I didn’t think I could exceed last year’s mammoth attendance at the Edinburgh Fringe, coming for 25 days and nights and seeing as much as we possibly could. But I realised that I missed out on the Preview Shows that litter the schedules before the Fringe actually opens per se. So this year, we’re doing Edinburgh for a full 28 days and nights! I hope my ailing frame can take the pace.
Unlike in previous years, I’m going to write one blog a day, previewing the shows we will see the next day, uploading it around 10 pm every evening. Then I’ll publish a second blog with a brief review of each show we saw that day, which will probably come at the end of the evening, or possibly the following morning – if they are a little delayed, please forgive me – it can be an exhausting few weeks!
Here’s the schedule for 2nd August. These are all previews, so I will of course take that into account when I give my comments later:
10.50 – Jesus, Jane, Mother & Me, Pleasance Courtyard. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:
“***** (Stage; Three Weeks; Theatre Weekly; Advertiser, Adelaide). Critics Awards Best Play Winner and Theatre Weekly Awards Best Solo Performance. Meet Daniel Valentine, the ultimate superfan whose life has been devoted to his two favourite things, Jesus… and Jane. Daniel’s mother is a superfan too, but then one day her actions cause it all to go horribly wrong. Playwright Philip Stokes’ (Heroin(e) for Breakfast) critically acclaimed darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching 2022 hit play returns to the fringe following sell-out London and Adelaide seasons. ‘Must-see show’ (Fringe Review UK).”
I decided to see this play on the strength of the reviews it received last year. It sounds both intriguing and hilarious – let’s hope it is!
12.45 – In Loyal Company, Pleasance Courtyard.
“Returning after sell-out runs in 2018 and 2019, In Loyal Company is the incredible true story of missing WWII soldier Arthur Robinson, written and performed by his great-nephew David William Bryan. May 1941. Hitler’s bombs rain down on Liverpool. Local packer Arthur Robinson joins up, becoming a private in the 18th reconnaissance division. Deployed to Singapore where his ship is destroyed by Japanese dive bombers on arrival, Arthur is declared missing. This extraordinary true story of survival is a one-man tour-de-force war epic. ‘A masterpiece’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).”
Real-life historical dramas are always fascinating, and the personal element of its being performed by Robinson’s great-nephew gives it an added twist. I’m hoping for some tough and meaty drama here!
15.15 – Edmonds, Pleasance Courtyard.
“Deal or No Deal meets Doctor Faustus. 22 red boxes. One soul. Edmonds makes a Deal (or No Deal) with the Devil. How far will they go for fame, fortune, and free TV licensing? An audience member is invited to play the game, as the Cosmos decides the fate of the show. The Banker has now come to claim what is owed to them. ‘It is only a soul… what does it matter when the very life blood of mid-to-late afternoon light entertainment is hanging in the balance.’”
This really tickled my fancy, as I used to enjoy watching Deal or No Deal with my mum – and the idea of Noel Edmonds being somewhere on the darker spectrum is also strangely appealing.
16.40 – The Importance of Being… Earnest? Pleasance Courtyard.
“‘A masterclass in comedic theatre’ ***** (NorthWestEnd.co.uk). When a traditional production of Oscar Wilde’s classic play gets underway, everything seems to be going perfectly to plan… that is, until the lead actor fails to arrive on cue. You might think you know this chaotic story of love, mistaken identity and double lives, but you have never seen it like this before. Filled with wicked Wildean wit and bursting with bunburying, join us for a hilarious and unpredictable twist on the world’s favourite comedy classic. ***** (Skinny).”
One of last year’s unexpected hits was the brilliant A Shoddy Detective and the Art of Deception, and this production of Earnest is also giving me similar Shoddy vibes. It comes with lots of great reviews, and I know it has toured as well, so I’m hoping for some anarchic fun.
19.00 – Marcus Brigstocke: Cheese and Whine, Pleasance Courtyard.
“There are no problems that cannot be improved by eating cheese. Fact. Award-winning comedian and International Cheese Judge Marcus Brigstocke guides you through the subtle art of pairing the best cheeses with a fine whine of your choosing. ‘Devilishly Funny’ (TheArtsDesk.com). ‘Charming, hilarious and utterly refreshing. Don’t miss this incredible show’ (Sunday Mirror). ‘Sharpest one-liner merchant’ (Sunday Times). ‘Made us all grateful that comedy is back again at the Fringe’ (One4Review.co.uk).”
This will be the first of (at least) two shows this Fringe that combine food/drink tasting with another art form – at least that’s what I’m expecting. I have seen Marcus Brigstocke several times and he has never failed to send me home extremely happy. Should be good!
20.45 – Sigmund the Viking: Valhalla Calling, Underbelly Bristo Square.
“Sigmund The Viking is suffering from a very powerful and sudden spiritual awakening. Changing his Viking ways, he puts down his sword and decides to spread the teachings of peace and love as a yoga teacher. But the past catches up and forces him to find his true purpose… And this fearsome warrior must choose between bloodshed and healing. An epic Norse journey into masculinity, myth, sacrifice (personal) and sacrifice (literal).”
The premise of this show is so utterly silly that it will either be a disaster or one of the funniest things ever. The video trailer convinced me to give him the benefit of the doubt!
Check back later to see how we enjoyed all these shows!