter destined to change their lives forever. An unsettling and insightful drama exposing two men’s fight for truth, justice and survival. Developed into an original script through improvised workshops, Fragile Man highlights the difficulties that can accompany ‘becoming me’ and the mental and emotional struggle we face to know our true selves. Its themes delve deeply into our shared experience of being human, exploring fate, faith, envy, self-preservation and the dawning reality of our own fragile mortality.”
Written by David Martin and performed by him and Richard Miltiadis, this play was written in response to the high numbers of suicides by men in western Europe. I’m sure this is going to be hard-hitting and thought-provoking. Check back around 1 pm to see what we thought. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Very dark. I’m not sure I really liked it very much, to be honest. There’s a degree of contrivance which makes the two characters almost reverse roles, and there’s quite a lot of self indulgent dramatic poses that I don’t think helped. I found it rather cruel; Mrs Chrisparkle thought it rather glamourised suicide attempts. I think we’ve seen other plays that have tackled the subject better. Sorry!
Now it’s time for our third and final visit to the show that’s one of our annual, must-see events. It’s the irrepressibly brilliant Abigoliah Schamaun and the amazingly wonderful James Loveridge hosting Spank! at Belly Dancer @ Underbelly, Cowgate, at midnight on the night of Friday 25th. Here’s the blurb: “Spank! returns for an incredible 14th year with sexy hosts, awesome comedians and gratuitous nudity. With the most exciting comedy and cabaret on the Fringe, don’t miss the ‘best wild night out’ (Scotland on Sunday) at the festival!”
We’re seeing Spank on the Friday night this year because last year’s Saturday show, although excellent, lost a little magic for us because it wasn’t hosted by James and Abigoliah; so I’m definitely hoping they’re still on Friday duty! Check back around 3am (or maybe early on Saturday 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.
Tonight it was hosted by James and Tamar Broadbent and it was an absolute cracker. All the acts were on blistering form, but special mentions to Milo McCabe aka Troy Hawke, Lauren Patterson, Rosie Jones and a sensational climax (if you’ll pardon the expression) from Danny O’Brien. Just the best late night show ever!!
Yet more comedy of the highest order; our next show is Dane Baptiste: G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) at Pleasance Above @ Pleasance Courtyard at 21:00 on Friday 25th. Let’s check that blurb: “Original, provocative and exceptionally prolific, Dane returns to the Fringe with a show about our worldwide pursuit of wealth, power and pleasure. Baptiste made comedy history in 2014 as the first Black British act to be nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award. ‘Observational comedy at its finest’ (Independent). ‘Outstandingly perceptive’ (Scotsman). As seen on Live at the Apollo (BBC Two), Tonight at the London Palladium (ITV1), Mock the Week (BBC Two), Live from the BBC (BBC Two), 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4) and his own BBC sitcom, Sunny D.”
We’ve seen M. Baptiste (with that surname I always think he should be “Monsieur”) a few times now and he’s absolutely brilliant. It’s always a great combination of intelligent observation, self-deprecation, and the totally absurd! Very excited to see him again. Check back around 10.15 pm to see how good he was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
As usual, M. Baptiste delivered the goods! Gold, oil and drugs, plus their by-products and equivalents, are taken to task for their role as false gods in our current society. I love how intelligent and well reasoned all his arguments and observations are. Dane is a National Treasure-to-be, and I’m sure he will tour with this show if you can’t get to Edinburgh. Comedy Gold (and Oil, and Drugs)!
Now it’s time for the show that could be this year’s best! It’s Jan Ravens: Difficult Woman at the Dining Room @ Gilded Balloon Teviot at 19:00 on Friday 25th. Let’s read the blurb: “The Dead Ringers star in her much anticipated debut Edinburgh show. Ravens brilliantly observes an array of contemporary characters, including Theresa May and Diane Abbott. Razor-sharp satire delivered with startling virtuosity. ‘Consummate impressionist’ (Times).”
Short and sweet on details but I reckon that’s all you need! I think we know the Difficult Woman in question. Jan Ravens’ Theresa May is only out-brillianced by her Diane Abbott. I can’t wait to see it! Check back around 8.15 pm to see how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Jan Ravens is such a brilliant impersonator and her material was brilliant too. I knew her Theresa May and Diane Abbott would be superb, but I wasn’t expecting a hilarious Joanna Lumley. There’s a lovely tribute to Victoria Wood, and so much more to enjoy. The run sold out ages ago, and I’m not surprised.