The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 8, 12th August 2022

What’s on the list of shows for today? I’ll tell you!

Here’s the schedule for 12th August:

10.55 – An Audience with Stuart Bagcliffe, Zoo Playground. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Audience with Stuart Bagcliffe“’Hilarious’, ‘mesmerising’ and ‘outstanding’ **** (LondonPubTheatres.com). This comedic one-man show introduces Stuart Bagcliffe, who is about to perform his autobiographical play to an audience for the first time. Ill-prepared and lacking experience, Stuart is naturally a bundle of nerves. Join him as he attempts to make it through the play in one piece, contending with his overbearing mother watching from the wings and a sound technician who’s half asleep, as well as his own demons and insecurities. What could possibly go wrong?”

Triptych Theatre are the group behind this production, which I think sounds like a lot of fun, and if done convincingly, should be great!

UPDATE: The story is kept secret in the promotional material and it’s important it stays that way. Suffice to say there are many twists to Stuart’s tale. But it’s blisteringly well told and there’s a fantastic performance by Michael Parker as Stuart. Only a tiny venue, so book early! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

13.35 – The MP, Aunty Mandy and Me Pleasance Dome.

MP Aunty Mandy and Me“A bittersweet tale of political campaigns, sexual consent and steam trains. Dom wants to be an #InstaGay and #Influencer but it’s hard in a small northern village five miles from the nearest gay. One day, a chance meeting with his MP turns his life upside down. Written by Rob Ward (Gypsy Queen, Away From Home, ***** (WhatsOnStage.com)).”

We always catch Rob Ward at the Fringe because he always comes up with intriguing and powerful plays and I’m sure this will be no different. Looking forward to it!

UPDATE: Rob Ward gives a fine performance as always but the play isn’t quite as gripping as the others we’ve seen him in. The acid trip scenes last too long and our attention wandered at times. A slice of difficult life, but I didn’t feel it shed that much light on a potentially abusive situation. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

16.30 – Iain Dale: All Talk with Keir Starmer MP, Pleasance @ EICC.

Keir Starmer“Award-winning LBC radio presenter brings his acclaimed, incisive insight on current affairs back to the Fringe with these in-depth interviews. Today’s guest is Sir Keir Starmer MP, the leader of the Labour party and former Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be interviewed by Iain and his For The Many co-host Jacqui Smith. ‘The indefatigable Iain Dale always cuts to the nub of politics’ (Adam Boulton). ‘There are very few commentators and broadcasters with an instinctive feel for real politics. Iain Dale does, which makes him endlessly listenable-to and peerless’ (Andrew Marr).

If we’re going for some of these political talks, we might as well see the big names! It’ll be interesting to see if Keir Starmer has that necessary bite to take Labour to government.

UPDATE: Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith both grilled Keir Starmer and I must say I was very impressed with the Labour Leader, much more than I expected to be. You can see he’s a thoughtful, intelligent man, he listens in full to the question then gives a most considered answer to it. I don’t think he suits the world of quick off the cuff comments; he’s much more the measured, detailed, considered kind of politician. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

19.40 – Rachel Parris: All Change Please, Underbelly George Square.

Rachel Parris“BAFTA-nominated comedian, Rachel Parris, is back with a brand-new show about big life changes. Join viral sensation and star of BBC’s The Mash Report as she performs stand-up and songs about sudden love, the highs and lows of relationships, family, weddings, kids, going viral, going mental, and the baffling state of play in society right now. ‘Venomously witty’ (Evening Standard). ‘A natural charm and keen eye for observation’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘This is classy, clever comedy – uproarious’ (Scotsman).”

Never seen Rachel Parris doing proper stand-up before, but I always enjoy her TV appearances, so I’m hoping for a very good show!

UPDATE: An interesting mix of comedy songs and stand up from Rachel Parris which was always enjoyable and entertaining, but never really soared or entered the realms of bold, incisive comedy. Fun, yes, but rather safe and predictable. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

21.45 – Your Dad’s Mum: Tonight at the Social Club/strong>, Underbelly, Bristo Square.

Your Dad's Mum“Explosive, gag-packed comedy from Leicester Comedy Festival Award nominees returning to the Fringe following their acclaimed 2021 run. Join your hosts – jaded northern entertainer Pat Bashford and his over-woke niece Cheri-Anne for a raucously daft, fast-paced hour, featuring games, adequate prizes, musical interludes and late-night fun. Starring Chortle Award winner Bexie Archer and Fringe-favourite Kevin Dewsbury (Kev’s Komedy Kitchen). ‘Archer has funny bones’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Dewsbury’s delivery is spot on… delightfully funny’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘This show packs in the punchlines, the duo can certainly craft a good gag’ (Skinny).”

Knowing what a knockout Kev’s Komedy Kitchen could be, I can’t wait to finally see Kevein Dewsbury’s Your Dad’s Mum show. It’s had great reviews and I reckon it will be blistering!

UPDATE: Your Dad’s Mum is a nightmarish comic creation; a social night out, with a grim compère stuck in the 70s and a woeful but feminist assistant who together take us through some deliciously lamentable games and quizzes. And it’s all absolutely brilliant! Once you get the joke – that he’s deliberately awful and she’s trying to do the best she can to make up for it – it works a treat. As the catastrophes pile up, the audience creases up! The audience hurled themselves into the fun and played along with everything that Pat and Cherrie-Ann threw at them. Just don’t ask her to do her Christmas Tree routine. Loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 4, 8th August 2022

What’s in store for us in Edinburgh today?

Here’s the schedule for 8th August:

10.20 – About Money, Summerhall. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

About Money“’Weans. They get expensive, you know?’ Fast-food worker Shaun is your average 18-year-old boy. He likes music, video games and getting stoned. He’s also the sole carer to his eight-year-old sister, Sophie. Without enough money for childcare and under pressure from an unsympathetic boss, he’s forced to make decisions that could have devastating consequences. Drawn from interviews with young kinship carers and inspired by the McDonald’s strikes of 2018, this Glasgow drama is about family, love and friendship in a world where the lack of money threatens all three.

65% Theatre are the team behind this intriguing and promising sounding play, that tackles important subject matter. I hope it’s a great show.

UPDATE: Splendid way to start the day with a very thought provoking, and brilliantly written play about poverty and responsibility amongst young people and the things they make you do. Great performances, especially from the amazing child actor Lois Hagerty. Touching and moving; is incredible how using just two chairs and wearing two red caps can say so much. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

12.50 – Ultimatum, Pleasance Courtyard.

Ultimatum“Two strangers have one hour to split £1m. Sounds easy, but what happens when one of them refuses to play fair? What is fair? Who deserves money? Why? Ultimatum is a new play by Jon Gracey that forces a conversation on class, autobiography, truth, reality TV and ethical duty to our fellow humans. Praise for previous Treehouse productions: Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play – ‘Delightfully silly’ ***** (One4Review.co.uk); Bring Them Home – ‘One for the bucket list’ ***** (LondonTheatre1.com); Werewolf: Live – Nominated for Best Newcomer, Brighton Fringe 2017.”

This sounds immensely entertaining and done well I think could be a big hit!

UPDATE: A very entertaining story and clever premise, although I did find the ending slightly predictable. It could have benefited from a little tighter writing and stronger performance which I am sure will come over time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

16.30 – Iain Dale: All Talk with Angela Rayner MP, Pleasance @ EICC.

Angela Rayner“Award-winning LBC radio presenter and For the Many podcast host brings his acclaimed, incisive insight on current affairs back to the Fringe with these in-depth interviews featuring audience questions. Today’s guest is Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, deputy leader of the Labour Party under Keir Starmer and shadow cabinet member across multiple portfolios. ‘The indefatigable Iain Dale always cuts to the nub of politics’ (Adam Boulton). ‘There are very few commentators and broadcasters with an instinctive feel for real politics. Iain Dale does, which makes him endlessly listenable-to and peerless’ (Andrew Marr).”

We’re really looking forward to hearing Angela Rayner speak. This will be fascinating!

UPDATE: Another interview; unlike his conversation with Rory Stewart, Iain Dale asked much more personal questions of Angela Rayner, who was extremely engaging, intelligent and impressive. There was a question about Scottish Independence, her answer to which I don’t think will have the local people returning to the Labour fold in a hurry. Near the end four young women got up to make an environmental protest, which Ms Rayner took in her stride but which really pi**ed off Iain Dale.

18.40 – Luke Kempner: Macho Macho Man, Pleasance Courtyard.

Luke Kempner“Star of Spitting Image (Britbox), Steph’s Packed Lunch (Channel 4) and with over 10 million views online, comedian Luke Kempner has found out he is to become a father, but can he be the macho macho man he believes he needs to be? With a razor-sharp roster of contemporary impressions from Piers Morgan and Bojo to Ted Hastings and Paul Hollywood, Luke is bringing his highly anticipated show to Edinburgh. As seen (and heard) on: The Last Leg (Channel 4), The Stand-Up Sketch Show (ITV2), Love Island: Aftersun (ITV2), The Now Show (BBC Radio 4).”

I always enjoy seeing Luke Kempner and am really glad he’s bringing this show to Edinburgh as we missed it when he performed it locally! Last time I saw him he had me up on stage with him, so I must remember not to make eye contact…

UPDATE: An entertaining show about whether Luke was ready for parenthood but which was perhaps rather slight in comparison with his previous shows. Nevertheless it was still very funny and he is a true master of impersonation. He did involve me in the show again, fortunately this time just from my seat! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

20.10 – Hal Cruttenden: It’s Best You Hear It From Me, Pleasance Courtyard.

Hal Cruttenden“After 21 years and 224 days Hal’s back being single. But it’s all going to be fine. Instead of getting the therapy he clearly needs, he’s made a cracking show about it. He’s lost enough weight to almost get his wedding ring off and, while he may be flying solo, he’s far from alone; he’s got his grown-up daughters, his dogs and his divorce lawyer. The fickle finger of fate has turned Hal’s life upside down but he’s sticking a finger right back at it. ‘Funniest he’s ever been’ ***** (Times).”

Hal Cruttenden’s a great comedian and I’ve heard very good things about this show, so I’m looking forward to it enormously!

UPDATE: Crammed with callbacks, this is a beautifully constructed, very personal and very impressive show, with great audience interaction; probably the best I’ve ever seen Mr Cruttenden. Perhaps he should have more marriage breakdowns, it would be great for his career! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

21.55 – Blunderland, Underbelly’s Circus Hub on The Meadows.

Blunderland“The subversive break-out hit of the international cabaret and circus circuit, we have arrived with a strong dose of what we all need at the moment: some outrageous nightlife naughtiness, club-kid antics and a heady dose of arthouse weird. Born out of the New York underground queer nightlife scene this show has titillated packed crowds worldwide who are enthralled with its uniquely whimsical and ridiculous performance combinations. Join us for an evening of sensually disastrous drag, burlesque and circus you won’t forget!”

There are a number of circus/burlesque shows on this Fringe and we are seeing a few of them – I don’t know if this will be any different from the norm – we wait and see!

UPDATE: One of those “only at the Fringe” big top experiences where fantastic Circus skills and some of the less classy elements of burlesque mix. Amazing aerial acrobatics, and some very funny routines. One couple left early on, it was clearly not what they were expecting!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 2, 6th August 2022

Another day in Edinburgh – what’s on the slab for today?

Here’s the schedule for 6th August:

10.45 – The Mistake, The Space on North Bridge. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Mistake“1942. On an abandoned squash court, a dazzling scientific experiment takes place that three years later will destroy a city and change the world forever. This compelling new play by Michael Mears (‘One exceptional man’ (Observer)) explores the events surrounding the catastrophic “mistake” that launched our nuclear age. Through the lives of a brilliant Hungarian scientist, a daring American pilot and a devoted Japanese daughter. Partly using verbatim testimonies, this powerful drama confronts the dangers that arise when humans dare to unlock the awesome power of nature. Preview audience reviews: ‘Superbly written’, ‘Very powerful’, ‘Deeply moving and engaging.’”

I admire Michael Mears as both an actor and writer and have no doubt this will be another of his thought-provoking and challenging works.

UPDATE: It’s not often that a play leaves you almost lost for words. The Mistake is a heartstopping, blistering piece of theatre, telling the story of how atomic power was developed and misused to devastating effect. Michael Mears and Emiko Ishii create a cast of characters who either caused or suffered from the 1945 attacks on Japan, using just a few props with amazing inventiveness. Vital viewing for everyone. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

12.45 – 1972: The Future of Sex, The Space on North Bridge.

1972 The Future of Sex“1972: The Future of Sex. A 50-minute farcical journey through those excellently awkward first sexual encounters. Christine knows tonight’s the night with Rich. Penny tries to channel Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the bedroom and Anna thinks Tessa is just the coolest. From Ziggy Stardust to Deep Throat, the 70s was an era of polyester, pubic hair and endless possibility. Devised by The Wardrobe Ensemble, the show uses the company’s trademark theatricality, irreverent humour and spectacular ensemble moments to tell the story of three couples having sex for the first time in 1972.”

Durham University Woodplayers might have their work cut out to make this funny and not embarrassing – but if it works it should be great!

UPDATE: That was fun; three relationships put through their early paces, with some nice characterisations and some good lines. Nothing earth-shattering, but enjoyable. ⭐️⭐️

16.30 – Iain Dale: All Talk with Rory Stewart, Pleasance at EICC.

Rory Stewart“Award-winning LBC radio presenter and For the Many podcast host brings his acclaimed, incisive insight on current affairs back to the Fringe with these in-depth interviews featuring audience questions. Today’s guest is Rory Stewart, former MP, Cabinet member and London mayoral candidate who is now a politics and international relations fellow of Yale University. ‘The indefatigable Iain Dale always cuts to the nub of politics’ (Adam Boulton). ‘There are very few commentators and broadcasters with an instinctive feel for real politics. Iain Dale does, which makes him endlessly listenable-to and peerless’ (Andrew Marr).”

For the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe, we’re seeing a few shows that come under the “Spoken Word” heading, including a few political interviews by Iain Dale. We’re only seeing politicians who interest us though! This should be very interesting.

UPDATE: Hard to review an interview but both Iain Dale and Rory Stewart were both on good form. Amongst the revelations was the fact that they both went for the Conservative nomination to stand for the constituency of Bracknell. Rory told some awful stories about Johnson that were ostensibly funny but just showed what an utter disgrace the PM is. Good questions, fascinating answers, and a surprisingly entertaining hour.

19.00 – Feeling Afraid as if Something Terrible is Going to Happen, Roundabout @ Summerhall.

Feeling Afraid“’I’m 36, I’m a comedian, and I’m about to kill my boyfriend…’ A permanently single, professionally neurotic stand-up finally meets Mr Right and then does everything wrong. But is Mr Right quite what he seems? And how far will the comedian go to get a laugh? A dark new comedy about vulnerability, intimacy, ego and truth from the Olivier Award-winning producers of Fleabag and Baby Reindeer. Starring Tony and Olivier-nominated actor Samuel Barnett. Written by Marcelo Dos Santos (Lionboy, Complicite) and directed by Matthew Xia (Blue/Orange, Young Vic).”

Samuel Barnett is one of my favourite actors and I’m sure he’s going to be tremendous in this fascinating sounding play.

UPDATE: Like “Colossus” yesterday, here’s another “false testimony”-type play given a brilliant tour de force performance by Samuel Barnett who has a huge number of words to remember! You can’t know what to believe and what not to believe as he pieces together the various stages of his relationship with “The American”. Both funny and occasionally ghastly, the play holds your attention throughout; and Mr Barnett is on fabulous form. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

22.00 – The Best (and Worst) of The Dirty Tattooed Circus, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Dirty Tattooed Circus“Direct from their UK tour, Martin Mor and Logy Logan bring their unique brand of comedy and circus back to the Edinburgh Fringe. Two dangerous Irishmen doing dangerous things for a laugh. Hilarious comedy is combined with world-class circus skills to produce a show that will leave you breathless. This show is suitable for adults only. ‘Dangerous and hilarious… Just how we love our circus’ (TheClothesLine.com.au). ‘This show is truly a tour de force of strange circus and comedy skills’ (StageWhispers.com.au).”

This one is definitely a risky punt as far as I’m concerned. All you can do is give it a go!

UPDATE: Two larger than life, hairy, tattooed jugglers put on a show full of silliness and fun, which included Mrs Chrisparkle throwing a hoopla ring over a man with a dildo on his head, a circus feat she accomplished with alarming ease. Lots to laugh at, quite a lot to make you go wow, and a few bits where they fumbled it, but who cares, it was all very entertaining! ⭐️⭐️⭐️