Big day today!
Here’s the schedule for 19th August:
11.40 – 100 Seconds to Midnight, Greenside @ Infirmary Street. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:
“John and May were sixth form lovers, they haven’t seen each other in five years. One evening, the end of the world is announced. In a moment of lonely panic, May calls John. Can she come over? Five weeks later, the world is still standing but the pair are trapped in John’s studio apartment. They go back and forth between moments of apocalypse-fuelled panic to humorous distractions with cacti, kittens and condoms. The latter becomes responsible for the pair’s final descent into a downward spiral.”
I’m not entirely certain about this one, but you have to take lots of risks in Edinburgh. Hopefully Talkers and Doers, who produce this show, won’t let us down!
UPDATE: Interesting concept, and believable story line. Unfortunately one of the characters is very unlikeable – a cruel bully – which makes it hard to identify with them or indeed care much about what happens to them. The script was good, but the performers were shoutier than necessary for a small venue. Not bad though. ⭐️⭐️
13.30 – 9 Circles, Assembly George Square Studios.
“How can a soldier be trained to be a cold-blooded killing machine while clinging on to the threads of humanity? A Dantesque descent into the conundrums, contradictions and hypocrisies of war through the eyes of a convicted war criminal. Based on real events, this taut psychological thriller seeks justice from the collision of morality and empathy. A European premiere from multi award-winning House of Cards writer Bill Cain, directed by Olivier winner, Guy Masterson, (Morecambe, Shark Is Broken), starring Joshua Collins, Samara Neely Cohen (Snatched!) and Fringe favourite, Stage Award and multiple Fringe First winner David Calvitto.”
This was one of The Guardian’s shows to watch, so who am I to disagree?
UPDATE: A very powerful, intense, play following the experiences of a soldier who had committed atrocities in Iraq, examining his motivations and legal defence. At our performance, two of the roles (including the main character) were played by understudies, and they did a great job. Emphasising the recent case of a Russian soldier in Ukraine, Kalush Orchestra’s Eurovision winner Stefania was the playout music! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
15.40 – Michael Spicer: The Room Next Door Assembly George Square Studios.
“Join the creator of The Room Next Door in this final run at the Edinburgh Fringe after a successful sell-out tour as he talks about making comedy under the radar and the dangers of social media fame, as well as performing exclusive sketches as the viral sensation. The Room Next Door sketches have amassed over 60m views online, appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and the spin-off radio series has twice won the British Comedy Guide Award for Best Radio Sitcom. ‘Genius’ (Richard Herring). **** (Guardian).”
Twitter hero Michael Spicer’s brilliant videos never fail to make you laugh so I hope this live show does the same!
UPDATE: I was uncertain how Michael Spicer’s hilarious online character would transfer to a live stage, and he probably presented it the best way it could be, with a live performance of some of his greatest hits. Nevertheless, the show still relies on pre-recorded material a lot, but is still very funny. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
17.30 – Shamilton Assembly George Square Studios.
“Comedy supergroup Baby Wants Candy presents improvised hip-hop homage to Hamilton! After sold-out runs in Chicago, NY and LA, Shamilton comes to the Fringe! Join Shamilton as we improvise an epic musical based on a historical figure/celebrity of your choosing (Genghis Khan, Paul Hollywood, Kim Kardashian, anyone!). Shamilton is just like Hamilton but (ahem) better! Expect the same level of hip hop, incredible songs, moving storytelling, stunning choreography and powerhouse singing, except made up on the spot. ‘One of the top-five comedy shows to catch’ (New York Times). It’s the show Lin-Manuel Miranda calls ‘cease and desist!’”
We’re massive fans of Hamilton, so this seemed like an obvious choice. I just hope it works!
UPDATE: How would this troupe create a hiphop musical about a character chosen by the audience? Brilliant performance and improv with the inspired audience choice of Paddington Bear!! Absolutely hilarious. The Browns needed sexual counselling, and The Queen was called on to prevent Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman from demolishing their house. Completely nuts and completely wonderful! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
20.10 – Dr Hammond’s Covid Inquiry, The Space @ Symposium Hall.
“Private Eye’s MD and best-selling author of Dr Hammond’s Covid Casebook dissects the pandemic. The more certain someone is about Covid, the less you should trust them. Do we know what went right and wrong? Could we have prevented it? Why are experts so polarised? Can you trust a leader who petrifies the people while partying? Should we have copied Sweden? Or Taiwan? Have vaccines saved us? Will we be kinder to animals and children? Are pandemics here to stay? Can we disagree without hate? Warning. May contain traces of doubt, compassion, humour, nuance and batshit.”
If anyone can make sense of the Covid pandemic, Dr Phil Hammond can. We’ve seen his live shows before and he’s always challenging as well as entertaining. Should be a good one!
UPDATE: Dr Phil presents an excellent comedy lecture, packed with fascinating facts and opinions, jokes and observations – it’s almost as though Covid has never gone away (winking emoji). It’s also interesting to share your own covid experiences and beliefs with other audience members. Very enjoyable! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
21.40 – Frank Skinner: 30 Years of Dirt, Assembly Roxy.
“A highly anticipated brand-new hour from comic legend Frank Skinner, ‘King of stand-up’ (Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard), following his sell-out hit Showbiz. ‘Frank Skinner has funny bones… even at the top of the comedy tree it’s rare to see his sort of fast-thinking but slow-talking instinctual wit…’ (Dominic Maxwell, Times). ‘Doing what he does best… the gags just keep on coming. Stand-up’s coming home’ (Mark Wareham, Mail on Sunday). ‘Skinner is warm, impeccable company and his way with a punchline is masterful… a delight’ (Paul Fleckney, Guardian).”
UPDATE: Frank Skinner’s show has sadly been cancelled, so we’re going to see Christian Brighty’s Playboy instead!
UPDATE 2: Christian Brighty’s Playboy is a marvellous comic creation, incapable of resisting sexual temptation from anyone and everyone in the audience. A lovely, light, frothy storyline, and the audience is put on the spot as to whether the Playboy is a sexist pig or one of the lads – you decide. Very inventive audience participation – our game audience members were brilliant. Recommended. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️