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’ ***** (; Bring Them Home – ‘One for the bucket list’ ***** (; 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 One-Weeker 2016 – Luke Kempner: Judi Dench Broke My Heart, 21st August 2016

Luke KempnerHaving seen Luke Kempner perform The Only Way is Downton a couple of years ago I am sure we are in for a treat with his latest show, Luke Kempner: Judi Dench Broke My Heart at the 10 Dome @ Pleasance Dome, at 19:00 on Sunday 21st. This apparently is what we can expect: “Impressionist and star of The Only Way Is Downton, Luke Kempner, can’t wait to marry Judi Dench. But has Britain’s most celebrated thespian only been acting like she’s in love? Will they be getting a honeymoon room with a view or is Luke’s sky about to fall? Our hero is joined by a stellar cast of celebrities on a quest in the name of love. As seen on Murder in Successville (BBC Three), Luke Kempner’s Impression of 2015 (ITV2) and Drunk History (Comedy Central). ‘A remarkable tour-de-force’ **** (Telegraph). ‘Gloriously funny’ **** (Independent).”

L KempnerMr Kempner is a brilliantly funny performer and has an alarmingly accurate ear when it comes to his impressions. I can’t help but think that Dame Judi will turn him down – but who knows? Check back around 8.15 to see if we need to buy a hat and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too. 

Post-show update:

Never sit in the front row…. Yes I ended up being the new Chaser on Luke Kempner’s game show – he said my chaser name had to be alliterative – so meet Chris The Crustacean! And I had to give the world my Judi Dench impersonation… A new career beckons (NOT!) As for the show – it’s brilliant. Luke’s voices and mannerisms are very accurate and effective, and it was a very funny show. I really liked how he kept fighting his inner Les Mis performer (and failing). Absolutely top quality fun! 

Review – The Only Way is Downton, Trafalgar Studios 2, 10th February 2014

The Only Way is DowntonI first noticed this little show when I received my regular brochure from the Oxford Playhouse, where it was on for just one night in January, when we were already busy, but I thought it looked a hoot. Mrs Chrisparkle and I don’t watch much TV as we’re always at the theatre! But we make an exception for Downton Abbey, and spent one New Year’s Day watching the first series in its entirety, so hooked were we. We’ve never seen The Only Way is Essex though – credit us with some standards.

This is Luke Kempner’s one man show that was a huge success in Edinburgh last summer, an hour and three quarters of TV fantasy where our favourite posh nobs and scheming servants car-crash into the X-Factor and The Great British Bake Off, amongst other modern cultural highlights, and all without the aid of a tardis.

Luke KempnerThe story is straightforward. The Dowager Countess of Grantham shocks everyone by announcing her impending marriage to a younger man (presumably there were no older men alive) and the household has to prepare for the wedding. Trouble is, the Earl of Grantham has run out of money (again) so the whole cast has to find devious means of earning or winning some cash. That’s the framework that allows Mr Kempner to run riot with fantastic impersonations and a surreally silly plot.

Luke Kempner in actionI’ve no idea how many characters he voices during the course of this show – dozens and dozens – and he has a real knack for it. Particular favourites of ours were his “downstairs” females – Mrs Hughes, Mrs Patmore and especially Daisy, whose gentle lisp was absolutely uncanny. Mind you, he’s great with the upstairs ladies too, with a slightly unhinged Cora and a delightfully static Lady Mary. The Dowager Countess perhaps occasionally sounded more like the lovechild of Maggie Smith and Julian Clary (possibly one of life’s less likely outcomes). With the men, he excelled with the sneaky and snide Thomas Barrow, a splendidly jolly Earl of Grantham, and a quietly satanic Mr Bates. We don’t watch X-Factor or British Bake-Off (see paragraph 1, above) but I can recognise a good Dermot O’Leary when I hear one, and he got Mel and Sue’s soft and punchy voices down to a tee. I won’t tell you any of the other voices because that would give too much of the game away.

This is a show purely for fun; you’re not going to come away with a greater insight into the human condition and it’s not going to change your Weltanschau. But it will make you laugh a lot. If you like Downton, you’ll love this; we did. It’s on for another week at the Trafalgar Studios, and then continues to tour small venues up and down the country till May. And if you can’t wait to see the show and want to get a sneaky peek of Mr Kempner in action, just search for him on youtube where you will find some brilliantly funny videos!